We all were born into Adam. We were all born into an old, fallen, corrupt humanity. Strikingly, God has chosen not to renovate, improve, or correct the old humanity. Instead, He has chosen to do one thing with it.
We got into Adam by birth. The only way to get out of him and his race is by death. And the only way to get into Christ is by birth. New birth.
Note Paul’s words: “Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Christ” and “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
You aren’t really human until you’ve died and risen again. The good news is that this has already happened (Rom. 6—8).
The old Adam cannot be cosmetically adjusted, repaired, or improved.
He must be put to death.
Jesus Christ was a living portrait of God’s thought for humanity. He was the true human.
In His resurrection, Jesus became the Head of a new humanity that transcends the old distinctions of race and gender (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:10–11; 2 Cor. 5:17). The man, Jesus, is what God intended humanity to be. He was a person who lived by God’s life. In the same way, every person today who lives by the life of God is revealing their true humanity.
It takes God to be a human.
Adam and Eve were offered the tree of life in the garden. But they never partook of it. God’s intention from the beginning was for humans to live by divine life.
And here’s the good news: Jesus Christ is the reality of the tree of life. He has been offered to us today to partake of (John 6:57). We can partake of Him now and thus be fully human and part of a new humanity—a new creation—a new kind of human.
What a beautiful way to present the gospel to those who don’t know Jesus: Here is a way to become fully human. Receive Jesus Christ, the Head of the new humanity.
No other religion offers such a glorious thing.
5. Everything Wears Out Except for Christ
Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I often feel that way about contemporary Christianity. As an observer of the passing parade, I’ve noted the following: Most of what’s put on the table with respect to reforming and renewing the church are the same ideas repackaged from decade to decade.
There’s very little new in any of them.
But more critical, these “renewing” and “reforming” ideas and solutions lack one critical element. That element is best illustrated by what Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, said once during an interview:
Lots of companies have tons of great engineers and smart people. But ultimately, there needs to be some gravitational force that pulls it all together. Otherwise, you can get great pieces of technology all floating around the universe. But it doesn’t add up to much.… There were bits and pieces of interesting things floating around, but not that gravitational pull.
Jobs’s metaphor is an apt description of the great need in the church today. Christians have made the gospel about so many “interesting things floating around” but without the gravitational pull that brings them all together.
And that gravitational pull is the Lord Jesus Christ.
That said, if there’s anything I’ve learned by being a Christian over the last thirty years, it’s this:
- Any solution, cure, or remedy that doesn’t have Jesus Christ at its center is doomed to fail.
- Everything in the Christian life eventually wears out. The only thing that doesn’t is Christ Himself. He is new every morning.2
Consequently, all of our methods, techniques, innovative ideas, strategies, and solutions don’t stand a chance if the Lord Jesus Himself isn’t front and center of all of them.
He and He alone is God’s method, technique, idea, strategy, and solution.
He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
Christ and Christ alone is the gospel (2 Cor. 4:5). Everything else tastes like plain yogurt.
From Revise Us Again by Frank Viola, author