Nobody’s Born In Christ, Everybody’s Born in Adam

Romans 5:12 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—

Romans 5 does not directly say that “all sinned in Adam”. Nor does this chapter ever use the word “imputation”. But the sin of verse 12 is not the result of death. The death is the result of “because all sinned”.

We look to the context in chapter 5 to see how it is that the all sinned. We all sinned because of the representative sin of Adam.
Adam was our substitute. We don’t need to sin ourselves to be condemned to death.

We are condemned to death because Adam sinned for us, as our representative. We are not guilty based on our corruption. Corruption is mediated to us because we are guilty. We do sin of course but before we did we were already constituted sinners. We were all born legally guilty in Adam.

Romans 5:13 “for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”

It’s not only infants who died who did NOT sin like Adam. Everybody who died after Adam’s first sin but before the Mosaic law was given did NOT sin like Adam. Yet because of Adam’s sin, all these people died.

But didn’t these people live a while and then die? Why did they get to live even a little if they were born guilty? Genesis: in the day you eat, you will surely die. The death is sure, but not yet executed upon all those represented by Adam.

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” ”Truly I say to you today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43 Jesus did not wait until after He died to promise the justified thief that He would remember him. The promise to be with Jesus in paradise is sure, even on this day when Jesus died.

“David foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up.” Acts 2:31

Romans 5:16 “For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 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 the one man Jesus Christ.”

Imputation is not first of all about the punishment of sins. Imputation is about the bearing of guilt. Infants who die have been imputed with Adam’s sin, and that doesn’t mean they only bear the punishment of Adam’s sin. Legally they sinned when Adam sinned.

So how did the elect die when Christ died? Again, the logical inference is by the imputation (legal transfer) of what their representative accomplished. What did Christ get done? What did Christ finish? Christ died for the sins of the elect imputed to Him.

Not only did God impute the sins of the elect to Christ, but God also imputes the death of Christ (this good and just death, because of sins) to the elect, in time and individually, one by one as God justifies these elect. This is talked about in the next chapter of Romans. Chapter 6 of Romans, like chapter 5, does not use the word “imputation”. But that is the basic meaning of “being placed into” or “planted into” Christ’s death.

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6 Comments on “Nobody’s Born In Christ, Everybody’s Born in Adam”

  1. MARK MCCULLEY Says:

    Torrance can say that Jesus believed for us, or repented for us, but he ends up denying that Jesus paid legal satisfaction for anybody (bear sins).

    Torrance sneers at, disapproves of penal satisfaction, as an external forensic thing. But he never shows that “made sin” in II Cor 5:21 means anything other than imputation.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    not all born in Adam stay in Adam
    all chosen in Christ are born in Adam
    not all born in Adam are chosen in Christ
    some born in Adam stay in Adam
    some born in Adam are justified in Christ

  3. markmcculley Says:

    promises have consequences, laws have consequences

    the theology of glory is a prosperity theology
    prosperity theology is a “possibility theology”

    sarcasm alert

    have you “actualized” your “potential”?

    1. make sure you have oil in your lamps
    if you don’t, there will be consequences

    if you do, be sure to thank god for his grace in causing you to have oil in your lamp

    2. exercise your faith in the gospel
    appropriate by faith being united to Christ
    act on your option to accept the offer which is sufficient if you meet the conditions of the gospel

    3. IF YOU as a legalist elder brother welcome those your Father welcomes, then the consequence is that you get to be at the party

    but F YOU as a legalist elder brother do NOT welcome those your Father welcomes, then you will NOT get to be at the party

    but you “sinned against grace”, against “potential”
    you excluded yourself, since God excludes nobody but “offers” to save the non-elect

    and despite your legalism, we ,must assume that you are a Christian
    because God is your father
    and your baby brother was already a Christian before he left home

    circumcised as a baby because he was born a Christian,
    just like you were

  4. markmcculley Says:

    The grace bestowed in John one verse 12 is “adoption” in contrast with the grace effected in verse 13, which is “regeneration.” Since verse 13 stands grammatically in subordination to verse 12, the emphasis is not so much upon God’s inward work of regeneration but rather upon God’s subsequent conferral of legal status

    Trevor Burke, Adopted into God’s Family, IVP, 2006—“Adoption is a forensic term and denotes a legal transfer from an alien family into
    the family of God….Revivalism has long emphasized the concept of regeneration but has overlooked the Pauline theme of adoption.

    Berkhof, systematic theology 1981, Banner of Truth-“sonship by adoption should be carefully distinguished from…sonship by regeneration.”, p 516

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Some preachers’ changing views on the timing of justification don’t effect their preaching, except for what they don’t say anymore, and except that the now read “new creation” and Romans 6 in terms of regeneration and not in terms of “two legal states”. I am going to stop calling these guys “eternal justification preachers” because they don’t end up preaching their new doctrine. Instead they insinuate that anybody who disagrees with them about eternal justification is teaching imputation caused by our faith.

    If they were actually teaching eternal justification, they would perhaps need to imagine the possibility that somebody could teach imputation as the cause of faith and still teach imputation in time. This should not be that difficult for them to imagine, since it was the view of John Owen, Robert Haldane, and Abraham Booth, and indeed their own view a few years back. But instead of teaching the doctrine, they suggest that the “safest way” not to teach imputation caused by faith is to teach “eternal justification” I want nothing to do with learning a doctrine that doesn’t effect the way you preach the gospel.


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