The Victorious Christian Life

A Lesson Series for the Earnest Christian

© 2002 by Thomas W. Finley, 2013 Revised Edition


Lesson Four: In Adam vs. in Christ


The Christian life is a life of faith. Faith is based upon and lays hold of spiritual truths (Rom. 10:17). No one can live the victorious Christian life without the word of God and its truths being central in his walk. Therefore, it is important that we see certain key truths and meditate upon them. We will talk about our experience in future lessons, but proper Christian experience must flow out of faith, which is the act of trusting in God’s Word and God Himself. To help our experience, we must begin with learning key spiritual facts. These key facts have to do with our “identification with Christ” - who we are in Him and how we share in His death and resurrection.

Our relationship to two men

“In Adam” or “in Christ” are terms which show the “position” of people relative to these two men. In other words, every person is located either “in Adam” or “in Christ.” Adam and Christ were representative men, representing all those people that are included within them. They are the federal heads of two “races” of men, so to speak. Romans chapter five shows that the actions of each of these two men were done in a representative way so that the one person’s actions (Adam or Christ) affected all of those persons either “in Adam” or “in Christ.”

Adam’s disobedience brought in sin and God’s judicial condemnation of death to all persons in Adam. All mankind was affected when Adam sinned. We are sinners because we were “in him” when he sinned. This idea is not easy to see, since we were not in the garden of Eden personally when Adam sinned. However, the Biblical thought is that we were all there in Adam when he sinned as our forefather, and his choice of disobedience represented the choice of all men, the human race. This thought of the inclusion of descendants in the actions of a forefather is also seen in Heb. 7:4-10. In that passage Levi is a descendant of Abraham. Yet when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, Levi is also viewed as paying tithes. This idea of inclusion in the actions of a representative forefather does not eliminate personal responsibility and accountability, which is a Biblical principle. Yet, in the matter of the choice to sin by Adam, the head of our human race, we are all included. God knows that Adam’s choice would indeed have been the choice of any human when tempted by the devil. Thus, the word of God can faithfully record that “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12)

Man’s constitution is that of a sinner, one who acts in rebellion against God (Ps.51:5). No matter how refined, nice or good some men may seem to be, all men are sinners. So, man’s problem is not just that he has sinned in disobedience to God, and thus has a record of sins against God. The problem is deeper. Men in Adam are sinners, and thus they themselves, not just their actions, are condemned by God. But, in Christ, (as seen in the accompanying chart) we have justification, righteousness, and life! We are made righteous, just as we were made sinners!

Meditate on the verses in the chart comparing “in Adam” to “in Christ.” Which man do you like? With which one do you wish to be joined? Which one do you wish to live in and experience? Today man has two sources from which to live – Adam or Christ (these are also reflected in the terms “the flesh” or “the Spirit”). In our next lesson we will see how God transfers us out of Adam and into Christ. Then, we will begin to see how to live our lives in Christ.

“the first man Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45, KJV) “the last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45, KJV)
“in Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22, KJV) “in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22, KJV)
“by the one man’s offense the many died” (Rom. 5:15, NKJV) “much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many” (Rom. 5:15, NKJV)
“the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation” (Rom. 5:16, NKJV) “but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification” (Rom. 5:16, NKJV)
“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one” (Rom. 5:17, NKJV) “much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17, NKJV)
“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation” (Rom. 5:18, NKJV) “even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” (Rom. 5:18, NKJV)
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (Rom. 5:19, KJV) “so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19, KJV)

Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13, NASB)