Lesson 2 – The “in Adam” – “In Christ” Concept

 The “in Adam” – “In Christ” Concept 

Lesson Aim: To show how people relate to the heads of the physical and spiritual spheres.

Scriptures: Rom. 5:12-21; I Cor. 15:22, 45-49; John 3:6.


The term “in Christ” is common language with Christian people.  Indeed it should be because “in Christ” the law of the Spirit of life sets us free from the law of sin and death (Rom.  8:2).   “In Christ” is the sphere where Christians enjoy the love of God (Rom.  8:39).  The Apostle Paul used this terminology in his letter to the Romans as well as his other letters in the Bible.  Since all of the letters are addressed to Christians there is little need for a term that describes what is not “in Christ?”

However, in the Roman and Corinthian letters Paul found a need to discuss the alternate of being “in Christ.”  He said Adam was a “type (figure, pattern) of Him who was to come.”   Rom. 5:14.   A more vivid awareness of what this means to us personally is given in I Cor. 15:22.  “As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”  This either/or situation was voiced by Jesus in His conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:6.  “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” 

Although, Christians have been redeemed from spiritual death “in Adam,” we still relate to Adam in the flesh (I Cor. 1:30; Rom. 8:10).  Consequently, we need to think of being “in Adam” as being outside Christ; therefore, to be outside Christ means, a person is in Adam “outside the church.”  I Cor. 5:12.  This is where sin reigns in death in this present evil age in the world realm (Rom. 5:21; Gal. 1:4; I John 2:15-17).  Although members of Christ’s church have put off the “body of sin,” we still “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”  Rom. 8:23.  Christians are “in Adam, in Christ.”         

The Roman letter was written with the “in Adam – in Christ” concept as a background fact.  All of the teachings are easy to follow if we keep this in mind.  A comparison of the problems “in Adam” and the blessings of God “in Christ” are plainly made in Romans 5:12-21.  We will discuss this in our next lesson.

This Roman contrast, or comparison, is the root of spiritual thought for Christians.  If we have trouble with this revelation of the “in Adam-in Christ” concept then, perhaps, we can better understand the description Paul gave to the Corinthians in I Corinthians 15:45-49.  We can be sure Paul had taught the Corinthians well in his eighteen months he stayed with them.   However, by the time he wrote what we call I Corinthians, it seems they were in need of some more basic teaching.  Perhaps we can make use of his basic language to understand the physical and spiritual concept of mankind.

Let us investigate the Corinthian letter’s concept.  “The first man Adam became a living soul” (V. 45).  Soul is translated from the Greek PSUCHE, it denotes the breath, the breath of life.  This is the same word used in Matthew 10:28.  Jesus said we should not fear those who could kill the body, but fear Him who has the power to destroy the soul and body in hell.  Adam was a living soul.  This is the natural man (verse 46).  Christians were fully “in Adam” before we were born again “in Christ.”  All men who have been born in the flesh relate to Adam in the process of birth and life on earth (Vs. 47, 48).  We bear the image (likeness) of Adam.  That is, our spirit has been given a body like Adam’s body (Acts 17:26).  All people have the same basic inherited drives. 

Adam disobeyed God and received the knowledge of good and evil.  All people born since “the fall” relate to Adam with this same attribute.  Adam was not supposed to have the knowledge of good and evil in his fleshly body.  Neither can we properly master this great knowledge.  Read Genesis 3:22-24.  The point we must understand is that we relate to Adam because of our physical design.

Many problems develop for young people in their adolescent years because of the knowledge of good and evil and the maturing of their conscience.  It is because of these problems Jesus Christ came into the world.  It is because of these problems a new age (aeon) was established right here in this world (John 15:19).  This new age, or realm, did not bring an end to the Adam age because it is still happening.  However, we can enter the new aeon by a new birth right here in this world.  We do not leave the nature of Adam in our new birth.  We will do this when we die physically.  Christ stands as the head of the spiritual aspect of man and Adam stands as the head of the natural man.

If a person never leaves the world realm after they exercise the knowledge of good and evil with a mature conscience they will not enjoy spiritual life (Eph. 2:1-3).  Spiritual life is life from God.  It has an eternal quality.  It is a life in fellowship with God.  Jesus came to give us this type of life.  Mankind lost it because of his relationship to Adam.  The last Adam became a life-giving spirit (V. 45).  The context of this scripture reveals the last Adam is Jesus Christ.  He was from heaven and bore the image of God.  He came that we might bear His same image (Vs. 45-49).

The “in Adam-in Christ” concept is one of the greatest Biblical powers a person can come to understand and then place his or her faith.   It brings God’s power into action here in time.  It must be accepted by faith.  It opens the door of faith (Acts 14:27).  The fact that we can change aeons right here in this life on earth is the most fantastic phenomenon of this world.  Yes, an old man can be born again (John 3:4).

We will have much more to say about the “in Adam-in Christ” concept from Romans 5:12-21 in our next lesson.  In our study of the Roman letter we will fully understand what went wrong in Adam, personally, and why all who are born in his likeness suffer the same problems.  It is for this reason Adam is presented as the head of all who have been born physically.

Jesus Christ subjected Himself to Adam’s physical birth.  He had the knowledge of good and evil in the flesh; however, He lived a perfect life on this earth.  This gave Him the right to become the head of a new age for all of us who have been born again. 

“That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit”.

“As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.”  HALLELUJAH!

Questions for Discussion

  1. How does a person become one with Adam?
  2. How does one get into Christ?
  3. What concept will help us to better understand the Roman letter?
  4. List places in the Bible where the “in Adam-in Christ” concept is established.
  5. What does it mean to be a living soul?
  6. How was Jesus Christ a life-giving spirit?
  7. What do we have “in Adam” that causes us a lot of tribulations?
  8. How do we transfer from one age, or realm, to another?
  9. What is the most fantastic phenomenon about the life of mankind?
  10. How does the concept of the church impact this lesson?

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply