The First Man

1Corinthians 15:45-49 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 

‘The first man Adam was made a living soul’ – quoted from Genesis 2:7.

‘The last Adam was made a quickening spirit.’ Seven contrasts between Adam and Christ: First Adam – last Adam (15:45); living soul – quickening spirit (15:45); natural – spiritual (15:46); earthly – heavenly (15:47); of the earth – of heaven (15:47); only man – both man and God (15:47); first man – second man (15:47).

‘As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.’ The earthly body will be like the earthly; the resurrected body will be like other heavenly bodies (15:48-49). ‘Image’ [Greek: eikon] likeness, profile; statue, or physical resemblance (15:49; 11:7; Matt. 22:20; Acts 19:35; Rom. 1:23; 8:29; 11:4; 2Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; Heb. 10:1; Rev. 13:14-15; 14:9-11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4). This further proves that spiritual and heavenly bodies are real and tangible. If the moral and spiritual image and likeness only are referred to, then interpreting all the preceding passages and those that follow with this idea alone would be very difficult (Gen. 5:3; 9:6; Ex. 20:4; Lev. 26:1; Ps. 73:20; 106:19; Isa. 40:19-20; 44:9-17; 45:20; Jer.10:14; 51:17). Doing away with outward forms of idols and people in these passages and claim that they have only a moral and spiritual image are not logical. With idols, only an outward image could be understood. With people, outward image is also the main idea. So, when the same word is used of heavenly beings it proves that they also have outward form and physical image.

Death by Sin

Romans 5:12-14 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 

‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.’ In Romans 5:12-21, Paul shows that the consequences of Christ’s obedience extend as far as Adam’s disobedience. Gentiles are descendants of Adam and partake of his sin and its consequences, so they are free to partake of the redemption of Christ. This again puts the Gentiles on an equal basis with Jews in Adam, Abraham, and Christ. Sin is of universal effect. From Adam, all people derive their beings (Acts 17:26). The whole race was in his loins when he sinned. He was its spiritual, moral, and physical fountainhead and its sole representative. He did not act as a single person but as the whole race. When he fell he sinned for all. When God contracted with him, it was a contract for the whole race. His progeny became a part of the covenant and blessings if he obeyed and of the curses, if he sinned.

Ten facts about sin: Sin came to the world by one man. It was not in the world at creation. Sin came from outside the world and caused death to enter the race. Sin is universal in effects (Rom. 5:12). It was here 2,500 years before Moses. It is not imputed without law and did not come by Moses’ law. Penalty came before Moses’ law. Both sin and death came by Adam’s transgression of Genesis 2:17.

‘Similitude of Adam’s transgression’ death did not come by personal sin, as it did in the case of Adam. Death passed upon all people because of Adam’s sin (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12-21).

‘Figure’ [Greek: tupos] an outline, sketch; to describe in outline. The idea is that of making a contrasting outline of Christ.

Work the Works of God

John 6:28-29 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he hath sent.

‘Work the works of God’ – we are commanded to let men see our good works and glorify God (Matt. 5:16) and to show faith by works (Jas. 1:22-27; 2:9-26). People “zealous of good works” are the only kind that is redeemed (Tit. 2:11-14). A desire to do miracles is not sinful if the motive is right. There can be a right and a wrong motive behind everything and a right and wrong way to do everything. Lucifer (Isa. 14:12-14) and Adam (Gen. 3:1-14) had a noble desire to be like God, but the motive behind it and the methods they used were sinful. One should desire this more than his necessary food, but he must go about it the way Christ set the example – by emptying Himself (Php. 2:5-11). Jesus did not rebuke even these selfish people for wanting miraculous power. He gave them the only true answer.

This answer to the question of what to do to work the works of God is the clearest one possible. It gives the sum total of all answers to the question. It has been so lightly passed over and limited in meaning to a mere faith that Jesus is the Son of God and to forgiveness of sins only. How far from the whole truth this is! Faith and forgiveness are a part of what is referred to, but not all. Receiving the power from on high to “work the works of God” is included (Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:49; John 14:12).