Soteriology — Part Four — Imputation

The Doctrine Of Imputation/Gift of Volition

God created angels and mankind, and God gave both angels and mankind Volition — our own individual freedom to choose.

Imputation of original sin from Adam; imputation of original Righteousness through Jesus Christ.

The doctrine of Imputation is one of the most important in Scripture because it explains our desperate need for a Savior, which is Christ the LORD. When Adam sinned, all descendants of Adam sinned as well (sin passed to all men — imputation). But, God had a perfect plan — a Savior — a second chance for every person descended from Adam to do things right — to be obedient.  Jesus Christ as Messiah is God’s answer to imputed sin. Christ in His humanity was perfectly righteous during His Incarnation, so His Righteousness is available by imputation to all humanity, who will believe in Christ (by faith).

Imputing sin also opened the door for imputing righteousness. Righteousness is what Adam lost when he chose to do his own thing. In other words, Adam began to think independently of God. Note: If a person chooses to think independently of God, that person has chosen to live life independent of God.

Satan and Adam both elected to think independently of God. Both Satan and  Adam were in perfect environment. Satan ruled in Eden, the Garden of God. Adam ruled in the Garden of Eden.

Thinking independently of God is still man’s way of thinking today. Human philosophy is anti-God, anti-Christ. Every human being since Adam has had the same choice that Adam was given in the garden. Think in obedience, or think independently of God (disobedient).

God’s Righteousness is what man must receive if man is to be saved. Only God could restore man. Only God could provide righteousness. The only righteousness acceptable to God is His own Perfect Righteousness. Therefore, God through His Son Jesus Christ would impute His own Righteousness to every man who would believe in His Son. This is the doctrine of Imputation. God imputed sin because of one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience. God imputed Righteousness because of one man’s (Christ’s) obedience.

God imputes sin to us that is actually ours as descendants of Adam.

In Romans chapter five, Paul explains that Adam’s original sin resulted in spiritual death, and sin passed to all men. Adam’s sin became our sin by imputation — the sin nature. Therefore, we are born sinners as descendants of Adam. Adam’s sin was the sin of all subsequent men. In a very real sense, each of us partook of the tree as did Adam.

It is interesting that Adam is the only man to become a sinner by sinning; all others are sinners by birth.

God Imputed sin to Christ that was not actually His.

While Christ hung on the Cross in our place as our substitute, God the Father imputed our sins to Him. Christ the sinless one died for the sinner. Isaiah 53:6, in the Old Testament expresses this very well: “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him” (imputation). Christ suffered (paid our sin debt, which is spiritual death) because Christ had no sin and no human father.

Christ lived a perfect life. Paul taught this very doctrine in II Corinthians 5:21: “He made Him who knew no sin (never committed sin) to be sin for us (imputation). Christ never disobeyed God, and therefore Christ was qualified to represent fallen man as the second Adam. God provided our second chance through His Son, the Perfect One. So our sin debt was paid to God by God’s own Son. This imputation is the heart of the Gospel — our guilt of sin was poured out on Christ — He bore our sin-penalty in our place. Jesus Christ died for YOU! If you elect not to receive Christ and become a child of God (John 1:12), you have that right (volition/choice), and God will honor your right to do so. But, the justice of God will judge you at the Great White Throne Judgment (Hebrews 9:26-27; 10:10) — NOT for your sin and sins, (Christ paid for your sin and sins, Christ took your place on the Cross so you could be declared righteous in Him), but for refusing the righteousness of Christ Himself. Jesus Christ is mankind’s only hope. There is only ONE WAY to God: (John 14:6).

God Imputes Righteousness to the believing sinner that is not actually his.

God imputes His Righteousness to the believer on the basis of the cross, conditioned only upon faith in Christ, alone. Christ took our sin, our punishment, our death, in our place. Paul actually quotes from Genesis 15:6  concerning Abraham who “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (reckoned is our word imputation). Abraham believed and God Imputed! God imputed God’s own Righteousness to Abraham. See Romans 4:1-4; 22-24. 

In closing, Paul tells us of his desire not to have a “righteousness of my own,” but rather to have “the Righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith alone” (Philippians 3:9).

In closing:  Much of this study originated from the RBT Bible Ministries book entitled: “The Integrity of God,” Chapter Two. Used with permission.

Happy Studying in Fields of Grace.

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