Imputation

1753 - 1827To impute is to charge a thing upon a person whether guilty or not, as the circumstances hereafter are proved, or not. Thus Shimei intreated David, that he would not “impute iniquity to him” for some former transaction.     (2 Samuel 19:19)

And the apostle Paul (Romans 4:8) declares them blessed to whom the Lord “will not impute sin.” This is the general sense of imputation.

But in the case of the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ to his people, and their sins imputed to him; the sense of imputation goes farther, and ascribes to Christ, and to the sinner, that which each hath not, but by the very act of imputing it to them. Hence the apostle Paul explains it in the clearest manner in two Scriptures: the first, in                   2 Corinthians 5:21, where speaking of this imputation of our sins to Christ, and his righteousness to us, he refers it into the sovereignty and good pleasure of God the Father.

For speaking of Christ, it is used, “God hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Here the doctrine of imputation is most plainly and fully stated.

Christ is the imputed sinner, or rather sin itself in the total abstract, and in the very moment when he knew no sin.

And the sinner is said to be righteous; yea, the righteousness of God in Christ; when in the same time he hath not a single portion of righteousness in himself, or in any of his doings. This is, therefore, to impute Christ’s righteousness to his people, and their sins to him. The other Scripture that explains the doctrine is but in part, namely, respecting the imputation of sin.

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”    (Galatians 3:13)

Here Christ stands with all the curse of a broken law charged upon him, as the sinner’s Surety; yea, as the curse itself. And consequently, as in the doing of this, he takes it from his people; they are redeemed from it. The original debtor, and the Surety, who pays for that debtor, cannot both have the debt at the same time charged, upon them. This, therefore, is the blessed doctrine of imputation. Our sins are imputed to Christ. His righteousness is imputed to us. And this by the authority and appointment of JEHOVAH; for without this authority and appointment of JEHOVAH, the transfer could not have taken place.

Robert Hawker  (1753 – 1827)

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About Greg Coleman

I am a Particular Baptist who affirms the absolute sovereignty of the triune Godhead in all things. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in the God-man Jesus Christ. He is the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Disposer and Judge of all that ever was, is now or ever shall be. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. He was made to be sin for his people and saved them from their sins by his substitutionary, sacrificial death on the cross thereby satisfying the justice and wrath of God against them. The sufficiency of his death to the satisfaction of God’s justice is proven by his physical resurrection from the dead and enthronement in glory at the right hand of the Father. Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
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3 Responses to Imputation

  1. Nick says:

    In my study on this topic of imputed righteousness, the Greek term “logizomai” is the English term for “reckon/impute/credit/etc,” (all terms are basically equivalently used) and when I look up that term in a popular lexicon here is what it is defined as:

    —————-

    QUOTE: “This word deals with reality. If I “logizomai” or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.”

    LINK: http://tinyurl.com/r92dch

    —————-

    The lexicon states this term first and foremost refers to the actual status of something. So if Abraham’s faith is “logizomai as righteousness,” it must be an actually righteous act of faith, otherwise (as the Lexicon says) “I am deceiving myself.” This seems to rule out any notion of an alien righteousness, and instead points to a local/inherent righteousness.

    The Lexicon gives other examples where “logizomai” appears, here are some examples:

    ——————-

    Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude [logizomai] that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

    Rom 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted [logizomai] as a gift but as his due.

    Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon [logizomai] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Rom 8:18 For I reckon [logizomai] that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

    ——————-

    Notice in these examples that “logizomai” means to consider the actual truth of an object. In 3:28 Paul ‘reckons’ faith saves while the Law does not, this is a fact, the Law never saves. In 4:4 the worker’s wages are ‘reckoned’ as a debt because the boss is in debt to the worker, not giving a gift to him. In 6:11 the Christian is ‘reckoned’ dead to sin because he is in fact dead to sin. In 8:18 Paul ‘reckons’ the present sufferings as having no comparison to Heavenly glory, and that is true because nothing compares to Heavenly glory.

    To use logizomai in the “alien status” way would mean in: (1) 3:28 faith doesn’t really save apart from works, but we are going to go ahead and say it does; (2) 4:4 the boss gives payment to the worker as a gift rather than obligation/debt; (3) 6:11 that we are not really dead to sin but are going to say we are; (4) 8:18 the present sufferings are comparable to Heaven’s glory.

    This cannot be right.

