Of course, every Christian is familiar with the truth that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him might be saved (Jn 3:16). God gave Jesus to die the death we could not die (our death is already obligated in Adam’s curse–to dust all of Adam must return, Gen 3:14, and we therefore cannot die for our own sin) in order that God’s justice might be served and we might live.
What is less known is God sacrificed His son Adam (Lk 3:38) in order to bring sin into the world and by having sin as a present fact, to kill sin through the death of Christ. How can this be? Before the world was, God purposed His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus (Eph 3:11, 1 Ti 1:9). God’s plan involved bringing sin into the world, letting it progress till the world perished in Noah’s day, calling Abraham from a world plunging into the darkness of idolatry, electing the Jews, and finally bringing the long awaited Savior of the world. This was God’s plan before the world was (1 Pe 1:19-20, Eph 1:4). Sin was not an accident. From the great comparison Paul makes between Adam and Jesus, it is clear Adam’s sin and the consequent curse that came on the creation was all according to God’s plan (Ro 5:12, 18-19) as much as Judas freewill betrayal of Jesus (Acts 2:23, 1:20, 25). God knew what would happen to Adam when He placed Adam in the garden and forbade him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil under penalty of death. He knew Adam would eat, and yet God will willing to sacrifice His oldest human son in order that His creation might live. Adam died in order that sin might come into the world, and through sin a Redeemer could die for the redemption of the creation (Col1:20, Ro 8:22, Acts 3:21).
However, God has other human sons. These too are condemned to die. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27b). God’s sons suffer affliction in this present world (2 Co 4:17), sometimes martyred, sometimes suffering deprivation, often persecuted, but recognizing their “light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for [them] more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” (2 Co 4:17). At times they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth, but in the end, they all die. Through their affliction they prove their fidelity to God (1 Pe 1:6-8), they are a witness of God to a corrupt world, and they learn patience (Jas 1:3). God sacrifices all of His adopted sons in order that they might glorify Him (1 Co 6:20) and be perfected through their sufferings (Heb 12:11). These suffering, dying sons provided the needy, helpless ones that the Redeemer and Savior might come to save (Lk 4:18-19). These suffering sons are at first the captives of Devil in thrall to death whom Jesus sets free and raises from the dead in order that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (Ro 8:29).
I find it interesting to think about the situation in the new earth where God’s sons have risen from the dead, received their inheritance, and rule their kingdoms in glory and honor (Isa 49:22-23, Rev 3:21). They rule while the renewed creation (Acts 3:21) is growing without bounds (Isa 9:7), and while they get thousands of children (Isa 60:22). In one sense God’s sons will be the Adams of the world to come. They are the firstborn ones (Heb 12:23, Jas 1:18). They, like Christ, were faithful till death (Rev 2:10b), and they actually experienced death. In a world of deathless men (Rev 20:4), having experienced death will be quite the novelty, just as we view Adam’s creation from the dust of the earth as a great novelty. Can’t you just hear a wondering citizen of the new earth saying, “My lord Ezekiel, what was it like to suffer on earth and to die?” God’s son can then respond with descriptions of the wonder of God’s grace, the brilliance of His plan, and the glory of His salvation. This salvation is ours for the taking. It only requires sacrificing our all and being faithful till death. Are you up to the task? You can be, through trust in God and faithful obedience to word.
How great is God’s love where He sacrificed not only His only begotten Son in order that men might believe and be saved, but God sacrificed all of His sons in order that there could be a sinful world in which the Savior might come and be the Savior of men hopelessly enslaved to sin and death. How great is the wisdom and love of God who doeth all things well.