HOW THE LAST ADAM BECOMES
THE TREE OF LIFE IN US
Scripture Reading: 1 Cor. 15:45; John 14:1-6, 10, 16-20, 23; 20:22
First Corinthians 15:45 says, “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul’; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.” There are two important things in this verse. First, Christ, the last Adam, became a Spirit. Second, Christ was made not only a Spirit but also a life-giving, life-imparting, Spirit. He was made a Spirit for the purpose of giving life to us.
First Corinthians 15:45 does not specifically say that Christ, the Son of God, or that Jesus became a life-giving Spirit. It says that the last Adam became such a Spirit. The first Adam is the beginning of mankind; the last Adam is the ending of mankind. The last Adam means the last man. After him there are no more Adams.
HOW CHRIST BECAME A LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT
Now we have to ask how Christ became a Spirit. The explanation of how this man became a life-giving Spirit is in the Gospel of John. This Gospel begins with the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God (1:1). In Him was life (v. 4). How could this life which was in Him be ours? In Him was life, but this life was not in us. The Word, which was God, became flesh; He became a man (v. 14), and this God-man was the last Adam.
In John’s Gospel there are many items of Christ from chapter 1 to chapter 14. Chapter 14 is the turning point of this Gospel. Chapter 13 is still in the outer court. The Lord’s washing of the disciples’ feet in this chapter points to the washing, cleansing laver in the outer court of the tabernacle. From chapter 14 we are turned from the outer court into the Holy Place, and from this chapter through chapter 17 the tabernacle with the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies is built up. The Lord revealed how He would become a life-giving Spirit in John 14—16, and this way is recorded in John 18—20. This way is  the way of death and resurrection. Through death and resurrection this man became a life-giving Spirit.
In John 20 after His death and resurrection, this man came back to His disciples in the form of the Spirit and breathed into the disciples, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (v. 22). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit who gives life (2 Cor. 3:6). With this Spirit, life comes into us; with this life we have light; and with this light we have all the riches of what this God-man is. All the items of Christ in the Gospel of John are the different aspects of the riches of this God-man, and all these riches are now in the life-giving Spirit. All the riches of Christ in their totality equal the life. If you have life, you enjoy the Lord as the door, the Shepherd, and as so many other items. Even the foot-washing in John 13 is not merely something outward. It is something inward. If you do not know how to feed on the Lord as life, you cannot enjoy life’s washing. When you enjoy Him by feeding on Him as life, you will be nourished, and at the same time you will sense the washing. The nourishment washes and cleanses. When you are feeding on the Lord Jesus, eating of Him, feasting on Him, you are nourished, and at the same time you are watered, enlightened, cleansed, strengthened, and comforted. The riches of this life are with the life-giving Spirit.
The book of John starts with the Word and ends with the Spirit. The Word, which is God, passed through the processes of incarnation, human living with its sufferings, crucifixion, and resurrection. In resurrection this wonderful God-man became a life-giving Spirit. All the items of what Christ is with all of His processes are condensed and included in this life-giving Spirit. You may know that Christ is the Son of God, that He is the Lamb of God who died on the cross for your sins, and that He is the Savior. But do you know Him in a living way as the life-giving Spirit?
The book of John is concluded at the end of chapter 20 with the Lord breathing Himself into the disciples as the Holy Spirit. Chapter 21 is the “PS” to the Gospel of John. When we write a letter, we may have something further to say after the conclusion to make a particular point. John 21 is the “PS” of this Gospel, proving and confirming that this life-giving Spirit was not only with but also within the disciples. Wherever they were, there the life-giving Spirit was. Even when they were fallen and backsliding, He was still there. No matter what you do, He is always with you. If you go to a movie  theater, He will go with you but not happily. When the disciples backslid in John 21 by going back to the sea to take care of their living, the Lord was present with them the whole time. When Peter told the other brothers that he was going fishing, they followed him to return to their old occupation. They fished the whole night and caught nothing, but even on the land where the fish were not, the Lord could provide fish for them. Where the Lord is, our needs are taken care of. We need to learn the lesson to be one with Him. John 21 is a proof, a confirmation, that this wonderful One is now within His redeemed ones. He is with them all the time as the life-giving Spirit. John’s conclusion is in chapter 20, but his “PS” has no ending. Today we still have the “PS” to the Gospel of John.
We have to spend some time to see the turning point of John in chapters 14 through 17. John 14:1-2a says, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe into God, believe also into Me. In My Father’s house are many abodes.” The word abodes in verse 2 is the same word in Greek as abode in verse 23. The Lord Jesus said in this verse that He and the Father will come to the believer and make an abode with him. The word abode in Greek is the noun form of the verb abide. The Lord continued in verses 2 and 3: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to Myself, so that where I am you also may be.” The Lord said, “If I go…I am coming.” This means that the Lord’s going was His coming. Then He continued to say that He would receive the disciples to Himself so that where He is the disciples might also be. Where is the Lord in John 14? Verse 10 says, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?” The Lord is in the Father, and His desire was for the disciples to be where He was. He is in the Father, and they would also be in the Father. The Lord was going to do something to bring the disciples into the Father. Peter, John, James, and Andrew were not in the Father, but He was. They were sinners, and there was no place for them to be in the Father. Therefore, the Lord had to go (through His death and resurrection) to prepare a place for them in the Father. His desire was to bring them into the Father.
In verse 20 the Lord told the disciples, “In that day [the day of resurrection] you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” In the day of resurrection the disciples would be in the Lord and in the Father where He is. The Lord’s going to the  Father (v. 28) through His death and resurrection was actually His coming into the disciples (v. 18). The first step of His coming was by incarnation. The second step was His passing through death and resurrection for Him to be transfigured from the flesh into the Spirit that He might come into His disciples and dwell in them as revealed in verses 17 through 20. His going was really His coming.