The Federal Headship of Adam and Christ

Before we talk about sanctification we need to bridge a gap. We need the assurance of salvation. Then we will be prepared to obey. Now, there is going be an objection to our text today. If we talk about being a sure of our salvation not only today, but tomorrow, five years from now, and for all eternity, there's going to be an objection. There will be some who say “If you give people assurance of salvation before they die, they will abuse that assurance. They're going to use that as a ticket into heaven.” Remember there is a difference between the popular phrase “once saved always saved” and “eternal security” or being “secure in Christ.” I don't like the idea that if you just pray a prayer you can get the “assurance card” in your back pocket. Salvation is so much bigger than that. However, if I am to preach this passage correctly, there should be some, who do not understand the grace of God, who responds with a common objection. Romans 6:1 anticipates this. “What shall we say then are we to can continue in sin. That grace may abound?”

That is the objection. Upon hearing Romans 1-5 some will say “If that's true if I'm assured of my salvation then I'm going to go all and just sin all the more so that I can make much of grace!” And Paul says “Absolutely not!” The Biblical teaching on grace exposes the preacher to such accusations. Some will hear it wrongly and in their flesh, they're going to say “Well if that's true then I'm going to live the way I want.” But if we're going to preach the gospel faithfully, we have got to run that risk. While some misunderstand, others will see. To the eyes the Holy Spirit opens, they will stand in awe.

Now, let's look at Romans 5:12-15. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned-for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses even over those who sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. The sermon titled today is “Federal headship of Adam and Christ”. What does that mean? Federal headship is another way of saying covenant headship of Adam and Christ. That is what is being established here in these three verses. What Adam did was counted as something that we did. In the garden of Eden, God established with Adam a covenant of works. Adam was given a garden with only one “No.” There was only one restriction “Do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If you do it the day of the day you eat of it you will surely die.” At the time of that covenant, Adam was morally upright. He was created upright and pure in the garden and Eve along with him. It was a garden of innocence. Until Adam sinned. And out text says “sin came into the world through one man,” but the consequence of the sin of one man came to all. Death came to all men.

Let me ask you a question. “Are you going to die?” Why? Because of the sin of Adam. Our passage tells us that something is being established in Adam that we need to be made aware. What Adam did he did as our representative. That's why all people die. The consequence of sin falls on all people everywhere throughout the history of the world. This is covenant headship. What Adam did, he did as a representative of humanity and we are held responsible.

All who were born after Adam, come out of the womb as sinners. Adam was a representative and we were united to that work in him. We have all made our choice. Therefore, we are not free. We are born bound in sin and need to be set free. We were born in moral bondage. We cannot look at Adam and Eve and say “I would have done better.” The Bible tells us, we would have done the same thing. Adam sinned against God and Eve threw his wife under the bus. He even blamed God for his sin. He blamed Eve and God for his actions and the Bible tells us that that's the same thing we have done. Every person who's ever existed has chosen themselves over God in the garden of Eden. Therefore, death has rained since the fall.

Paul labors to make this point. Even before the law of Moses was given death still reigned from Adam to Moses. Death rain because people were lawbreakers. Even before the Mosaic Law came and clarified all the sins of humanity death was the result. Headship is the reason. Paul wants us to see is that Adam was a type of Christ. “Adam was a type of the one who was to come.” As Adam was a federal head or a covenant head, Jesus is going to be a covenant head also. What the second Adam does is going to affect people in a similar manner as Adam's action. That's the argument. That's what the Holy Spirit is bringing out.

We don't live in a world that understands federal headship. One way to think about is a sports team. On a team, if somebody breaks the law of the coach the whole team is held responsible. That is the idea. It only takes one knucklehead on the team. One person disobeys and everyone has to run line sprints. That's is one person representing the entire whole. And this is what's happening with Adam in the garden. That is what is going to happen in Christ. Paul is going to bring some clarification to us now.

Now that federal headship is established we are going to make a transition in verse 15-17. Instead of talking about the entire human race, we are making a shift in the discussion. We are now talking about two groups of people in the entirety of the human race. We are making a switch from the word “all” to the word “many.” And then, later, we're gonna switch back to the word “all.” If we don't understand the structure of this argument we're going to get confused. When Paul says all and when he says many what we should be asking questions. Paul is it all or is it many? Why are you saying all in Adam and then many in Adam and many in Christ? Because in verses 12-13 Paul is simply establishing federal headship, one person representing all people. Now we're gonna see a shift. look at verse 15. “But the free gift is not like the trespass for if many died through one man's trespass.” Is it many who died through one man's trespass or is it all who died. Paul would you please tell us. Because at first, he tells us it's all. And then he says “many.” We are now switching to two groups of people, many in Adam, and many in Christ.

