Putting on Jesus Glasses - Part 3July 11, 2023
What are “Jesus Glasses”? I am using this metaphor of “Jesus Glasses” to assert that Jesus is the criterion by which all scripture is read. (Read Luke 24:25-27;44; John 1:45;5:39; Acts10:43; 28:23,31)
If you were arrested for being a Christian, placed in prison without any access to a Bible and approached by another prisoner who asked, “Can you tell me what the Bible is all about?" Would you be able tell him accurately and concisely the story of the Bible? Even with a Bible in your hands, could you summarize the story?
The Bible is really One Book of many books – 66 in fact. By this we mean that although it was written by 40 different persons over a period of almost 1500 years, it has only Author – God! Although it has many stories, it has only one main story with two parts and two main players: Part 1 -- Creation and Ruin in the First Adam; Part 2 -- Re-creation and Redemption in the Last Adam -- Jesus
From a Christian perspective, the whole of human history can be written in a two-volume book of the Adam's Families ?? the book of the generations of the First Adam (Gen. 5:1, “This is the book of the generations of Adam.”), and the book of the generations of the Last Adam (Matthew 1:1, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”) In 1 Corinthians 15:45, Jesus is referred to as the Last Adam.
The unfolding drama of the Bible begins with the first Adam who was created by God to enjoy God's intimacy and express God's image. All mankind was seminally (in his semen) present in Adam and federally and fairly represented by him. The principle of representation is the heart of the Unfolding Drama of Redemption. It declares that because we were justly represented and ruined by what the First Adam did in past history, we can be justly represented and redeemed by what the Last Adam did in history.
Adam and Eve were created by a loving God, and lovingly provided for by this God. They were placed in a perfect environment and given great liberty with only one prohibition -- do not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Instead of choosing the way of the Tree of Life that was right beside the Tree of Knowledge, they opted to act in independence, choosing to be a truth-determiner rather than a truth-receiver. They preferred to become little god-players rather than living in dependence upon Almighty God. When the first Adam disobeyed God, he was instantly changed into a lover of self more than a lover of God. The point of gravity shifted from being Deo-centric (God-entered) to being "Ego-centric (Self-centered). Godlessness, lifelessness and lightlessness now typified his life. Adam lost his true identity and ultimate destiny. Instead of subduing the earth as God’s representatives and fellow-partners in the firm of Almighty and Sons, Adam and Eve and their descendents began to exploit it for their own purposes and profit.
In the space of 1400 years, the first Adam’s sinful descendents had become so wicked and corrupt that God judged them and destroyed the world and all of its inhabitants, with the exception of eight persons, in a catastrophic flood.
However, God was insistent on having a people of faith representing Him who would be devotion-givers – worshipping the True God only; disciple-makers – reproducing spiritual offspring; and dominion-takers – subduing the earth in the name of the Family Firm – the Kingdom of God. The rest of the Old Testament is taken up with people of Israel, whose choosing and calling was to reveal what life looks like when lived God’s way. Their destiny was clear and the design was perfect, but the people of Israel, as a whole, continued to make the same self-centered choices as their father Adam had done.
But God, who is rich in mercy, even before the First Adam sinned and Paradise was lost, had already made covenant arrangements with the Last Adam--Jesus, the Son of God -- to regain Paradise and recover far more than the first man lost.
In the New Testament we learn that Jesus is descended from Adam (Luke 3:23, 28). Jesus overcomes temptation where Adam failed (Mark 1:12-12). It was through a tree that the first Adam lost his purity and power. It was on a tree that the last Adam bought back that purity and power for all who will accept Him. The first Adam had a perfect environment, but he failed. The last Adam had a polluted environment, but He triumphed!
Jesus obeys the law of God perfectly and then endures the penalty of the law vicariously, i.e. for us sinners (1 Cors. 5:21). In Genesis 3 the first Adam, made in the image of God, stood before two trees and opted to take a snatch at deity by exercising his will over God's will. Then the Last Adam--Jesus--who was the true image of God, refused to count it as a thing to be held on to, but choose to eat from the Tree of Life, the way of dependence, of living by revelation from God, of giving instead of grasping. He would do nothing of himself, for himself and with himself. He embraced the principle of the cross. This principle is set forth in John 12:24, "Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die it abides alone, but if it dies it brings forth much fruit.”
Redemption in the Last Adam is Priceless! -- God owed us nothing and He gave us everything pertaining to life and godliness in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of those benefits are described in Romans 5. Those who receive Christ are beneficiaries of the riches of the Gift of God. He releases us from the bankruptcy of our sin debt to God – v 15 – free gift; He releases us from our blame by the law of God – 16c, 18 –justification, righteous; He releases us from our bondage to sin, self, and Satan – 17,21 – reign of grace.
We are recipients of the resources of the Grace of God. These resources in Christ provides a change in location – we are in Christ, instead of in Adam; in grace’s salvation instead of under the law’s condemnation; in life instead of death! They provide a common Life -- eternal life – the life from another world! They provide for confident labors – Roms 5:17c, shall reign in life – Not only are all our legal problems repaid, but our identity is recovered, our destiny is restored, and our dignity is re-centered in Christ. Grace provides for a certain lot – 5:18c justification – We have already gotten the verdict. We have peace with God, a place in God’s forever family, a position in the Family business of Almighty and Sons in Kingdom Enterprises. We have something far better than social security; we have eternal security in Christ! We have acceptance before God, access to God, authority under God, assurance before God that our past is settled, our present makes sense and our future is secure!
Then there is the realization of the Glory of God (1 Cors 15:21-24, 49). What commenced as death in the First Adam culminates in life in the Last Adam. In the First Adam Paradise was lost (Gen 3:23), in the Last Adam – Jesus – Paradise is Regained (Rev 21:1); in the first part of the Story, Satan is victorious (Gen 3:1-7), in the final chapter, Satan is defeated forever (Rev. 12:10-11); in the first chapter a curse is pronounced (Gen 3:17) in the final chapter of the Story the curse is removed (Rev. 22:3); in the first chapter the gates to the Garden are shut (Gen 3:24) in the final chapter the Gates to God are forever opened (Rev 21:25); in the first chapter we see death descending and reigning (Gen 2:17) in the final chapter death is destroyed (Gen 21:4)
Where are you situated? If you are still in the First Adam, then you are lost – lost to true identity, to real security, to heavenly dignity, and to ultimate destiny? If you are situated in the Last Adam, then you are saved, safe, and redeemed. You can reign in life, overcome in life and live forever enjoying and being employed in extending the glory of God!
Truly if we have found our place in God’s Big Story, then we’ve a Story to tell to the nations—it’s too good to keep. I love to tell -- I must tell-- the old, old story of Jesus and His love! Great God in Heaven, what a Story – and we can have a vital part in it!