The Sanctuary 
 by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira 

22 – The Two Choices

One of the most frightening texts in all of Scripture is Romans 14:10-12.  It is a passage that touches every one of us.

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister?  Or why do you treat them with contempt?  For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.  It is written:  “As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.”  So then, each of us [without exception] will give an account of ourselves to God.

What makes this passage frightening is the fact that all of us, you and I and everyone, every human being that has been born since Adam, every one of us are sinners and God’s law condemns the sinner to eternal damnation.  In Galatians 3:10 we read:

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written:  “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

But I have good news for you.  Romans 5:15-18 brings that good news.  We discover from this passage that the basis of our eternal destiny is really not our performance.  It isn’t whether you are good or bad.  It has to do with which humanity you belong to, the humanity of Adam that brought in the reign of sin and death and condemnation, or the humanity accomplished by Christ, a humanity that is redeemed by His life and His death.

I know someone will ask the question, “Doesn’t the Bible teach that we shall be judged according to our works?”  The answer is “Yes.”  Our works will be brought up in the judgment as a witness, as an evidence as to which humanity we belong.  Those who belong to the humanity of Adam have chosen sin.  Those who belong to the humanity of Christ have chosen righteousness.  Their works will be the evidence that they have been justified by faith.

In other words, justification by faith produces a fruit — holiness of living.  Whereas those who reject Christ and remain in Adam, the fruits of their life is a life of sin.  So our works will not either condemn or justify us.  Our works will simply give evidence as to which humanity we belong.  But the choice that you and I have — according to the teaching of the New Testament — is, “Which humanity do you choose to belong to?”  There are only two choices — Adam or Christ.

We go to Romans 5:12 to get the context of our study.  This passage, Romans 5:12-21, is considered by many scholars as the most important passage in Romans.  Some even feel that it is the most important passage in all of Scripture because here we find the objective facts of the judgment.  As 1 Corinthians 15:22 puts it:

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

These are two objective facts that we must be clear on because the basis of our ultimate destiny will be on the basis of the choice that we have made between these two men:  Adam, who represents the fallen, condemned race, and Christ, who represents the redeemed, justified humanity.  Here in verse twelve [Romans 5:12], Paul says three things.  The first thing he says is:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned....

Paul is saying here that sin entered the human race.  The word “world” has many meanings in the New Testament but, in this context, the “world” has the same meaning as Jesus used it in John 3:16, which is “the human race.”  Sin entered the human race through one man.  John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The second statement in verse Romans 5:12 is:

...and death through sin...

In other words, this one sin brought death to Adam because God had made it very clear to him and his wife, Eve, that the day, the moment you sin, you will die.  But the result of sin did not stop there, for the third statement in this verse reads further:

...and in this way death [i.e., the death that came to Adam] came to all people, because all sinned....

This death became universal.  Paul realizes that this would raise some objections.  The main objection is, “Why should all men die for the sin of one man?”  Is it fair for God to punish all men because of one man’s mistake?  Well, God is not thrusting Adam’s sin and guilt upon you.  You see, Adam was not just one man.  In fact, the word “Adam” in Hebrew means “mankind.”  Adam was the corporate mankind.  He was the human race in one person.  God created all men in one man.  We were in Adam when he sinned; therefore, we were implicated, we participated.  We were not guilty because of Adam’s sin, but we participated in Adam’s sin, because we were in him.  We were part of him.

If a driver and four children are driving down the road in a pick-up truck and a wheel came off the vehicle, resulting in a bad accident, how many people would be involved in the effects of the accident?  Would it be just the driver or would it include all who were in the pick-up?  All would be involved in one way or another.  They would likely all be hurt even though it was just one man who was doing the driving.  So when Adam sinned, his sin was a corporate sin because he represented the human race.  He was the federal head of humanity.  Just like if the President of the United States had declared war on Russia, all America would have been implicated and involved in that war.  But if you, as an individual, declared war on Russia, it would affect only you because you are not the federal head of the United States.  This is what Paul is saying:  that Adam’s sin passed upon all men.

Because Paul knew that this would be a question, look at the last phrase of Romans 5:12.  Paul says:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned....

He is not saying all die because all are sinning or that all have sinned like Adam.  What he is saying here, and the context is very clear, is that all sinned in Adam.  We were implicated in his sin and, therefore, his death is also our death.  In fact, he proves it in Romans 5:13-14:

To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.  Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

Notice what he is saying after he has proven in these two verses that it was Adam’s sin, his transgression that brought universal death.  He ends Romans 5:14 by saying that Adam is a type or the figure of Him that was to come.  The one to come is Christ.  In other words, Paul is using Adam and the fall, and the effects of the fall on the human race, as a type of Christ and what He accomplished.

We need to ask the question, “In what sense is Adam a type, a shadow, a symbol of Christ?”  When you read Romans 5:16-18, you will find that Paul does not compare Adam with Christ but contrasts them, because Adam and Christ are opposites:

Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin:  The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.  For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

And yet, in Romans 5:14, in the last part, he says that Adam is a type or figure of Christ:

Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

We need to ask, “In what sense are Adam and Christ similar and in what sense are they opposites?”  Both are true.  In one sense they are similar and in another sense they are opposites.

In Romans 5:12 we have just seen that what Adam did affected the whole human race:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned....

Likewise, what Christ did also affected the whole human race.  When Christ came to this world and assumed our humanity, He did not come as an individual.  He came as the second Adam, as the second Mankind or the second representative head of the human race.  Therefore, just like we sinned in Adam, God put us into Christ at the incarnation, and 1 Corinthians 1:30 brings this out:

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

God put all men into Christ so that we were implicated in His obedience.  Therefore, what He did also affects all mankind.  It is true only of Adam and Christ.  It is not true of you and it is not true of me.  This human race has had only two federal heads — Adam and Christ.

Having established this, now let us go to Romans 5:15-18 and see in what sense Adam and Christ are opposites:

But the gift is not like the trespass.  For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!  Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin:  The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.  For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

They are opposites in the sense of what they did.  Adam sinned, therefore, he brought condemnation and death to all mankind.  Christ did not sin.  On the contrary, He did the very opposite.  He obeyed the perfect will of God.  He met all the demands of the law, both its positive demands and its justice.  He obeyed perfectly the will of God.  Therefore, what He brings to mankind is justification to life.  His obedience is what Paul calls in Romans 3:21, “the righteousness of God”:

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

In Romans 5:15-18, there are two things that are mentioned about Christ that are not mentioned about Adam.  Number one:  what God did to the human race in Christ is referred to as a free gift, or grace — something that is undeserving.  What was accomplished in Christ does not become ours automatically.  It is a gift and, like any gift, we cannot enjoy it unless we receive it.

The second thing is the expression, “much more.”  It is one of Paul’s favorite expressions when he talks about Jesus Christ.  The expression “much more” used by Paul means that what we receive in Christ is much more than what we lost in Adam.  We are much better off in Christ than we ever were in Adam.  For example, in Adam at his very best, by creation we were third class citizens.  God is always number one.  Below God were created the angels and man was created a little lower than the angels.  The book of Hebrews and other passages of the Bible bring this out.

When Christ redeemed us, He did not return us back to our status in Adam before the fall.  It is much more!  He raised us up to where He is, so that we — in Christ — are joint heirs.  Romans 5:15:

But the gift is not like the trespass.  For if the many died by the trespass of the one man [Adam’s one sin affected many], how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

This verse is saying two things.  Number one is that what these two men did affected many, the whole human race in fact, because the word “many” here refers to humanity.  Number two, what these two men did are opposites.

Romans 5:16:

Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin:  The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

You did not fall under God’s condemnation the first time you sinned.  When you were born into this world, born into the Adamic race, you were born to a ruined, condemned humanity.  Now you may say, “This is not fair.”  But let me put it this way:  when God said to Adam, “The moment you sin you will die,” legally Adam had not the right to live a single minute after he sinned.  Had God executed justice on Adam the moment he sinned, you and I be would not exist.  We would all be dead in Adam.  But God had planned before the fall of Adam our redemption in Christ.  Jesus is the “Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.”  Revelation 13:8:

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast — all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

It is because of this that God allowed Adam to live on.  It is because of this that you and I were born that we may have a chance to choose the gift of God that we may pass from condemnation to justification, from death to life.  So what Paul is saying here is that, when Adam sinned, “many” died.  That’s the first part.  Now look at Romans 5:16, the second part, because here we find the first “much more”:

...But the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

The free gift is not over one offense but many offenses but brought justification.  You see, if Christ came and simply cancelled Adam’s sin, that would not really solve our problem.  The reason is that, besides Adam’s sin, you and I have also sinned.  We have sinned personally.  I don’t know about you but mine are countless.  I thank God that Jesus came not only to undo Adam’s sin but to take care also of my sins and yours and the sins of the whole human race.  2 Corinthians 5:18-21 brings this out:

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf:  Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

God did not put their trespasses on the human race because He put it on Jesus Christ.  On the cross, Jesus met the just demands of the law, not only for Adam’s sin but for all our sins — past, present, and future.  That is much more than what we lost in Adam.  That is super abundance.

Romans 5:17:

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

Paul is saying here that, when Adam sinned, not only did the human race come under condemnation but death came as a conqueror.  It means that death reigned.  It means that death came to rule over humanity.  There is not a single man — apart from Jesus Christ — who has conquered death.  And if there is anyone who does conquer death, like Moses, it is always through Christ.  Apart from Christ, no man is able to conquer death.

When I was in Ethiopia under the Marxist system, I was discussing the gospel with a Russian communist.  He called himself a communist missionary and he felt that the only solution to the worlds’ needs is Marxism.  I said to him, “With all your promises, there is one thing Marxism has not solved.”  He said, “What is that?”  I said, “Death.”  He said, “Give us time.  Science one day will find an answer to death.”  I said, “I don’t need time because I have already found an answer to death:  Jesus Christ.”

He didn’t accept that, but the fact is that there is only one man who has conquered the grave, and that is Jesus Christ.  Apart from Christ, all people are under the rulership of death.  It doesn’t matter how strong you are, death you cannot conquer.  That’s what Paul is saying.  Look at the “much more” in Christ.  Jesus did not simply conquer death by cancelling what Adam did, but Jesus did much more.

Romans 5:17:

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

Notice the word “receive.”  What we have in Christ is a gift and that gift has to be received.  And, of course, the means by which we receive that gift is faith.  They who receive this gift of righteousness will “reign in life.”  Not only will they have eternal life, not only will they be resurrected, but they will reign in life.

When Jesus redeemed us, He became one of us and, because we are one with Him through faith in the act of God, we will share His throne.  Romans 8:17 says:

Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Revelation 20:6 says:

Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection.  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

“We will reign with Him a thousand years.”  That’s in heaven.  When He comes and makes this earth new and moves His throne from heaven to earth, in Revelation 22:5 it says:

There will be no more night.  They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.  And they will reign for ever and ever.

“And they will reign for ever and ever.”  We are much better off in Christ than we ever were in Adam.  And that’s something that we, as Christians, must never forget.  Don’t be ashamed to be a Christian.

Romans 5:18:

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people...

When Adam sinned, please notice the verb:  judgment already came.  The sentence of condemnation to death came upon all men.  That’s a clear statement from Paul.

...so also [now comes the good news] one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

That’s the unconditional good news of the gospel that Jesus wants you and me to proclaim to the whole world.  The everlasting gospel, the three Angels’ message which needs to be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people before the end comes is that in Christ Jesus we have salvation full and complete.

Let us summarize what we have just covered.  Paul is saying here that God created all men in one man, Adam.  Acts 17:26 also brings this out:

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

Out of one he made all mankind to dwell upon this earth.  Therefore, all humanity was in Adam when he sinned.  We were implicated in his sin.  We are not guilty of his sin because guilt involves choice, but we were involved in his sin.  We participated in his sin.  We were implicated in his sin.  Therefore, the condemnation and death that came to Adam passed onto all men.  But, at the incarnation, God put all men into Christ.  God united His Son with our humanity.  Divinity and humanity became one at the incarnation and this, of course, qualified Christ to be our Saviour.  It qualified Him to be the Second Adam and then, by His perfect life, which met the positive demands of the law, and by His sacrificial death, which met the justice of the law, all mankind were redeemed, or justified unto life legally in Christ.  But as I said, this justification is a gift.  It must be received.

Notice the conclusion of the matter.  My and your eternal destiny depends not on what we have done but to which humanity we belong.  In Adam I have sinned and I stand condemned to death — eternal death.  In Christ I have obeyed and, therefore, am reconciled.  I am reckoned by God as righteous and just unto life.  That means I’m totally acquitted by the law, qualified by the law to live, in Christ.

The second fact that you need to know is that our position in Adam is by birth.  We are naturally in Adam.  That’s why Paul doesn’t use the word “gift” when he deals with our situation in Adam because we are by nature in Adam, and that’s why Ephesians 2:3 says that we are “by nature the children of wrath”:

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

But, by faith, I can move from Adam to Christ.  Jesus makes it very clear in John 5:24 that:

Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over [already crossed over] from death to life.

The moment by faith you surrender to the gospel and accept the gift of God from the heart, you are no longer in Adam.  You have said good-bye to that status and that position.  and you are now subjectively in Christ by your acceptance of the gift of God.