“For if many died through one man's trespass much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abound for many.” If many died through one man's trespass who is he talking about? Adam. His work affected his “many.” So also, Jesus work affected his “many.” We know have two men who represent two groups of people. There are only two people who have ever lived in the world, Adam and Jesus. What do these representatives do for their group of people? To whom do you belong?

Now, look at verse sixteen. “The free gift is not like the result of the one man's sin for the judgment following the one man's trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if because of one man's trespass death reigned through that one man. Much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through that one man Jesus Christ.” So what followed Adam's sin? Condemnation and judgment. But even though transgressions grew and sin abounded. Jesus came. What follows Jesus life? What does it result in? Justification, life, and righteousness. And it all comes through that one man Jesus Christ. It doesn't come from the many. It comes from Christ and Christ alone. If there's going to be righteousness on the scene, if there's going to be justification on the scene, if there's going to be life and forgiveness of sins on the scene, if there's gonna be assurance of salvation on the scene, it's not going to come from people. It's going to come from Jesus as the representative of his people!

Verse 18 brings it all together. Paul explains in greater detail exactly what he means. “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men so one act of righteousness leads to justification in life for all men.” Now, this is the point. And if we don't get the structure we're gonna all become universalist here. Universalists take this verse right as their foundational verse. They say “See! It says all! All means all and that's all all every means.” Well, not all the time! There is a reason we are not universalist! All does not always mean all and every. Say you go on a to trip to Florida and you see a sign that says “all beaches this way”. You understand that means all the beaches in this community. You know that it's not all the beaches in the entire world. What we see in verse 18, is a designation for the two groups of many. This is not saying that everyone will be justified. What it is saying, is that Adam did something for all of his many and Jesus did something for all of his many. This is not a verse about universalism. It is simply saying all who are in Adam and all who are in Christ. The same results are coming to them because of what Adam did for them or because of what Jesus did for them. The question becomes “Who are you in? Adam or Jesus?” Adam's trespasses lead to this condemnation, Jesus obedience leads to justification. Who are united with?

It is worth noting. Because of verses 12-14, if you are in Adam that is not God's fault. Being in Adam is because of your sin. We've made a decision. All who are in Adam have. God is not to blame for sinners being united with Adam. Sinners are. In Adam, all willfully reject God. The Serpent and the woman were more dazzling to Adam and his people than God was. That slimy Serpents lies dazzled his eyes and the fruit on the tree he desired more than his heavenly Father. God was not enough.

But for those who were united with Christ, there are pretty staggering conclusions. If you buy grace, repented of your sins and trusted in him, there are staggering realities about what Christ has done for you. Because if you are in Christ, then everything he did is counted as yours. If you are in Christ then righteousness and justification are for you. By that one man's act by, Jesus did as a federal head. Just as Adam was a covenant head, so is Jesus! What Jesus does applies to all who are in him. He is their representative. If you belong to him what he did is counted as what you did. Jesus' active obedience in his life, obeying his heavenly Father even to the point of death is counted as yours! He gives you his life! This is your life. Everything he has done, everything he accomplished belongs to you. It is yours. You will be called a very son of God because you are in Him! His life was lived as a representative for his people so his people could be counted as living a perfect life. His death was counted as my death. If you're in Christ you have received the punishment for your sins because Jesus died for you and his death is counted as your death! God will not punish you for that which he already punished Christ! God has already brought judgment upon his people because Jesus died in their place. His death is count as your death. Death as judgment is not yours if you belong to Jesus. He died in your place. The wrath of God came down on him instead of coming on you. You're a child of God and you're united to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Adam failed in a garden. Jesus prevailed in a garden. Jesus said “I will obey. I will go. Not my will but Yours be done.”Adam, In that garden of Eden, said: “Not your will my will be done.” When he was tempted by the Enemy, Adam agreed with him. Jesus, the second Adam, when tempted by the Enemy believed God and quoted God's Word. He trusted God. Jesus our faithful big brother, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the second person of the Trinity, came to do the will of his heavenly father. Beloved, as surely as Jesus obeyed in that garden by saying “Not my will yours be done” you are counted as the very man or woman who prayed that prayer. That prayer in that garden he prayed as a representative.

