Friday, March 18, 2011

Federal Headship and Original Sin

"How come I am guilty of someone else's sin?  Why am I condemned because of what Adam did?"  This is a common objection to the doctrine of Original Sin (also called Inherited Guilt).  If you reject the idea that we are guilty in Adam, then you have to reject the opposite as well. What do I mean? Well simply put, if you look at the last half of Romans chapter 5 it becomes clear that the way death is passed to us from Adam is the way life is passed to us from Christ. If you think one is unfair you are forced to think both are unfair. Why should I be guilty of Adam's sin? Well, why should you be pronounced innocent because of Jesus death and resurrection? It's the same thing. If we don't inherit guilt from Adam, then we don't inherit life from Christ. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:22 KJV) The last half of Romans five is all about this.

If then, sin and death are passed to us from Adam is the exact same way righteousness and life are passed to us from Christ, how is that?

It has to do with COVENANT. Adam was our "Covenant head", our "Federal head", or our "Federal Representative". All of humanity was represented in Adam. We are familiar with this sort of thing. Our government is based upon Federal Representation. Our elected officials go to Parliament or Congress in our place. They represent their constituents. We are all Adam's constituents. God made an agreement, a covenant with Adam and all humanity in Adam. Adam broke that covenant knowing full well that the consequences that "breach of contract" would have for his posterity. But he didn't care.

Christ is the last Adam. God has provided him to take the punishments stipulated in the Adamic Covenant. The Covenant with Adam required two things: obedience and death if you failed. Christ gave perfect obedience, and then died as our representative. Now that the conditions of the Adamic Covenant have been satisfied in Christ, God offers a New Covenant in Christ. Christ becomes our new Federal Head and Representative. His obedience and life become ours.

In Adam, our first father, we all die because we were part of Adam when he sinned. It's not that our God singled us out as individuals to "punish" us per se. He punished Adam - in whom we all resided - unborn. We were Adam, unformed, unconscious and "innocent" though we were.

Adam was a real person. Jesus believed he was a real person and that's good enough for me. Jesus IS the truth and our Father said: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." - Matthew 17:5 KJV

Jesus will not reject his own body. "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." - Romans 6:4 KJV

"So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." - Ephesians 5:28-30 KJV

The key here is if Christ is going to be our Federal Representative, then we have to be in Christ. We have to die with him in his death, and rise with him in his resurrection. The Spirit makes those in Christ into a New Creation and a New Humanity with a New Covenant.

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