The following is from Adam and Jesus: Two Men, Two Roots, and Two Destinies. By nature, you belong to Adam. In His great mercy, God gave us the second man, the man of heaven.
Even though I didn’t choose the following as a subtitle, it expresses the essences of this book: a biblical case for original sin and original righteousness. Original sin is the belief that Adam’s disobedience affected the whole human race. It means that everyone was wholly involved in that first sin, resulting in “condemnation for all men” (Rom. 5:18).
While original righteousness normally refers to the creation of our first parents in a state of sinlessness, I want to use it in a completely different, I believe, more biblical way—in relation to Jesus. We read: “So one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men” (Rom. 5:18). Thus, original sin corresponds to Adam and original righteousness corresponds to Jesus—Two Men, Two Roots, and Two Destinies.
We will primarily look at a passage in the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:45-58) and a passage in the fifth chapter of Romans (Rom. 5:12-21). We will also look at some other verses that are related to these two passages.
As I’m writing this introduction, I ask myself: what’s the point of writing this book? Don’t we need a much more practical subject that will help us on how to live as Christians? What about a book on evangelism or missions? Isn’t that much more beneficial than controversial doctrine? What about a book on holiness? There are two main answers that, I believe, will argue for the case of original sin and original righteousness.
First of all, if God has been pleased to reveal these truths, we must take them to heart and try to understand them as much as possible. An infinitely wise God would never reveal anything that isn’t part of His infinite wisdom. As such, these passages are genuinely beneficial to you. We are commanded to live “by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deut. 8:3).
Secondly, if these passages teach that there are two human roots—Adam and Jesus—it means that all practical living, whether a sinful way of life or a righteous way of life, wholly flows from these two roots. I don’t think that anything can make us more Christ-centered than that. He would then rightly deserve all the praise for every righteous thought, emotion, motive, word, and deed.
In that sense, the glory of Jesus Christ is at stake, whereby Adam serves as “a type of the one who was to come” (Rom. 5:14). If original righteousness is true—Jesus as the righteous one—our regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification flow from that root and is wholly produced by Him—the work of His hands. Thus, it’s incredibly good news because it doesn’t require any human addition in order to make it work. In other words: the gospel is entirely successful by itself.
Imagine being back in kindergarten, learning about trees. What if you had missed the lesson on the seed? You would’ve missed the sole reason for the tree and never be able to properly understand its existence, growth, and fruitfulness. Thus, these two passages are actually foundational to everything else in the Bible.
No doubt, this book will find its opposition by those who oppose the Biblical concept of original sin. It sounds too much out of place in a society of individualism and self-actualization. What about all the practical commandments that the Bible clearly state? They require us to be and do.
The answer that I want to give is Paul’s autobiography: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Cor. 15:10).
He ascribed all his righteous being and doing to God’s effectual grace. Isn’t that the same as attributing every righteous thought, emotion, motive, word, and deed to the Son of Man who performed original righteousness? As such, the full glory of God’s grace is also at stake.
Another example is God’s word to Abraham: “For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him” (Gen. 18:19). That sounds completely conditional, right?
What if the Bible also revealed that Jesus took on Him “the seed of Abraham” (Heb. 2:16)—all his children—and fulfilled that condition on their behalf? Paul confirmed that truth when he wrote: “For I tell you that Christ became a servant . . . in order to confirm [establish] the promises given to the patriarchs” (Rom. 15:8). Indeed, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (2 Cor. 1:20).
While using the same Hebrew word for righteousness as in Genesis 18:19, God also revealed with a solemn oath that all righteous living is only found in His Son: “By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To my every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’”
In what way do we swear our allegiance to God? Isaiah continued: “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength” (Isa. 45:23-24). All righteous living is only found in Jesus Christ; He’s the root of it. Jeremiah expressed that with these words: “And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness’” (Jer. 23:6).
That truth is the answer to all authentic Christian living. As such, this book goes to the root of all practical living, which can only stem from Jesus. Without question, the Father rejects all living that doesn’t find its origin in His Son.
While you may be opposed to the reality of original sin, are you also opposed to the reality of original righteousness? As we read, Adam was “a type of the one who was to come.” In that sense, original sin is a type of original righteousness, which is the heart, essence, and totality of the gospel.
When the psalmist wrote: “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness” (Ps. 29:2), have you ever considered that such ascribing and worship is ad infinitum? We’ll forever ascribe to and worship Jesus for His original righteousness as the Son of Man—the root of all righteous living, “to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:11).
Habakkuk wrote: “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14), which is a reference to the new earth. That glory is the glory of Jesus’ original righteousness, as Peter also indicated: “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
Indeed, “Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified” (Isa. 60:21). Eternal ages of “fullness of joy” and “pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11) stem from that one seed who was born in a manger, “to magnify his law and make it glorious” (Isa. 42:21).
This came from Adam and Jesus: Two Men, Two Roots, and Two Destinies. Do you now belong to Adam or to Jesus?