The third point that we need to know, is that Adam and Christ belong to opposite camps.  Adam represents sin, condemnation, and death.  Christ represents obedience, justification, and life.  Therefore, when you accept Christ, you cannot cling to Adam.  The cross of Christ will allow nothing of Adam to come across to the church.  Remember, the flesh belongs to Adam.  The Spirit belongs to Christ.  That’s why Paul says in Galatians 5:24:

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

In other words, you cannot have one leg in Adam and say, “I want to be in Adam so that I can enjoy sin and the world” and have another leg in Christ and say, “I want to enjoy heaven and eternity.”  We have to make a choice between those two humanities.  “Choose you this day” which humanity you belong to.

So the issue is not whether you are good or bad.  There are many people today who say, “I don’t have to become a Christian; I don’t need to join your church.  I’m just as good as you Christians.”  The issue is not how good you are, or how bad you are.  The issue is:  to which humanity do you belong?  Which humanity have you chosen?  Have you chosen to remain in that humanity which belongs to you by nature or have you chosen the humanity that was offered you as a gift?

You see, you are by nature Americans.  I’m not, I’m a naturalized citizen.  I had to swear before the court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, saying that I had given up all allegiance to the British government that I used to belong to.  So remember, that when you become a Christian, you have died to your position in Adam.

Ultimately, when God comes to this world, when Jesus comes, and He divides this world, He will divide it only into two camps.  And the two camps have nothing to do with politics, or nationality, or color, or creed.  The two camps are those who belong to Adam, and those who belong to Christ.  In Matthew 25:31-33, Jesus describes these two camps, the left and the right hand, as sheep and goats:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

It doesn’t matter where you come from or what your lineage is.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re Jew or Gentile, black or white.  The ultimate issue in the judgment is to which humanity do you belong to by your choice.  And these two camps, the sheep and the goats, are described in Scripture in various ways.  The righteous versus the unrighteous.  The believer versus the unbeliever.  The house built on the rock versus the house built on the sand.  The kingdom of God which is under Christ and the kingdom of this world which is under Satan.  The spirit or the flesh.

When you stand before the judgment seat of God, you cannot blame Adam any more for your condemnation.  God will ask you only one question.  He will not blame you for being a child of Adam.  He will not even blame you for sinning because He knows that’s all you can do apart from His grace.  There is only one question He will ask you, “What did you do with My Jesus Christ, that I gave you at infinite cost to Me?”

So if there is any one reading this who has not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, I plead with you, do not delay.  Life today is very risky.  We do not know how long we have to live.  You may be struck down by a car.  There are people today who are dying without any previous notice.  They fall dead, heart attacks.  Do not treat the gift of God lightly.  It was at infinite cost Jesus Christ came to this world.  John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The New Testament is absolutely clear:  man is not lost because He’s a sinner.  Man is lost because he has rejected Jesus Christ.

In Mark 16:15-16, we read the final words of Christ, the great commission He gave to His disciples.  He had just finished His earthly mission and He was about to ascend to His Father.  First, verse 15:

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Let every human being know the good news of salvation.  Mark 16:16:

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved [Not maybe, but guaranteed.], but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Salvation is yours if you have believed from the heart.  He’s talking here of genuine faith.

Notice that the unbeliever will be damned not because he’s bad, but because he does not believe.

We are all very familiar with John 3:16, the favorite text in the Bible:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

But look at verses 17 and 18:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world [Christ did not come to execute judgment on the world when He came 2,000 years ago], but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already [why they’re born condemned, but now they’re condemned...] because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

In verse 36 we read [John 3:36]:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

So if there’s anyone here who thinks he doesn’t have to become a Christian to be saved because of his own goodness, may I warn you that if you are to go to heaven on your goodness, you have to be perfect all the time, from the time you were born until the time you die.  Not only do you have to be perfect, but you have to be sinless, not only in performance but in nature.  Because if you’re not, the law will condemn you.  The only hope for mankind is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

In Christ’s humanity, mankind was redeemed.  Hebrews 10:5 says that God prepared a body for Him and, in that body, the perfect will of God was done:

5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:  “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me...”

And Jesus is offering you His humanity in exchange for your Adamic humanity that stands condemned.  It is my prayer that none will reject this gift.  The Holy Spirit convicts you of this truth.  Because it is true.  “The Holy Spirit will convince you,” says Jesus Christ in John 16:8-9:

When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:  about sin, because people do not believe in me;

And the Holy Spirit is pleading with you now, and I know He’s pleading, and that is, “If you have not accepted Jesus Christ, do not delay.”  Accept Him, and request baptism.  For Jesus said, “He who believes, and is baptized, shall be saved.”  And it is my prayer that there is not a single bowed head, not a single soul reading this who will be lost because he has rejected Jesus Christ.  May God bless you is my prayer in Jesus’ name.


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