Having looked at the humanity of Jesus and the fact that, as He walked this earth so are we to walk, one might view such a prospect with an overwhelming “we can’t get there from here.” Were it up to man, that would be true, but again, with God all things are possible! The good news of the gospel is that Christ’s finished work on the cross has already gotten us there!
The arrival of God’s last Adam, Jesus Christ, brought a new humanity to this world, a new human race that represented everything God had originally intended for mankind. With this new humanity a great chasm appeared between the old humanity of Adam the soul man, the sinner, and the new humanity of the last Adam, the Righteous One, Jesus Christ. This may be an obvious observation, yet at the same time it is one that is largely missed by believers through ignorance and unbelief. We are talking about two completely different humanities and unless we enter into the humanity of Jesus, the chasm remains and we are still in our sin, separated from God.
The Cross of Christ is the place where the perfect man, Jesus, used of God, made possible a way for that chasm to be bridged, providing us with the only way to the new humanity in Christ, to become what God had intended for man from the beginning. From the beginning God never had any intention of permitting Adam, the soul man and the sinner, to live in that state forever.
“Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”– therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Gen 3:22-24 NASB)
Most believers understand that they need forgiveness of their sins and that it comes through the shedding of Christ’s blood (without which there is no forgiveness cf. Heb 9:22) but many think that is the extent of the gospel – sins forgiven, entrance to heaven! Then the rest of their life on earth is one of trying to live pleasing to the Lord (with the help of the Spirit, of course), with the assurance that their sins, which they continue to commit, are forgiven. But that is only a partial gospel! There is so much more!
In 1 John 2:1-2 it says in part: “if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.” That is in itself of first importance and can never be in any measure discounted, but it must be remembered that if this was all that Christ accomplished on the Cross, there would be no new life for us during our time on this earth. Again it has to be pointed out that the forgiveness of sins is the sum total of many believer’s experience of Christ. But here’s the problem: forgiveness of sin does not change the fact that we are a soul man, enslaved to sin. The rest of the good news of the gospel is that God, at the same time as providing forgiveness of sins through the shed blood of His Son, also provided for us a new humanity in the death, resurrection and ascension of His Son. Paul explains in Romans 6 how God accomplished this:
“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” (Rom 6:4-10 NASB)
He further explains in II Corinthians:
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Co 5:21 NASB)
And then he makes the bold declaration:
“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2Co 5:14-17 NASB)
John explains this same thing in a bit of a different way. Recall the creation of Eve in Genesis:
“So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”” (Gen 2:21-23 NASB)
In type and shadow this experience of the first Adam typified the experience of the last Adam on the cross as John described:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (Joh 12:24 NASB)
We are that fruit! Two humanities on this earth! This is the most miraculous thing and it would be beyond our soulish capacity to truly comprehend, were it not for the Spirit of revelation. And is it not also true that the majority of believers do not see this and live out their faith as if they ever remain saved members of the old creation – mere sinners saved by grace?
There is so much that could be said about Christ’s work on the cross and what it accomplished but the focus of this writing, the point that we want to bring home, is that we are no longer of the same humanity as we once were when we were dead in our trespasses and sins. There are many good books which have been written on “The Cross of Christ” which do an excellent job of describing in detail the riches of what was accomplished. For our purposes it suffices to know that there are two humanities walking the earth. Therefore we are NOT of OUR old humanity, no longer slaves to sin and we do not need to act like we are!
“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Rom 8:5-11 NASB)
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Gal 2:20 NASB)
This is the new humanity: that we no longer live according to the sense of independence that Satan promised in the garden, that lie of independence that we all “sense” but is in reality slavery to sin, but instead are free to live in total dependence on God in the new humanity of Christ who is our life.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2Co 5:17 NASB)
Our Jesus was the firstborn among many brethren – THE new humanity! cf. Rom 8:29 All this because:
“God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:4-7 NASB)
Peter saw this too and it is fitting to end this writing with a quote from his letter:
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2Pe 1:2-4 NASB)