I love this quote by R.C. Sproul Jr. Commenting on these very things he said, “Adam said don't blame me blame my wife. Jesus came and said Don't blame my wife, blame me! Adam said “God it's your fault! You gave me that woman!” Jesus came and said “I love that woman and I'll die for. I'll take responsibility! Don't blame her, blame me! We are united with our Beloved!

What you may be wondering is “how did I become united with him?” If you don't know Jesus this morning, how do you get in union with him? Because if you're sitting and thinking through these things you ought to be thinking “I don't want to be in Adam! I want to be in Christ!” How do we get in Christ? I want to throw us on the mercy of God! I want to go down deep this morning. Not as in “Hard to understand” just deep into the grace of God.

How and why is a person in Christ?. Think about it! Consider your conversion. I can trace this back thirty years to when I was a five-year-old boy. I was convicted of sin. I felt weird on the inside and I was so embarrassed because my mom was a children's church director. I remember just feeling awful when I went in and talked to my mom and dad. I said, “I want to be saved.” That's when I was converted. I believe that. I think that's when the Holy Spirit of God changed me and I was saved by God's grace. But my life with God and my union with Christ didn't start then. My union with Christ has ancient origins. It did not start in 1989, it started way before that before I ever knew anything about God. I want us to see this, about union with Christ today. The fount of all the glorious treasures in Christ flow from this doctrine of union with Christ. Everything flows from being united in Christ.

Where does this all start? Where does it begin? How far does the grace of God go back? It goes all the way back! Let's consider Eph. 1. We're gonna look at two supplemental texts. Ephesians 1, and first Corinthians 1. We are asking the question “How do I get united with Christ.? How can I become a union with him? How can I belong to him? What are the mechanics of it? Where does it start? Ephesians 1:3-6 “Blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ.” We have our words: in Christ. “With every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” My life with God did not start in 1989, it started before the foundation of the world before I was born! I want to throw us on the mercy of God this morning, and this is what Union with Christ does. Because we are told why we are in Christ. It is because God chose us to be in him! He chose you beloved! Not because of anything in us that God got God's attention! He chose us before we were born and it's not as if God looked through the corridors of time and get gathered all those that that looked better than everyone else and said: “Okay, I'm going to pick them!” Oh no! We were in the mess of humanity just as messed up like everyone else! By the sheer grace of God, he chose you. He chose you in Christ before the foundation of the world! “Even as he chose us before in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, He predestined us.” God's love and predestination are not opposed to each other because God tells us they're not opposed to each other. If you love God's love then we are to love predestination. If you love predestination then we are to love God's love. For those who love God's love, we must love what we're told to love. He predestined us in love. Predestination is about God's love. And he did not predestine you simply to forgive your sins. He chose you for more than justification. He predestined you for adoption. He wanted you in his family! “In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. According to the purpose of his will.”

This is all deeply personal. God loves you. And he sent his Son to rescue his enemies to make family them family and bring them to the table of God. We are in Christ because God chose us to be in Christ. He predestined you for this purpose. Your salvation was planned from eternity past. And if you're in Christ, it's solely by the grace of God. When somebody asks you “Why you're a Christian.” Inside, what we should say “By God's grace! I can't tell you a reason why other than God's grace! I can't tell you something about myself. I can't tell you something I did when I was five years old. I can't tell you it was something in me at all! The only reason I can stand before you and say I'm a Christian because God has been merciful to me!” Charles Spurgeon said so wisely, “If God didn't choose me I would have never chosen him.” And if God had not chosen me I would have never chosen him.

But he loved me first so I love him. He has been so kind to me and I have not deserved it in any way. Not more than the most heathen person in all the world. I mean like the major pillars of evil in our world. When we look at Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, or Osama Bin Laden, and the people throughout the world who have done all these terrible things. I can look at them and turn my nose up or I can say I would be the same place as them for eternity if it was not for God's grace! God has been so kind to me.!

