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His Death and Resurrection Representative and Inclusive

The Lord Jesus, when He died on the Cross, shed His Blood, thus giving His sinless life to atone for our sin and to satisfy the righteousness and holiness of God. To do so was the prerogative of the Son of God alone. No man could have a share in that. The Scripture has never told us that we shed our blood with Christ. In His atoning work before God He acted alone; no other could have a part. But the Lord did not die only to shed His Blood: He died that we might die. He died as our Representative. In His death He included you and me.

We often use the terms ‘substitution’ and ‘identification’ to describe these two aspects of the death of Christ. Now many a time the use of the word ‘identification’ is good. But identification would suggest that the thing begins from our side: that I try to identify myself with the Lord. I agree that the word is true, but it should be used later on. It is better to begin with the fact that the Lord included me in His death. It is the ‘inclusive’ death of the Lord which puts me in a position to identify myself, not that I identify myself in order to be included. It is God’s inclusion of me in Christ that matters. It is something God has done. For that reason those two New Testament words “in Christ” are always very dear to my heart.

The death of the Lord Jesus is inclusive. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is alike inclusive. We have looked at the first chapter of I Corinthians to establish the fact that we are “in Christ Jesus”. Now we will go to the end of the same letter to see something more of what this means. In I Corinthians 15:45, 47 two remarkable names or titles are used of the Lord Jesus. He is spoken of there as “the last Adam” and He is spoken of too as “the second man”. Scripture does not refer to Him as the second Adam but as “the last Adam”; nor does it refer to Him as the last Man, but as “the second man”. The distinction is to be noted, for it enshrines a truth of great value.

As the last Adam, Christ is the sum total of humanity; as the second Man He is the Head of a new race. So we have here two unions, the one relating to His death and the other to His resurrection. In the first place His union with the race as “the last Adam” began historically at Bethlehem and ended at the cross and the tomb. In it He gathered up into Himself all that was in Adam and took it to judgment and death. In the second place our union with Him as “the second man” begins in resurrection and ends in eternity—which is to say, it never ends—for, having in His death done away with the first man in whom God’s purpose was frustrated, He rose again as Head of a new race of men, in whom that purpose shall be fully realized.

When therefore the Lord Jesus was crucified on the cross, He was crucified as the last Adam. All that was in the first Adam was gathered up and done away in Him. We were included there. As the last Adam He wiped out the old race; as the second Man He brings in the new race. It is in His resurrection that He stands forth as the second Man, and there too we are included. “For if we have become united with him by the likeness of his death, we shall be also by the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:5). We died in Him as the last Adam; we live in Him as the second Man. The Cross is thus the power of God which translates us from Adam to Christ.

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