Jesus: The True and Better Adam

One of the greatest aspects of leading worship is when someone asks a question about the words we’re singing. Seriously, some may shy away from this task, but for me when someone is able to recall the words we’re singing and desires to know more about what they mean and where they come from, I see that as an opportunity to grow our knowledge of God and His Word.

We’ve recently introduced the modern Hymn, “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery” to our congregation. This gospel centered and theologically rich hymn has lots to teach us about who Jesus is.  This morning a congregant asked a great question about the meaning of one of the lines in the second verse of this hymn:

“Come behold the wondrous mystery
He the perfect Son of Man
In His living, in His suffering
Never trace nor stain of sin

See the true and better Adam
Come to save the hell-bound man
Christ the great and sure fulfillment
Of the law; in Him we stand”

What do we mean by referring to Jesus as the true and better Adam?  Initially it seems a bit strange that we would refer Jesus, who we claim to be the Messiah, in the similar vein as Adam, to whom we attribute to fall of the human race.

Let’s consider briefly a couple of things that we know about Adam and Jesus from scripture:


  • Adam was created by God.  (Genesis 2)
  • Adam was the originator of human race (Genesis 2)
  • Adam and Eve succumbed temptations (Genesis 3)
  • Adam and Eve were now fallen, sinful, and cursed (Genesis 3)
  • Dead Because of Sin (Romans 6:23)


  • Jesus is the Creator (John 1, 1 Corinthians 15)
  • Jesus was fully God, and fully man. (John 1)
  • Tempted in the desert by Satan, yet remained sinless. (Matthew 4)
  • Through Jesus we receive grace and life. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
  • Dead to sin, Alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10)

This idea of Jesus being a second Adam isn’t limited to these observations. On several occasions the apostle Paul in his letters refers to Jesus as the second or last Adam.  (1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 5:12-21)

1 Corinthians 15: 21-22, 45:

 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive… 45 So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.”

We see in Paul’s writing humanity defined by who we are in light of Adam and in light of Jesus. From the first Adam we inherited death, our sinful nature, and separation from God. But Christ, the second Adam came to reverse the curse of sin and restore our relationship to God the Father.  Thus Jesus is ‘the true and better Adam,’ because through his life, death, and resurrection we are given the hope of eternal life with God the Father. A hope the first Adam could not deliver.


One thought on “Jesus: The True and Better Adam

  1. Interesting connection I read today in Carolyn Custis James: “The whole human race, beginning with Eve, comes from Adam’s wounded side. A second race – a new redeemed humanity – comes from Jesus’ wounded side.”

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