There is a quality which both Adam and Christ share. They each lacked what we all do not lack… “original sin.”
What is original sin?
Here’s a description of original sin as given by Got Questions?org…
“…that sin and its guilt that we all possess in God’s eyes as a direct result of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden.”
Adam was created (by God) unaffected by his future fall (which ushered in original sin for the rest of us). While Christ (who is God) was conceived unaffected by Adam’s previous short coming. In other words, both Adam and Christ (from the get-go) were each devoid of original sin. Neither of them arrived (as we do) possessing a default proclivity to disobey God.
What makes Christ and Adam different from each other, though, is that only one of them actually learned obedience, where the other turned from it. Let’s look at both Christ and Adam…
Stuart Brogden (a brother in Christ whom I had a Facebook conversation with on this subject) describes some attributes of Jesus… which might be helpful in better understanding how Christ is different from Adam (and us for that matter):
“He is fully God (eternally perfectly righteous) and fully man (born under the Law and learned obedience and fulfilled the law).”
Christ is eternally perfectly righteous…
1 John 5:20 (HCSB)
“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true One. We are in the true One — that is, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”
1 John 2:1 (HCSB)
“My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ the Righteous One.”
Christ was born under the Law…
Galatians 4:4-5 (HCSB)
“When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
Christ learned obedience…
Hebrews 5:7-9 (HCSB)
“During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him…”
Christ fulfilled the law…
Matthew 5:17 (HCSB)
“Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
On the other hand, as I alluded to already, Adam did not learn obedience as Christ did. Instead, he turned from it (Genesis 3:17-19). Adam’s disobedience made us (all) unrighteous, where Christ’s obedience made us (Christians) righteous…
Romans 5:19 (HCSB)
“For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
Adam’s turning from obedience thrust us all into sin. Whether anyone thinks that such is fair or not, it does not really matter. It doesn’t change anything, that’s just how it is. What matters is that the last Adam (Christ) came AND was obedient. Because (as a result), that is where our life originates…
1 Corinthians 15:45 (HCSB)
“So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.”
So, Who is Worthy?
Christ and Adam both lacked original sin. But, only the Originator of God’s creation (Rev 3:14) could back that up! Only He is found worthy…
Revelation 5 (HCSB)
“Then I saw in the right hand of the One seated on the throne a scroll with writing on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. I also saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or even to look in it. And I cried and cried because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or even to look in it.
Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Stop crying. Look! The Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has been victorious so that He may open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw One like a slaughtered lamb standing between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the earth. He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of the One seated on the throne.
When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:
You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because You were slaughtered,
and You redeemed people
for God by Your blood
from every tribe and language
and people and nation.
You made them a kingdom
and priests to our God,
and they will reign on the earth.
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands. They said with a loud voice:
The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing!
I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say:
Blessing and honor and glory and dominion
to the One seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb, forever and ever!
The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”
Here’s Paul, describing Christ…
Colossians 1:15-23 (HCSB)
“He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For everything was created by Him,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities —
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things,
and by Him all things hold together.
He is also the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that He might come to have
first place in everything.
For God was pleased to have
all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile
everything to Himself
by making peace
through the blood of His cross —
whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds because of your evil actions. But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him — if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it.”
Learned and Turned
Christ learned obedience, while Adam turned from it…
Romans 5:18 (HCSB)
“So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone.”
May we also (like Christ) learn, and not turn…
Philippians 2:5-11 (HCSB)
“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,
who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be used for His own advantage.
Instead He emptied Himself
by assuming the form of a slave,
taking on the likeness of men.
And when He had come as a man
in His external form,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death —
even to death on a cross.
For this reason God highly exalted Him
and gave Him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow —
of those who are in heaven and on earth
and under the earth —
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
Godspeed, to the brethren!