Wednesday, April 16, 2014

“The Second Man”

    “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” (I Corinthians 15:47-49).

     Placed in a garden of plenty, the first man, Adam, succumbed to temptation by disbelieving the word of God (Genesis 3:1-6).

     Placed in a wilderness of starvation, the second man, the Lord Jesus Christ, overcame temptation by trusting the Word of His Father (Matthew 4:1-10).

    Born again believers in the Lord Jesus are spiritually united with Him, thus enabling us to “bear the image of the Heavenly.”  We retain, however, the humanity inherited from Adam, thus meaning we can still at times express the earthliness of our physical forefather.  “The flesh lusteth against the spirit” (Galatians 5:17).  The Apostle Paul specifically defines this fleshly propensity in his first letter to the Corinthians:

    “Ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (I Corinthians 3:3).

    Paul states that carnality involves our living as if we are merely human, as opposed to the truth that believers are human as inhabited by the Divine.  We can walk in the lonely fleshliness of Adam, or in the truth of God’s presence, as revealed in us through the indwelling Spirit of Christ.  The Lord Jesus overcame temptation through the word and power of God - “I live by the Father” (John 6:57).  Adam fell by failing to avail himself of God’s enabling, hearkening to Eve’s voice rather than his Lord’s (Genesis 3:17).  The second man faced and overcame temptation with, by, and through God.  Again, “I live by the Father.” The first man faced and sucumbed to temptation in and of himself.  Again, “are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

    Our challenges involve the same root issue.  Temptation causes us to feel alone.  If we succumb to the deception, we fall and fail because we disbelieve the truth of our Lord’s enabling presence.  If we overcome, we do so in the same manner our Lord overcame in the wilderness.  He lived by the Father, and we “live through Him” (I John 4:9).  Thereby we “bear the image of the Heavenly” because we “walk, even as He walked” (I John 2:6). 

    The Christ in whom we trust is also the Christ who Himself lived a lifetime of trust.  Thus, He serves as the example of our faith, the object of our faith, and the enabling of our faith - “Christ, the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:24).  Little wonder that the writer of Hebrews calls us to “look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).  The second man, the Lord from Heaven knows the life we live, and His indwelling presence provides the life God calls us to live.  Through Him, and only through Him do we overcome the temptation to walk as if we are merely ourselves, rather than affirming the truth that we are ourselves as inhabited by the living God.

“I will dwell in them and walk in them.”
(II Corinthians 6:16)
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it… Jesus saith unto Him, I am the way.”
(I Corinthians 10:13; John 14:6)

Weekly Memory Verse
    For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
(Ephesians 2:18)

No comments: