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    THE SECOND ADAM(Question 16)

    The Catechism has finally began to give us hope after leaving us in the depths of doom and condemnation. In the last lesson we learned it was possible for us to escape the wrath of God, but only if someone other than ourselves paid the punishment for us. This person couldn't be just any type of guy, he has to be a sinless man and also truly God. In Question and Answer 16 we learn why it is so important for this Savior to be sinless.

    16. Why must He be sinless?
    God's justice requires that sin be punished and a sinner cannot take the punishment for others.

    We know this Savior to be Jesus Christ. We call Him Savior because He saves us from hell. There are other names for Jesus you might have heard as well-Lamb of God, Messiah, Lord of Lords, etc., Today we want to look at Jesus as the Second Adam. This title is very important for us to understand because it shows us the difference between Adam who disobeyed God and brought us all into condemnation, and Jesus who honored God and earned for us eternal life. To get a clear picture of this difference between Adam and Jesus, let's look again at the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

    We pick up the story where Eve is being tempted by the serpent to eat from the tree that God has forbidden her and Adam to eat from. At first she was resisting Satan, but then she starts to give into his tricks. Now, even though these verses deal with Eve and Adam is never mentioned specifically until later, we can assume that the same temptations Eve faced were the same ones that Adam did. So even though we read Eve's name, Adam sinned in the exact same way.

    So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

    (Genesis 3:6, NKJV)

    If you look closely, you will see three basic reasons why Eve gave in and ate of the fruit:

    1)It was good for food
    2)It was pleasant to the eyes
    3)it was desirable to make one wise.

    All of the temptations we will ever face in this life are basically made up of the same three things. We want something that is bad for us because we are "hungry" for it, because we desire it with all our strength. Or we see something that we just can't live without, and we have to have it no matter what. Or finally, we think by having this thing or by doing this deed we will be wiser or better off. The same three temptations get us every time. And you may be interested in knowing that Satan has used the same three temptations on mankind over and over again since they first worked with Adam and Eve. They have worked on our grandparents, our moms and dads, and if we are honest-we have fallen for them too. But you know what? There was one person who didn't give in to these three temptations-the Second Adam. Jesus resisted these things and instead chose to obey God and give Him the glory and honor. Let's now look at the account of Jesus and His temptations and see if you can pick out the "big" three in these verses.

    Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread".

    (Matthew 4:1-3, NKJV)

    Stop right here. What just happened? Did you see what Satan did? He threw out the first temptation-"good for food". He knew that Jesus was hungry. He knew that after forty days of fasting Jesus would do anything to get some food. Or would He? Look at Jesus' response:

    But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God".

    (Matthew 4:4, NKJV)

    Strike One! Take that Satan! Jesus doesn't fall for the temptation but instead uses God's word to back the devil off. Let's see how Satan now moves on to the second temptation.

    Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written, 'He shall give His angels charge over you', and 'In their hands they bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'"

    (Matthew 4:5-6, NKJV)

    Now the devil is getting tricky. Since Jesus used Bible verses the devil starts to do the same. But he uses them in a way that is wrong. He is trying to get Jesus to go against God's wishes. He is trying to convince Jesus that if He is the Son of God, isn't He important enough to be saved from falling from the temple? Doesn't Jesus have enough pull in heaven where the angels would have to save Him? After all, that's what the Bible verses seem to say. Watch what happens..

    Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'"

    (Matthew 4:7, NKJV)

    Strike Two! Jesus sees right though Satan's lies. Those verses Satan quoted weren't about Jesus' right to put God to the test, but the opposite. They were about trusting God and believing that He will deliver you from any circumstances. Now here's a tricky question of my own-which temptation was that? Was it about "making one wise" or "pleasant to the eyes"? If you answered "making one wise" you are correct. Satan used another of the three temptations but not in the same order. Now we come to the last temptation.

    Again, the devil took Him on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me". Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only shall you serve.'"

    (Matthew 4:8-10, NKJV)

    Strike Three and you're out Satan! The devil takes Jesus up on a mountain to see all the kingdoms of the world. How beautiful they must have been. How wonderful in all their glory and majesty. Satan offered them all to Jesus if He would only bow down and worship him. But Jesus was more concerned with God's glory and majesty. Even though the kingdoms were "pleasant to the eyes", He knew that God alone was to be worshipped and served.

    By not giving in to these temptations, Jesus stayed sinless and pure. Where Adam gave in, Jesus resisted. Where Adam doubted God and His word, Jesus trusted in Him and rebuked Satan to his face. This is why Jesus is called the Second Adam. He faced the same temptations as Adam, the same temptations we face even today, but was found without sin. And because He is sinless Jesus can offer Himself as a sacrifice on our behalf. You and I could never give our lives for another sinner, because we are just as guilty in the eyes of God. Yet Jesus came as the Lamb of God, without blemish or spot, and sacrifices Himself in the place of sinners. He who knew no sin became sin for us. So when we are faced with temptation today we can turn to Him for help. We can ask God to give us His strength so we can resist the temptations just as Jesus did. But even if we recongnize the temptations and still give in to them, we are still considered clean and pure in God's eyes. Instead of seeing us as disobedient children, God sees us as perfect kids who have never disobeyed Him. Why? Because the holiness and righteousness of Jesus covers us. He as the Second Adam earned what we never could in our sinful nature-peace with God and eternal life in heaven. Trust in Him today. If you do, He promises to give you these things. Just as Adam's disobedience earned us hell and damnation, the Second Adam's obedience earned us heaven and God's favor.

    1. What are three names given to Jesus?
    2. What are the three temptations commonly used by Satan?
    3. Adam earned God's wrath for us. What did Jesus earn for us?

    1998 Pomona Youth Chapel/Pastor Tim Shultz