The Fundamentals of New Covenant Theology
Part 18: NCT Characteristics (III-A)
“3. The imputation of Adam’s first sin to all mankind (Rom. 5:12d, 18a-19a), the elect’s sin to Christ (II Cor. 5:21), and Christ’s righteousness to the elect (Rom. 5:18b-19b) are vital for the Christian faith. Without the doctrine of imputation the whole doctrine of the substitutionary atonement and justification by faith alone in Christ alone are undermined (Rom. 5:12-19)” (Long, New Covenant Theology, NCT Characteristics).
In short, New Covenant Theology unabashedly affirms the threefold doctrine of imputation: (1) the imputation of Adam’s first sin to all mankind (i.e. original sin), (2) the imputation of the elect’s sin to Christ, and (3) the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the elect. In this blog post, we shall focus on the first aspect of the doctrine of imputation – the doctrine of original sin. As the first man and progenitor of the human race, Adam functioned as humanity’s representative before Yahweh. When he transgressed God’s commandment in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:6-7), God immediately imputed (i.e. reckon; put to the account of) the guilt and penalty of Adam’s first sin to the entire human race. In other words, all of humanity is guilty of Adam’s first sin and deserves death because of it. Romans 5:12 declares, “Wherefore, as by one man [i.e. Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all sinned [in Adam]” [brackets mine]. Furthermore, Romans 5:18 states, “Therefore, as by the offence of one [i.e. Adam], judgment came upon all men to condemnation….For as by one man’s [i.e. Adam’s] disobedience many were made sinners” [brackets mine]. In other words, every human being (except Christ) was made into a sinner because of Adam’s first sin. In 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, the Apostle Paul teaches, “For since by man came death [i.e. Adam]….For as in Adam all die” [brackets mine]. Simply put, all humanity experiences death because of Adam’s first sin. To be sure, the imputation of Adam’s first sin is a difficult doctrine. However, it, as well as the doctrines related to it, are foundational to the orthodox Christian faith. It is interesting to note that many believers are offended by the Scriptural truth that Adam’s first sin was imputed to their account – such a transaction is unfair, they say. However, no one takes issue with his or her sins being imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as Christ’s righteousness being imputed to them. Was such a transaction ‘fair’ for the Lord Jesus Christ?