    So when the text plainly says “faith is logizomai as righteousness,” I must read that as ‘faith is reckoned as a truly righteous act’, and that is precisely how Paul explains that phrase in 4:18-22. That despite the doubts that could be raised in Abraham’s heart, his faith grew strong and convinced and “that is why his faith was credited as righteousness” (v4:22). This is also confirmed by noting the only other time “credited as righteousness” appears in Scripture, Psalm 106:30-31, where Phinehas’ righteous action was reckoned as such. This is confirmed even more when one compares another similar passage, Hebrews 11:4, where by faith Abel was commended as righteous.

  2. Greg Coleman says:

    Nick,

    Infused righteousness (as opposed to imputation) is the position of Roman Catholics. It is merit based theology. It is another gospel. It is a false gospel.

    I think you should consult multiple respected lexicons and scholars as your source for such an important argument that you attempt to make. I recommend Strong’s (particularly Mickelson’s Enhanced Version),The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament and Thayer’s Greek Definitions.

    I would also suggest that you utilize the entire substance of the entry to develop your theology.

    The following is from Thayer’s. It looks like what you quoted is from the third entry. Either you got incomplete information from the Web or chose to edit it heavily to fit your preconceived notions regarding works salvation:

    – Original: λογίζομαι
    – Transliteration: Logizomai
    – Phonetic: log-id’-zom-ahee
    – Definition:
    1. to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over
    a. to take into account, to make an account of
    1. metaph. to pass to one’s account, to impute
    2. a thing is reckoned as or to be something, i.e. as availing for or equivalent something,as having the like force and weight
    b. to number among, reckon with
    c. to reckon or account

    2. to reckon inward, count up or weigh the reasons, to deliberate

    3. by reckoning up all the reasons, to gather or infer
    a. to consider, take into account, weigh, meditate on
    b. to suppose, deem, judge
    c. to determine, purpose, decide This word deals with reality. If I “logizomai” or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.

    The following is for the word group from the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament:

    logismós calculation, reasoning

    A. The Word Group Outside the NT.

    1. logízomai. In secular Greek this word is used a. commercially for “to reckon,” “to charge,” and b. more generally for “to deliberate,” “to conclude.” In the LXX it takes on the nuance a. of an emotional and even volitional act, e.g., devising, or counting in the subjective sense (see TDNT, IV, 284–85 for details). It also b. enters the religious sphere for God’s purposing of evil against a sinful people, or for the purposing of evil against the Lord (cf. Jer. 18:8; Nah. 1:9, 11). Rather different is the reckoning of faith as righteousness in Gen. 15:6, the imputing of sin in Ps. 32:2, and cultic crediting in Lev. 7:18 and 17:4. In cultic imputing the basis is God’s will but there is also something of the commercial sense of charging.

    2. logismós. The noun has the same basic senses as the verb but finds special applications in mathematics and logic. It thus comes to denote the supreme human function, with an ethical orientation in Stoicism. It is reason in its concrete form in the consciousness and as worked out in action. The law is its basis in 4 Maccabees. In the LXX the word also has the common sense of “plan,” good when it is God’s plan to save, but usually bad (Ezek. 38:10). In Wisdom it is self-vaunting reason apart from God (1:3).

    B. The Word Group in the NT.

    Paul uses logízesthai in all its nuances, though bending it to his own purposes, logismós occurs only twice in Paul. In the rest of the NT logízesthai is rare and weak, and logismós is never used at all.

    1. Thought Taken Captive to Christ. Paul expresses the popular philosophical idea of thought in his use of logismós. In Rom. 2:15, where he stands on common ground with the diatribe, he has logismós in a positive sense for the thoughts which, on the basis of moral law, either accuse or excuse. Its function, however, is only judicial. In 2 Cor. 10:4, where the logízesthai of v. 2 is hostile to Paul and reflects an overestimation of reason, the situation is different. The logismoí are the thoughts of arrogant reason which can be subdued, not by reason’s own weapons, but only by God’s power as this is set forth at the cross (cf. Luke 22:37 quoting Isa. 53:12). The logismoí are not destroyed but reoriented to divine reality. Hence logízesthai can become a term for the judgment of faith in Rom. 3:28; Phil. 3:13. This is an obedient logízesthai in which we judge on the basis of the justifying efficacy of Christ’s work (Rom. 3:28) or consider that present suffering is not to be compared with future glory (8:18). It is also unconditionally valid; there can be no objection when Paul thinks he is not inferior as an apostle (2 Cor. 11:5), or when he considers that he has not yet achieved perfection (Phil. 3:13), or when he calls us to consider that we are dead to sin and should act accordingly (Rom. 6:11), or even when the weak think things to be unclean (14:14).

