Objective Work of Christ
“We start from the facts. There are but two orders of mankind, Adam and Christ (Rom 5:12-21). Adam fell away to God’s enemy and was lost. Jesus the second (or last) Adam (I Cor 15:22, 45), who came to overthrow the reign of sin inaugurated by the First Adam that he might in exchange give his own holy nature, the new and true humanity. We must not think of our salvation as less than a complete exchange, for there is nothing good in fallen Adam, he is totally and incurably corrupt in all his parts and passions. There is therefore no hope for him; death is the only ‘cure,’ for it is by death only that Adam can be saved from his fallen self and become a new creation. This is what Christ had done for Adam. He took his place, not only as his Substitute to take way his sins, but as his Representative to crucify his fallen nature, that in his sinless body he might slay and remove the old, and by his resurrection replace it with the new.
“The ground of this truth is in Romans 6:3-8. There, Paul repeats the truth verse after verse in varying forms of words: we are ‘baptised into his death;’ we are ‘planted together with in the likeness of his death;’ ‘our old man was crucified with him;’ ‘he that is dead has been justified from sin;’ we are ‘dead with Christ.’ Could anything be more plain? Paul says that when Jesus died, we died with him. The Negro spiritual is not wrong when it asks, ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ We were all there.
But we must take time to ponder it. Does it mean that when Jesus died on the Cross we all died to sin with him, before we were born? The answer can only be, ‘Yes,’ although the actualising of the fact awaits our birth and our conversion. The only way to grapple with the fact is to let its incredible statement strike home to our hearts with stark and daring force.”
(William Still, Towards Spiritual Maturity, pp. 20-21).