The Three Great Imputations
By Pastor Tony Butler (365-5511)
The word “impute” means to attribute from one thing to another. For instance, when a sheriff deputizes a citizen, he imputes to the citizen authority. The civilian did not have it until it was imputed to him.
The Bible mentions three imputations that impact everyone’s lives. Two of the three imputations have already happened, and are universal. There is no word to be said, nor action taken to change their impact. However, the third imputation happens on an individual basis, and is solely determined by the choice of that individual.
As we look at the three imputations, let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart as to where you stand in light of these truths.
Imputation #1: Adam’s Sin – “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12.
The first imputation is the sin of Adam that was passed on to humanity. The result of that imputation put a death sentence on every person in the world. We are sinful today, because Adam’s sin was imputed to all mankind, and the wages of sin is death(Romans 6:23). All men are condemned already, because of their sin (John 3:18), and only one thing can save them from judgment in the lake of everlasting fire.
Imputation #2: Christ’s Sacrifice – “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.” (Romans 5:18) “For God made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us though He did no sin…” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The second imputation is the sin of the world that was imputed to Christ on the cross of Calvary. Adam’s sin was passed to all men, but God passed all men’s sins on to Christ through the cross. Jesus bore our sins on His Own Body as a sin sacrifice that by the shedding of His Blood we might be forgiven. This is what is meant when we say that Jesus died on the cross for the world. All of us are sinners, and all of our sins were placed on Jesus as He took our judgment upon Himself, the Just for the unjust. Although Jesus was delivered up to the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, though He, Himself, never knew sin, He was raised from the dead for our justification (the opportunity to be declared righteous) (Romans 4:25).
Imputation #3: Our Righteousness – “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, Who became for us Wisdom from God, and Righteousness and Sanctification, and Redemption.” (I Corinthians 1:30) “For God made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Adam’s sin was imputed to all men, all men’s sins were imputed to Christ on the cross. The first Imputation brings death. The second Imputation brings opportunity. The third Imputation imparts righteousness and life. This last Imputation is available for all, but must be individually received through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Alone. For example, a story is told about a man who was condemned to death in the electric chair. He was to die at midnight. A pardon had been secured for him, but the person bearing the pardon did not arrive at the prison until ten after twelve. Though the pardon was good and was offered, it had no force to save the condemned man’s life, because it was never received. In the same way, Christ offers a pardon to all people. The opportunity for forgiveness is there, but it must be received. “He came unto His Own, and His Own did not receive Him. As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His Name.” (John. 1:11, 12).
This imputed righteousness, which is our pardon, can only be received individually through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. No amount of good works can produce a pardon that secures for us eternal life. “For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace, but as debt. To him who does not work, but believes on Him (Jesus) Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3-5) “Now it was not written for his (Abraham’s) sake, alone, that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him, Who raised up Jesus our Lord, from the dead, Who was delivered up because of our offenses (sins), and was raised for our justification (to be declared righteous).” (Romans 4:23-25) “Therefore, having been justified (declared righteous) through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1).
Dear reader, the first two Imputations have already taken place, and you are powerless to change their impact. Remember the third Imputation is not automatic. Its life and pardon must be received personally through faith, alone, trusting in the One Who died for your sins on that cross, that you might be forgiven and made the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. Won’t you receive His pardon today? He loves you, and wants you to be His very own child.