Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Looking at the meaning of this term, I found that there are actually three imputations mentioned in the Bible. The word "imputation" itself means to "reckon over unto one's account" (Unger's Bible Dictionary pg 520). With this in mind, the first imputation occurs in Adam's sin in the garden. His sin was imputed or reckoned over to our account. As the saying goes, "in Adam's fall, we sinned all." Though we did not take a bite out of that apple, we were all infected from that moment on with a sin nature. Romans 5:12 reads: "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned..." Perhaps the best way I can think of this is to take a pure glass of spring water. If we put one drop of arsenic in this water, it all becomes polluted. There is no part of the water that is not affected. In the same manner, none of us has escaped the sin nature in our lives. Isaiah the prophet said: "We have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away"(Isaiah 64:6). No one, then, has escaped the sin nature. We are like dead men/women.
If this was the end of the news for us, it would be depressing. But God sent His Son to have our sin imputed to Him. Jesus was the perfect lamb of God. He would be the perfect sacrifice that would carry our sin to the cross. Paul's second letter to the church at Corinth says this: "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Now comes the great exchange.
God laid our sins upon His Son and gave to us the righteousness of Christ. This is the meaning of double imputation. This Gospel is a work of God. He is the One who brings conversion. It is not a work of man at all. Furthermore, God calls those whom He has chosen before the foundation of the world to be His own. When we hear that call, God takes the sin we carry and imputes to us the righteousness of Christ. We are a new creation in Christ.
In John MacArthur's Commentary of 2 Corinthians 5:21, he states it plainly: "Christ was not a sinner, but was treated as if He were, so believers who have not yet been made righteous are treated as if they are righteous. Christ bore their sins so that they might bear His righteousness. God treated Him as if He committed believer's sins and treats believers as if they did only the righteous deeds of the sinless Son of God."
This is what double imputation means to us. As we contemplate what Jesus did for us this week, my prayer is that this will sink into our thought process. What greater friend could we have than Jesus? He took our filthy rags and replaced them with robes of righteousness. And we sometimes have the nerve to say, "Life isn't fair?" With so great a salvation, we need to fall down and worship our Lord with thanksgiving on our lips. May we begin to live like the righteousness of Christ that God may receive the glory each day for what He has accomplished for us. Selah!