Justification as it relates to Adam and Christ within the New Covenant -- By: Mark Pretorius

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 01:1 (Mar 2006)
Article: Justification as it relates to Adam and Christ within the New Covenant
Author: Mark Pretorius


Justification as it relates to Adam and
Christ within the New Covenant1

Mark Pretorius2

Abstract

How does one grasp the ramifications of sin without first understanding its source and how it was transmitted to all mankind? How does one understand the depth of Christ’s redemptive act without first understanding the depth of sin within man? The significance of this concept in explaining the work of Christ should not be underestimated in any way. Therefore Paul teaches that all people stand in relationship to one of two men, whose actions determine the eternal destiny of all who belong to them. By the one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, and by the obedience of the other, many shall be made righteous.

God’s plan for man’s redemption can be seen through the eyes of two covenants. The one, made with Adam and broken by him, resulted in man’s death. The second covenant, through Jesus Christ, resulted in man’s redemption.

1. Introduction

One of the most prominent doctrines in systematic theology, according to Grudem (1994:494), is the doctrine of inherited sin. Furthermore, Rapinchuk (1999:427) states that a great deal of speculation has also taken place regarding the cause, transmission/imputation and consequences of inherited sin. The purpose of this paper is to address these issues through a better understanding of the federal headship of Adam and Christ.

The significance of this concept in explaining the work of Christ should not be underestimated in any way. It is virtually impossible to grasp with the mind the ramifications of sin, without understanding its source and its transmission. The source, found in the disobedience of Adam in Genesis 3:6–7, is the reason all mankind stands guilty before God. How man stands guilty before God is the question that needs to be dealt with. God ordained that Adam should act not only on his own behalf, according to Erickson (1999:652), but also on behalf of all mankind, so that the consequences of his actions have been passed on to his descendants as well.

Adam was on probation for all mankind as it were; and because Adam sinned, all mankind are treated as guilty and corrupted. Bound by the covenant between God and Adam, all of mankind are treated as if they had actually and personally committed what Adam as their representative had done.

This approach sees Adam’s connection with mankind in terms of federal headship, examples of this reading are vast; (cf. Grudem (1994:494–496); Erickson (...

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