19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
I knew a fellow who approached the middle of his sixth decade of life with a great deal of trepidation. Almost all the men in his family had died early deaths in that decade of life. They developed cancers and heart disease; some were in accidents; it seemed like the years 50-59 were just an obstacle too high for the men in his family.
The last decades have seen an explosion of medical and pharmaceutical advancements which are directly attributable to our knowledge of genetics, the inherited blueprint which is written into every cell in our bodies. Even the recent COVID vaccines were developed with that knowledge. But this study of genetics has also given some to conclude that we are prisoners of our inheritance. What if I or you have a genetic marker for some cancer or other malady? Are we doomed to suffer from this? I have known some, in whose family breast cancer is a frequent scourge, to have undergone pre-emptive surgeries lest they suffer the fate of their mothers, aunts, or sisters.
Paul notes that we inherit all this death and suffering from our first ancestor, Adam, who led the whole human race into its rebellion and sin. Born a son of Adam, I have his genes. There is nothing I can do about it. But Jesus comes with good news. Having taken human nature to Himself, He has transformed that nature, rewritten the code which condemns us. He is the true gene therapy. My old nature, inherited from Adam, will need to be purged and that will happen in my death and resurrection or by God Himself on that last day. In any event, Jesus has given me a new inheritance, he is the New Adam. I have a bright future.