|Grace Bible Church|
Robert R. McLaughlin
Imputations, Justification and Divine Righteousness.We are now noting the key to understanding the righteousness of God which is based on you understanding the following subjects or doctrines.
1. How the Justice of God and the righteousness of God work together.
2. The doctrine of Justification.
3. The doctrine of Imputation.ROM 5:12-21 is our main passage. On one end of this Grace Pipeline (GP) is the Justice of God, the origin of all blessing...not His love. On the other end of the pipeline is +R which was imputed to the believer at the moment of salvation. Notice that the love of God is not involved in either end of the GP.
If God blessed us simply because He loved us, the whole world would be blessed, believers and unbelievers, and we would all be spoiled. However, even though He loves the world and He is not willing for any to perish...people still do perish...why? Because His justice needs to be satisfied before His love can be perfectly expressed. And so the Justice of God works in an intimate way with +R which was imputed to the believer at salvation.
Imputation means to reckon, to attribute, to ascribe, to charge to one’s account. It is used as an act of God whereby either condemnation or blessing is ascribed, attributed, reckoned, given, or imposed on the human race.
Now, as I mentioned before ROM 5:12-21 is one of the greatest, if not the greatest and clearest passage in the word of God when it comes to the subject or doctrine of imputation, where we read in ROM 5:12, Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death [that is spiritual death] came-through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned‑ [the aorist tense says that all sinned when Adam sinned].
1CO 15:21-22, For since by a man [Adam] came [spiritual] death, by a man [the humanity of TLJC] For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.
Adam made one decision and it involved the entire human race. However, don’t be too hard on Adam because the decision that Adam made would have been our decision, we would not have done it any differently. If we would have never sinned God would have let us be, but we all would have failed just like he did.
So, Adam, when he disobeyed by eating the fruit from the tree of good and evil , made a decision for the entire human race. Now each member of the human race must make a decision regarding another tree: the Cross. One man’s decision places all of us under spiritual death, but our own decision of faith in Christ provides us an eternal relationship with God and we have something better than Adam lost.
ROM 5:13, for until the Law [Mosaic Law, the 10 commandments, etc.] sin [the sin nature] was in the world; but sin [or the sin nature and all the sins that the sin nature produced] is not imputed when there is no law.
God did not and could not hold us accountable or impute or accuse us for our sins because He had not given man commandments to follow at that time. However, as this passage says but sin or the sin nature and the sins it produced was still in the world. With or without the Mosaic Law, sins have always been committed. In other words, the Mosaic Law does not restrain sin, it is a declarer or a communicator of sin.
The Mosaic law defines sin for us but it doesn’t restrain us from sin. The Law was given to reveal to us our total depravity and the fact that we could never meet or follow God’s commands. It was given to reveal our hopelessness and helplessness. Because the justice of God imputed the sin of Adam to us and giving us spiritual death, that same justice could bring us out of the pit of spiritual death by taking our personal sins and imputing them to Christ.
Under the principle of the Justice of God, Peter wrote; 1PE 3:18, For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
So the sins that were in the world from Adam were unjudged by the justice of God, and put them on the cross so that the justice of God could judge our personal sins and we would get out of eternal condemnation. This is perfect justice. And so, while personal sin existed in the human race from Adam to Moses it was never the basis for condemnation, it was Adam’s sin that set up the basis for our condemnation.
The personal sins of the human race are never imputed to the individual but all are imputed to Christ on the Cross. At the Cross personal sins-past, present, and future were imputed to Christ and then judged by the justice of God as grace provision for our salvation. It is imperative to understand that personal sin is never imputed until the Cross.
So Adam’s sin was imputed to us at birth with resultant spiritual death while our sins were imputed to Christ resulting in His spiritual death. That my friends is a tremendous blessing to us from God. And so ROM 5:14 goes on to say, Nevertheless death [that is spiritual death or separation from God] still reigned from Adam until Moses, [Or from the creation of man until Moses, when the Law or the commandments of God was given]even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
We did not sin like the first Adam, we were born sinners, he was not, he was created with perfect righteousness and he lost it. What does that mean that man had not sinned in the likeness of Adam? It means that Adam sinned even though he had a sinless nature, even though God gave him no commandments, but mankind sinned because he was born in sin.