First Corinthians 1:30-31 says the same thing. “And because of him”, which is God, because of God “because of him, you were in Christ Jesus.” Why am I in Christ Jesus? Because of God. That's why you are in Christ. Because of God! “He became to us. Wisdom from God. Righteousness and sanctification and redemption so that as it is written let the one who boasts” boast in the fact that I've got it together? Boast in the fact that I've taken God's grace and ran with it in better ways than anybody else has? Boast in that I have figured out apologetically why God exists and why should I repent of my sins and trust in Jesus? No! Boast in the Lord! Give glory to God who is kind and merciful.

Your salvation brothers sisters were secure before you took a single breath! In His tender love, He did not wait for you to clean yourself up. He came to you. And he saved you and it was not because of you in any way! To be in Christ is to be a recipient of the sheer pure grace of God. For we did nothing to earn it or get it. He has lavished it upon us! Martyn Lloyd-Jones said “If I am put into Christ, then it was I who was crucified with Him I died with him. I am raised with him and I am in the heavenly places with him. I am in Christ that is the way we should look at it, and as long as we do this with certainty and assurance we will never be shaken.” You are in Christ beloved you are in Christ!

To the non-Christian reader. How does that Grace get applied? How does that union get applied to a person like you? It was Alistair Begg who once said “When we call people to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus. We tell them what the Bible tells them and we believe it! Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” And with everything in me, I believe that. With every ounce in me, I believe that because the Bible tells me. Whosoever will come to Christ will be saved by Christ. Anybody out there, it doesn't matter who you are what you've done, if you will come to him he will save you. And I hope you understand the paradox of what I'm saying. You should be thinking “It sounds like you're talking out of two sides your mouth.” That's okay, we need to affirm all of the Bible says. When the Bible says “Anyone or everyone, it means anyone or everyone!” Come to him and drink in the river of life. If you will, you will be saved. And if you are saved by Jesus, you will one day discover, as you walk through that door, just as Alistair Begg says, “On on side of the door is says “whosoever will come” and we get through the door and look back and over the door it says “You did not choose me. I chose you!” If you don't already, one-day Christian brother or sister you will stand in awe. It's just a matter of time. Nobody gets into this thing because of ourselves. We only get into this thing because of him!

If you will believe this, the rest of your life will be like treasure trove after a treasure trove of grace for you. The hope for the unsaved is not in them as it was not in you. The hope for anyone in this world to be saved is in the very heart of God. It's in God. And he will in no way cast out anyone who will come down. Believe in Him today! Drink of this Fountain. Believe in him and repent of your sins and be assured of your salvation!

Christian, we need to be assured of our salvation. We need to know that we're safe before we get started before we take up arms and go to battle. That's what we see in Chapter 6. So before we go to war with the flesh we need assurance. That's what God has been giving us!

Finally, look at verse 20. “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased grace abounded all the more so that just as sin reigned in death grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The law came to show how bad trespass is truly are. That's what it says. The law came to increase trespasses. So when the law came and it says “Don't covet your neighbor's wife. Don't steal and such. When the law came, people realized “Oh I'm sinning in greater ways than I realized. But notice, no matter how big the increase of sin, grace is greater still! Grace abounds more and more and more. Let me ask you “How much sin is in the world right now?” Turn on that TV and watch the news or get on the internet and read some articles about current events. Get on Twitter and just read what people are saying back and forth between the left and the right. Is there a lot of love right now in this country for each other? There's not is there. Is there a lot of sin in this world right now. It's everywhere we go. Sin is massive. It's all we can see around us. And here's what the Bible's telling us. We're sin increased Grace abounded all the more! God's grace is bigger than any sin in your life and any sin ever committed out there. From the worst of the Holocaust to the worst of sex trafficking. God's grace abounds. Our sins are many. His mercy is more!

We need to know this. If we're gonna walk with Christ all the days of our lives we need to be reminded that his grace is greater than our sin and is greater than any sin out there. His mercy is upon us. He's lavished it upon us. It has a personal application. It has universal application. But this morning brother and sister in Christ lift your head don't be in sorrow. Rejoice in the Lord always! Your sins are many. His mercy is more! Do your sins feel like they're too hard to overcome? He's already overcome them for you! Do you feel like there's no hope for growth and do you feel like you can't hold on? You're in Christ you are his. You belong to the God of the universe not just as some static figure! You belong to him. If that's you that's true. Then lift your head and weep no more. You belong to him if that doesn't prepare you for the battle to take up the sword. I don't know what will! To know that the victory has already been won. It's so glorious!

Beloved, you are sure in your salvation by the work of Christ in Christ alone.