Some Christians understand salvation merely in restorative terms. We were lost; we were bought; now we belong again. However, a purely judicial view of God’s salvation cannot account for the entirety of God’s purpose. In saving us, God doesn’t merely restore us to the primeval condition of Adam. God’s intention from the beginning was to impart His divine life into us for His expression in glory. However, Adam failed God. The gospel is that Christ is both the last Adam AND the second man (1 Cor. 15:45-49). The last Adam terminates what the first Adam brought in. The second man initiates what the first man lacked. Thus, salvation involves an implicit comparison of Adam and Christ (this is what Romans 5 is all about).
Watchman Nee puts it like this in The Normal Christian Life (p. 117):
What we today possess in Christ is more than Adam lost.
Two hundred years earlier, in 1719, Isaac Watts captured this truth in his famous hymn, “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun”:
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost.
In Gleanings in Genesis (p. 55), A. W. Pink also echoes this sentiment and elaborates on what exactly this entails:
In the sphere of redemption Christ has not only reversed the effects of the Fall, but because of it has brought in a better thing… The redeemed have gained more through the last Adam than they lost through the first Adam.
1) A more exalted position
Adam dwelt in an earthly paradise. The believers are seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6).
2) A nobler nature
Adam merely possessed the created, human nature. The believers have become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).
3) A new standing before God
Adam was merely innocent, morally neutral. The believers in Christ have become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
4) A better inheritance
Adam was heir of earthly blessings. The believers are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17).
5) Made capable of a deeper joy
Adam enjoyed the objective care, provision, and fellowship of the Creator. The believers enjoy the subjective grace, love, and fellowship of the Redeemer (2 Cor. 13:14).
6) A closer relationship to God
Adam was merely a creature, possessing the divine image. The believers are sons of God and brothers of Christ, possessing the divine life (1 John 5:11-12).
- Adam: a Type of Christ (lifeandbuilding.com)