Therefore, it is important to note the relationship and analogies between the first Adam and the Last Adam. Here are some of those principles:
1. Since Adam’s sin was imputed to the human race, the human race receives condemnation from the justice of God, namely spiritual death. This is why we are born physically alive and spiritually dead and we need to be born again, but this time born of the spirit.
JOH 3:5-6; “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water [word] and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
2. Also, this verse teaches that In spite of the absence of the divine norm, the Mosaic law which defines personal sin, personal sin was not the issue in spiritual death, the issue in our spiritual death was the imputation of Adam’s sins not ours. Spiritual death, condemnation from the justice of God, comes from the imputation of Adam’s sin, not from personal sins.
3. Such condemnation from the justice of God was based on imputed and inherent, but not personal sin.
4. Personal sin is a factor in every person in the human race, but personal sin was not the basis for our condemnation.
5. Adam’s sin is the basis for condemnation for Adam is the federal head of the human race.
Also, when it says in ROM 5:14, Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam,
6. Adam’s sin was negative volition, direct disobedience to the command of God, regarding the prohibition of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God set up a test for man in his perfection. The test was for his volition which was free. One thing man did not need in the garden was garden was to understand good and evil, the policy of Satan. We did not sin like Adam!
7. While many members of the human race do not have the duplicate, the exact sin that Adam had, we do have a similarity to Adam’s sin and the justice of God recognises that everyone does not express sin in the same way. However, it doesn’t matter what you or I think about someone’s sin, that we think that there are some sins that are more respectable than others.
The word of God says JAM 2:10, For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
ROM 1:18, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Notice that ungodliness and unrighteousness is said to be found in those who suppress or they conceal and block out the truth.
ROM 1:19-32, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four‑footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them.
For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
And then after defining all of these so-called gross sins says the self-righteous individual, God says to them in ROM 2:1, Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment [on them for what their sins are], for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
8. And so the eighth principle concerning this verse; All are just as guilty and under the penalty of sin (spiritual death) because of the imputed sin of Adam and because of the old sin nature.
9. Also this verse brings out the fact that personal sin is the result of spiritual death rather than the means of spiritual death in the human race.
Personal sin is the direct result of being born with the imputation of Adam’s sin plus the old sin nature. All personal sin comes directly from the old sin nature.
ROM 5:14, Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. The reason for this typology is the fact that Adam was created perfect from the hand of God, whereas Christ was born perfect by the grace of God. So we have only two people in all of history who were perfect at their beginning. The beginning of the first Adam was creation, whereas the last Adam was born perfect. Adam is a type of Christ from the standpoint of federal headship of the human race.
Only two men in human history, Adam and Christ, are federal heads. Adam is the federal head of mankind and Christ is the federal head from the new birth. The first Adam was created perfect and sinned, bringing condemnation to the human race. The author of sin is Adam. The last Adam was perfect and was judged for our sins on the cross, bringing salvation to the human race.
Notice that neither the first Adam nor the last Adam started with an old sin nature. Both were minus anything related to sin; both had free will. The choice of the first Adam was negative, putting the human race under sin; the choice of the last Adam was positive, putting the human race in the category of salvation. Therefore we have type and antitype. Adam is the author of spiritual death; the last Adam is the author of eternal life.
1CO 15:22, For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.
1CO 15:45, So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life‑giving spirit.
Isn’t the word of God great?
ROM 5:15 goes on to say, But the free gift [that is salvation] is not like the transgression [that is the transgression of Adam]. For if by the transgression of the one [Adam] the many died [hoi polloi = altogether, the entire, or simply all referring to every member of the human race] much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many [the human race with emphasis on the unlimited atonement].
Verse 15 now brings us to the a fortiori of capacity for blessing, hence the a fortiori for blessing in time. Under the principle of imputation we now begin to set up a contrast emphasising here the difference between the first and the last Adams, between the type and the antitype; in other words, between Adam and Christ.
The free gift means a grace gift, or a gracious gift. It refers to the salvation work of Jesus Christ on the cross being judged for our sins. In other words, a contrast is being set up between the first and the last Adam. “But not as that transgression [the original sin of Adam], so also is that gracious gift [the work of Christ on the cross].”
