In Adam/In Christ.
John R Gavazzoni
Thousand Oaks, CA
A word to the saints in the interest of, and in the direction of clarification:
Something I read just recently that attempted to distinguish between being in Adam and being in Christ got me to thinking how important it is to clarify that very issue. Let me say at the outset, that as one really comes to know the Spirit of the Word, one finds himself more and more impressed with the glorious inclusivity found in the gospel and quite amazed at how the contrary, ugly exclusivity of religion has crept into our thinking in extremely subtle ways.
Let's look at a verse that was central to the message that got me thinking: "As in Adam all die, so also, in Christ, all shall be made alive." A quick perusal of the verse might lead one to conclude that Adam and Christ stand poles apart, so that one must leave Adam to get into Christ; that Adam is here and Christ is over there.
But just the opposite is true, Adam has always been in Christ, nothing can get him out of Christ, and the entire human race that was in his loins is likewise positioned. The flow of the passage is: "As in Adam......so also, in Christ." There is no suggestion of needing to switch from Adam to Christ to be in Christ.
Allow me to explain. The gospel really begins in Genesis, that book containing in seed-form the entirety of the biblical revelation. Of course we all know the first verse: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". Fewer, though, may be aware of the fact that the Hebrew word translated "beginning" can also be translated, "first-fruits". Completely consistent with the message of the New Testament, we find here in Gen. 1:1, that the heavens and the earth were created in Christ, our first-fruits, including, of course, Adam, the pinnacle of God's creative wisdom and handiwork.
We need not labor the fact that in Him (Christ), the eternal Word, all things were created, in Him all things are sustained, in Him all things cohere and find their summation and consummation. That is true, of course, and especially, of Adam, the head of all creation in Christ. That is the message of the Book of Colossians. There Paul tells us that "all things were created IN Him." Conventional translations say "by Him," but there is no warrant for that translation at all.
You see, Adam does not stand here and Christ over there. The reason all die in Adam and all shall be made alive in Christ, is because all are in Adam and Adam is in Christ. We are in Adam, but thank God, in Adam, we are in Christ. God never abandoned Adam, He put him on the cross in Christ, raised him up in Christ, and glorified him in Christ.
If we were to abandon our place in Adam, we would be abandoning our God-given humanity, the very humanity that the Son of Man assumed and glorified in Himself. We would be forfeiting the exalted place that man has in the economy of God, that of headship, in Christ, over all creation.
Now how could one "fall" in Christ? How could the seminal act of disobedience occur in Christ? Well, dear ones, first off, though it might cause some severe stretching of our minds, nevertheless it is true, everything that happens, happens in Christ. Are we somehow attributing sin to Christ? No, we are not---emphatically not. Something can be in something without it being in it constitutionally.
For instance, I could take poison into myself, but if the poison was in an indissoluble capsule, it would be in me, but not in what makes me me. It would not affect my physical constitution. It would be in me, but not in the "stuff" of my body, my cellular structure. So it is with the sin that entered the world by one man's disobedience. It all occurred within the sphere of Christ, but not affecting His purity of Being.
Should the poison (as per my example above), somehow end up being released into my system, I would die, but in the case of Christ, He swallowed up death in His death, vanquishing it forever. We have not realized that the sphere of Adam lies within the sphere of Christ. Christ is the greater, all-encompassing sphere. What is important is not what is in the capsule but Who the capsule is in.
When Adam sinned, that act and the ensuing death, was encapsulated in Christ, safely contained, within His control. It was not some action which managed to break free from Christ, roaming around outside of God's omnipresence. You know, don't you, that in His resurrection glory, Christ shares the very omnipresence of God?
The New Testament not only speaks of believing in Christ, but in some instances it, in the Greek, speaks of believing into Christ. On that basis, some might conclude that lost men are utterly outside of Christ and must break free from Adam to get into Christ. But in truth, we believe into Christ when the encompassing light of Christ penetrates the capsule of our darkness, encapsulated within Christ, and sets us free to search out, see and enter into all that Christ is constitutionally. He has always been the One in the One "in whom we live, move and have our being".
As I have said on a number of occasions, if it is true that "...of Him (He is our Origin), and through Him (He is our Passage), and into Him (He leads us unendingly into His eternal Vastness), are all things," then we have never really managed to get out of Him. For to go through Him still involves being in Him. He is our Source, our Course and our ever-unfolding frontier. We are ever journeying futher into His depths.
We proceed from Him, as those begotten of God, continue on in Him through our passage of human, aionian creaturehood existence, and continue into all that He is with that creatureliness utterly transformed and reconstituted by His glory for all eternity. He is our Abode, our Habitation, our Home, and there is no end of the many rooms of glory to be explored within Him.
He is the inescapable Christ. Our Lord does not cast us out, He hangs with us all the way. That's the very heart of the gospel. "It is of God that you are in Christ Jesus....", from the very eternal moment we shared in God's birthing of His Son, through our space-time, in-the-flesh journey and our return back to, and then further into our Father, it has all been in Christ.
If we are sloppy in our typology and suppose that the casting out of Adam and Eve from the garden speaks of being cast out of Christ, let me remind you that if the garden of Eden is a type of Christ, and I believe it is, don't forget that it was in the garden that the first sin was committed. When Christ bore our sins on the cross, God vividly demonstrated and portrayed that He has always, in the person of His Son, borne our sins in Himself.
Stay tuned for future serious, seminal samplings.
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John R Gavazzoni
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