Question: Why do you have to put your faith in Christ to be saved, but you don’t have to put your faith in Adam to be lost?

Answer: This is a very interesting question that gets at the heart of the great antithesis of Scripture. The bible essentially divides the whole human race into two groups: Those who are “in Adam,” and those who are “in Christ.” This is succinctly stated in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians church where he says, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

The question that needs to be answered is how is one either “in Adam” or “in Christ?” One is “in Adam” by virtue of being born by natural generation. This is what Paul teaches when he writes, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Adam introduced sin into the world and passes that sin down to his progeny. Notice also the language in the book of Genesis. We are told that God created mankind in his image (Genesis 1:26), but after the fall, we see that Adam has a son after his own image (cf. Genesis 5:3). In other words, after the fall, the shattered image of man is passed down through the means of natural childbirth.

Similarly, if man is “in Adam” as a result of natural generation, then he becomes “in Christ” through the means of supernatural (or spiritual) generation. We have Jesus’ words in John’s gospel that teach us that we cannot see the kingdom of God unless we are “born again” (or “born from above;” cf. John 3:3). Furthermore, this regeneration is a result of the Spirit’s work. Consider what Paul writes to the church at Ephesus. After telling that we were all “dead in our sins and trespasses,” he tells them:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:4-8)

God “makes us alive in Christ.” That is regeneration, and it precedes faith in Christ; in fact, it is what makes faith in Christ possible. In other words, faith is a result of the Spirit’s work in regeneration.