As noted in the previous verse Christ as the antitype to Adam’s type, is impeccable, perfect in His humanity, not a sinner. Christ did not have a sin nature, because He did not have the imputation of Adam’s sin, did not have any personal sin, in contrast to the first Adam. Like the first Adam, TLJC did not have an earthly father to pass down the genes of the old sin nature. We’re going to note this when we get to the imputation of human life to the soul as well as the imputation of Adam’s original sin to the genetically formed old sin nature.
The typology of the two Adam’s, then, can only be carried to a certain point. It cannot be carried into their persons because as persons they were quite different. Adam was unique because he was created perfect and fell. Christ was unique because He is the God-Man and remained in His humanity impeccable. So there has to be some basis for setting up type and antitype.
The answer is simple. Each one is a federal head of the human race. Adam is the federal head of the human race through physical birth, while Christ is the federal head of the human race through spiritual birth. This is why we must be born again to have an eternal relationship with the integrity of God. Here the analogy ends and the contrast begins. The first Adam brought condemnation on the entire human race, while the last Adam brings salvation to the human race.
Because the of first Adam the justice of God condemns man, but because of the last Adam the justice of God is free to provide blessing for man—beginning at salvation through imputed righteousness and justification. Therefore, while the human race is born in Adam the human race is born again in Christ.
The concept is that blessing from the justice of God, i.e. the imputation of divine righteousness and resultant justification, is potential for blessing in time that means great reward in eternity. Remember that the point of reference for the human race is the integrity of God—righteousness and justice. Righteousness demands righteousness and justice demands justice. When God works on our behalf it is because these things have been fulfilled. Justice executes what righteousness demands. Therefore our point of contact is always the justice of God. We are never going to be given anything from God which compromises His character, but we are going to be given wonderful things which glorify His person.
Everything depends upon our potential, and our potential depends upon the doctrinal content of our soul. As a result the highway for blessing is open. From justice to righteousness is the highway through which all of these blessings come to us. All blessing from God originates with divine justice and terminates with the divine righteousness that was imputed. But always remember, God will never give us anything unless we have the capacity, and therefore capacity becomes a big issue.
If God provided the greater in justification it follows a fortiori that He will provide the less in temporal blessing from the justice of God. A fortiori is a system of logic which comes from Latin phrase meaning “with stronger reason.” For example, if I was willing to give you as a gift one million dollars, it follows a fortiori that I would give you one hundred dollars as a gift.
Now, A fortiori is a system of logic using comparison and Paul is using it here when he says.... in ROM 5:15, For if by the transgression of the one [Adam] the many died [the human race] much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
Furthermore, the provision of temporal blessing glorifies God, and for any born again believer to have any of the blessings of life in the devil’s world it is glorifying to God. The phrase “much more” means that God provides more in grace than man had in innocence before the fall. God provides more in the imputation of divine righteousness than He did in the garden where no righteousness had been imputed. If God did the most for us when we were spiritually dead in Adam He can only do much more than the most for us now that we possess divine righteousness and resultant justification.
That is because when the most was done for us we were related to the wrong man—Adam. But now we are related to the right man—Jesus Christ. Look at the a fortiori in ROM 5:8-9, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
If God did the most for us when we were spiritually dead in Adam He can only do much more than the most for us now that we possess divine righteousness and resultant justification. The same thing is said and is true in ROM 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
The believer in Christ through salvation adjustment to the justice of God has been placed in a greater position than that which was lost by Adam in the garden. God provides more in grace adjustment to the justice of God than man ever possessed originally in the garden. The gift of grace, Jesus Christ, provides the a fortiorilink. The justice of God did the most in judging our sins when Christ was carrying them on the Cross.
If the justice of God did the greater at the cross it follows a fortiori that the justice of God can do the less—temporal and eternal blessing for the mature believer. The sin of the first Adam results in the condemnation of the human race but now the grace gift of God provides more for the many than was lost originally. Hence, the believer is not restored to the status of Adam before the fall, he is restored to something far greater than Adam ever had.
This constitutes a double a fortiori. If God can do the greater at salvation He can do the less after salvation. If God can do less after salvation He can do greater than less again and again and again for all of eternity.