    2. logízesthai in the Apostle’s Ministry. In the estimation of his work in 2 Cor. 3:5 Paul uses logízesthai in a broader sense than that of thought. As in 1 Cor. 13:11 and 2 Cor. 10:2, judgment involves commitment to action.

    3. logízesthai in the Community’s Life. In Phil. 4:8 Paul is not asking for mere reflection but for the practical consideration that leads to action. The same applies in 1 Cor. 13:5, where what is at issue in this very un-Greek combination is not reflecting on a principle but living according to the fact of salvation (Phil. 2:5ff.). When Christ is normative, logízesthai involves the power to live. It is not arbitrarily or aimlessly impelled to action, but unfolds in the community and comes to fulfilment in the edification of the community (1 Cor. 12 and 14).

    4. logízesthai as God’s Saving Act.

    a. God imputes faith (cf. Jms. 2:23; Rom. 4:3ff.; Gal. 3:6). This imputing sets up a relation between salvation and faith and raises the question of merit. In Gen. 15:6 God reckons faith as righteousness because he is pleased to do so and not because it has intrinsic worth. Yet a tendency develops, especially among the rabbis, to remove the judgment from God’s personal will and turn it into general recognition. The Greek term logízesthai fits in with this trend, for while it embraces the idea of imputation, it also carries with it the idea of recognition, which implies that faith is also a merit. Jms. 2:23 breaks with this trend by stressing, not the meritoriousness of faith, but its commitment to action. Paul makes an even more decisive break in Rom. 4:3ff., where he is plainly playing off the Hebraic logízesthai of the LXX against the Greek use, as may be seen by his contrasting of gift and debt (v. 4). The presupposition here is that the very question why faith should be reckoned for righteousness is a false one unless an answer is sought in the grace of the cross. The point of faith is that in it believers subject themselves to divine judgment and mercy and are ready to live by divine grace. On the basis of the cross righteousness is now the true reality, so that this imputation is no fiction. The reality of God’s assessment thus serves as a norm of action. Believers become new creatures by God’s logízesthai, which carries with it the imparting of the Spirit (Gal. 3:2ff.). Paul, then, restores Gen. 15:6 to its true sense, corrects the trend supported by the Greek sense of logízesthai, and presents dikaioún and logízesthai as complementary terms whereby God the Judge is also God the Father.

    b. The reverse side of the imputing of faith is the nonimputing of sin (Rom. 4:7-8; 2 Cor. 5:19; cf. Ps. 32:2). The intrusion of grace into divine justice offends the Greeks linguistically and the Jews materially. The cross is the point of union, for if God does not impute sin to us, it is because Christ has been made sin for us. logízesthai is here again a judgment of grace, but it is the only connecting point between Gen. 15:6 and Ps. 32:2, for the imputing of faith obviously embraces much more than the nonimputing of sin. Justin Dialogue 141.2-3 rather misses the point when he suggests that repentance is the ground of nonimputation (cf. faith in 1 Clem. 10.6).

    H. W. HEIDLAND, IV, 284–92

    Soli Deo Gloria!

    Greg Coleman

    • Nick says:

      Hello Greg,

      Thank you for that long quote from TDNT. I think it actually indirectly confirms what my other research found. The general meaning of logizomai is confirmed by the TDNT, yet when it comes to the issue of “faith reckoned as righteousness” it says the general meaning suddenly no longer applies, and that it now “breaks” with general trend. This is odd because it seems to be more begging the question than anything.

      I’m not sure why you consider “merit” to be a negative thing, even a false gospel, but I’ve heard people give some reasons why and they don’t make sense to me. If Adam was in the garden and had to merit Heaven by his own human abilities, how is this any different from the Pelagian view that man never needed grace even BEFORE the fall? Further, how was Jesus, being a Divine Person, living by the Spirit, and “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14b), supposed to model an Adam who was destitute of the Spirit and grace and truth? Christologically speaking, nothing Jesus did was a purely human action. I’m not sure if you subscribe to that kind of “merit,” but it doesn’t make sense logically or Biblically to me. St Augustine’s teachings led the anti-pelagian Council of Orange, which taught that merit by cooperating with grace was the essence of the Gospel, for example it says:

      According to the catholic faith we also believe that after grace has been received through baptism, all baptized persons have the ability and responsibility, if they desire to labor faithfully, to perform with the aid and cooperation of Christ what is of essential importance in regard to the salvation of their soul. We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.

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