Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Imputation - What is it? Why do I like it?

Imputation is defined as the act of imputing.  What a lame definition.  Impute means to ascribe a crime or fault to another or to attribute (wickedness or merit) to a person as transmitted by another.  That is from the modern collegiate dictionary.  I don't have Mr. Webster's good dictionary here.  Maybe one of my regular commentators will provide the definition.  Websters 1828 dictionary defines imputation as ~ the act of imputing or charging, attribution. Impute ~ to set to the account of, to attribute; to ascribe, to reckon to one what does not belong to him. (by your loving commentator)

The doctrine of imputation is critically important in understanding the work Jesus for us did on the cross.  We are sinners.  While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  God has to punish sin.  We deserve that punishment.  God allowed Jesus to take that punishment for us as a substitute.  The doctrine of imputation says that God now looks on us "as if" we had the perfection of Jesus imputed to our account, and God punished Jesus for our sins (all of them) by imputing our sins on Jesus.  Jesus became our substitute on the cross.  His imputed righteousness becomes our justification.

423 Now it was not written for his (Abraham's) sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Romans 4:23 -  5:2
Remember that every sin will be punished.  Those that don't repent and believe will be punished for their sins for eternity in Hell.  Jesus took the punishment for the sins of God's elect on the cross.


  1. His Perfection became sullied, ruined, marred by our Sin. I am extremely thankful for His Righteousness and willingness to undergo such torture and humiliation for our sins, so that we may spend eternity in Heaven with Him ~ but you are right only is we have repented & put our faith and trust in Him. Donna

  2. In my study on this topic of imputed righteousness, the Greek term “logizomai” is the English Bible term for “reckon/impute/credit/etc,” and when I look up that term in a popular Bible 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.”


    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.