Reformed Perspectives Magazine, Volume 4, Number 30, November 13-20, 2002



by Jack L. Arnold, Th.D.

Chart 1: History of the Doctrine of Sin CHART II : Romans 5:12 1. This chart explains the relationship between the world of mankind and the fall of Adam as the racial representative. 2. Sin entered the human race by one man, Adam; with that sin came death in the sense of the entire, collective, evil results of sin (physical, spiritual and eternal death), the emphasis of Scripture being upon physical death. 3. This death was distributed to every member of the human race, of whom Adam was the representative head. Men are thus born spiritually dead and headed for physical and eternal death. This explains how babies are sinners. 4. Men are constituted sinners, not because they are innocent victims of what Adam did but because they are guilty, for when Adam sinned they sinned. All men sinned in Adam's rebellion and this sin is imputed directly to them. 5. God has sovereignly imputed the sin of Adam to the whole human race, just as Christ's righteousness has been imputed sovereignly to every Christian. Adam's sin is imputed to his descendants in the same way that Christ's righteousness is imputed to those who believe in Him. Adam's descendants are, of course, no more personally guilty of his sin than Christ's redeemed are personally meritorious of His righteousness. But while men are not personally guilty of Adam's sin, they are nevertheless liable to punishment for it. 6. THEOLOGICAL QUESTION: Is it fair for God to impute sin to all men and punish them for it? ANSWER: This is difficult to understand and it is hard to give a rational explanation as to why God did it, but He clearly says He did do it, and He has the sovereign right to do anything. However the thought of many being affected by the, sin of one is clearly seen in different portions of Scripture. CHART III: Representation Principle of Romans 5:18-19 REPRESENTATION Represents Human Race Represents Spiritual Race ADAM Adam is a type ("who is a figure CHRIST “Trespass of One" of him that was to come") of "One Act of Righteousness "One Mants Disobeience” Christ in that in both we see "Obedience of One" the UNITY OF THE MANY IN ONE. Imputed to Imputed to THE HUMAN RACE Constituted Sinners Reign of Death Condemnation THE ELECT OF GOD Justification Reign of Life Constituted Righteous " “All men” - - - - -"The many" All have sinned in Adam "All. Men” - - - - -"The many" Context of Chart III: These verses (Romans 5:18,19) are the conclusion of the argument begun by Paul in Romans 5:12. There is an analogy by contrast between what Adam did for the people whom he represented and what Christ did for the people whom He represented. The fall of Adam and the imputation of his sin to his people Is compared to the redeeming work of Christ and the imputation of His righteousness to His people. In verse 18 the Apostle stresses the extensive- ness of the respective work of each man. Every man in Adam reaped the results of Adam's fall, just as every man in Christ has reaped the benefits of His work in salvation. In verse 19, the Apostle emphasized the effectiveness of each man's work and relates the representative head of his respective people by designating them not as simply "man" but "the many."' Even as Adam's transgression did not simply bring the possibility of his people becoming sinners, so Christ's work did not simply bring the possibility that men might be righteous; as Adam's sin constituted the human race sinners, so Christ's work constituted the elect of God righteous. Adam acted for all men of whom he was the representative head, the result being all whom he represented have his sin imputed to them, are under condemnation, and are constituted sinners. Christ acted for "all men" (the elect) of whom He was the representative Head, the result being all whom He represented in his death, burial, and present intercession have His righteousness imputed to them, are justified, and are constituted righteous.