Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fed Head

The federal headship of Adam is a typology which finds its counter-effect in the grace of Jesus Christ. Adam's sin was imputed to the entire human race because of his representative role. Christ, as our Substitute,  paid the sin-debt of all of us who have saving faith. Romans 5: 12-21 and 1 Cor 15: 45 point to the parallel roles (albeit with entirely different outcomes) of Adam and Christ. Jesus provides the remedy for the disaster caused by Adam.

Romans 5: 12 asserts that sin entered the world through one man (Adam). He was the representative and the gatekeeper, and once he fell, sin, along with its consequences, came in. Adam's federal role is immediately obvious because, while Adam was not the first human to sin (Eve disobeyed God first), it was Adam's sin by which sin entered the world. And the first consequence is that death entered the world, not through the first sin (Eve's), but through the sin of Adam, the federal head of natural humanity. Verse 12 finishes with the phrase "...because all sinned--"(NASB), not would sin, not eventually started to sin, not sinned on an ongoing basis, although all these facts are true, but sinned--the aorist tense in the Greek is used, meaning that the verb refers to a specific point in time. It points to the time all humans sinned in Adam, when he sinned.

Verse 15 of Romans 5 states that the many (Adam's descendants) died because of Adam's transgression, which is another indication of the imputation of Adam's guilt. Verse 16 says judgment arose from the one transgression. Verse 17 says death reigned by the one transgression. Verse 18 says condemnation to all men was the result of the one transgression. The good news is believers are rescued from this condemnation in Christ. Finally, verse 18 says by the one man's disobedience, the many were made sinners, a clear and emphatic expression of the federal headship of Adam.

Throughout the passage Paul distinguishes between the sin of Adam and the obedience of Christ, having stated in verse 14 that Adam is a "type" of Christ. Since Adam was a sinner and Jesus was perfectly righteous, this typology refers to the imputation of Adam's demerits to his progeny and the imputation of Christ's meritorious righteousness to believers. It also refers to Adam's one sin causing judgment and calamity to all while Christ's atonement removes the many sins and rescues the saints from judgment.

Adam's sin brought death, but for believers, Christ's work on the cross brings eternal life.

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