Summary: The doctrine of solidarity says that all humanity is under the leadership of two men: Adam and Christ. Connection with Adam leads to death. Connection with Christ leads to life.
The reading from Romans 5:12-19 reinforces the idea that those who trust Christ have hope for the future. Let me explain.
Adam’s sin led to condemnation of the entire human race because his sinful nature was passed on to all of his descendants. Christ overcame that condemnation. As a result, everyone who believes in Christ has been saved and forgiven and can look forward to spending eternity with Him in heaven.
The doctrine of solidarity says that all humanity is under the leadership of two men: Adam and Christ. Connection with Adam leads to death. Satan was the original angel who violated the righteousness of God, but sin entered the world through Adam, and death entered the world through sin. Even though there was no law, death was universal because people were still sinful. They died because they inherited the nature of death from Adam, not because of their sinful acts.
Because of Adam’s sin, humanity was introduced to death-not physical death, because Adam lived for many years after that fateful day in the Garden of Eden. The type of death that was introduced was spiritual death, also known as separation from God.
Connection with Christ leads to life. Christ in His obedience corrected the wrong Adam did in his disobedience. He secured our eternal home and glory. He conquered the last enemy-death. That victory has given me strength in the days since my mother’s death.
Christ is not Adam’s successor but his Saviour. They are alike only in the sense that both had universal significance: Adam for death, Christ for life. The key is much more. Whatever humankind has inherited from Adam, they have much more in Christ.
Christ’s one act of salvation was far superior to Adam’s one act of rebellion. One commentator noted that “That one single misdeed should be answered by judgment, this is perfectly understandable: that the accumulated sins and guilt of all the ages should be answered by God’s free gift, this is the miracle of miracles.”
Christ’s obedience is greater than Adam’s disobedience. Adam was in an environment that was conducive to obedience (the Garden), but he disobeyed and brought death. Jesus was the second Adam. He was in an environment that hindered obedience (the fallen world), but He obeyed God and brought life.
We don’t deserve God’s grace. It is his undeserved favour for us. It is a gift that was paid for by Christ’s death and resurrection. Some people refuse to accept this gift because of pride. If they accept it, they realize their despair, and most people aren’t keen on doing that. Some people also think that they can earn this gift by their own efforts and deeds. We can’t earn our way to heaven, because as I mentioned a minute ago it is a free ticket that Christ paid for.
So how did He pay for this gift? He did it through two types of obedience to God. First, he actively fulfilled all of the requirements of God’s Law. He never failed, and he kept and fulfilled all of the Law’s requirements perfectly at all times. He presented to God a full and complete righteousness that was without stain or fault, just like all of the animals that were used for Old Testament sacrifices were without stain or fault. His righteousness is the ground on which God is willing to accept us.
Second, He used passive obedience. He allowed Himself to be taken and crucified in order to suffer the punishment that a holy and just God requires. He became our substitute and took our sins upon Himself. He took our sins away so that we can believe in him and have no reason to fear God’s wrath. We can enjoy fellowship with God forever, and that is the greatest gift of all.