Federal Headship

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by Andrew P.C., Sep 30, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

    After speaking with a brother in Christ, I'm somewhat confused about the contrast/comparison of the federal headship of Adam and the federal headship of Christ. Since Adam is the federal headship of the entire fallen human race, is Christ the NEW federal headship of all the human race? My question comes from Romans 5: 12-21. How does a covenant theologian deal with this passage?

    Note: I've read this article and came back more confused then enlightened...

    2nd note: I come from a dispensational background(which I totally reject)... so it would be great to have full detail on this passage.
  2. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    The difference comes from our natural state versus a regenerated state (natural birth versus spiritual rebirth).
    We are all naturally born under the headship of Adam. It is only after we are regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit that we become born of God, and Christ becomes our federal head.

    Adam is federal head of all who are born to him...the whole human race.
    Christ is federal head of all who are born to him...all who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
  3. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member


    I think you need to understand Romans 5 in the context of his audience. Paul is exhorting the Roman Church to understand that God's intention is to save them to the uttermost. He notes to them that God saved them while they were His enemies and now, how much more will He save them that they are His friends.

    His point of bringing up Adam is to note that all humanity is plunged into Sin and death by the first Adam - that all Sinned in Adam and are fallen and under judgment. But the sacrifice is not like the offense. For, in addition to Adam's Sin that we bear in guilt with him, we are also guilty of our many sins. Yet, Christ not only atones for Sin but sins as well.

    The point of the Adam and Christ comparison is to show, in large measure, that were sin abounded, grace abounded much more. If you're wondering about the power of Christ's atonement to save you to the uttermost then STOP - Paul's point is that grace SUPERABOUNDS more than grace.

    Paul is not applying a symmetrical point about the mass of humanity in this passage. All of humanity fell with Adam, including us but Christ's sacrifice atones for the many that includes us but not the whole world. It's not that Christ's sacrifice is insufficient to do so but it is because the atonement is only efficient for those it is applied to.

    Thus the passage is designed to give you confidence to see that grace abounds where sin once reigned and this leads naturally into the next line of thinking that Paul needs to guard against - If God is glorified by showing mercy to sinners by showing them grace, why don't I sin even more so that He can be more and more gracious? But, of course, Paul's point is to show that grace abounds above sin but not that God wants us to sin or redeemed us from slavery to sin that we should continue to walk in it.

    If you desire, you can listen to my teaching on Romans 5 at Central Baptist Church, Okinawa, Japan
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page