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Featured Double Imputation?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Tree of Life, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Reformed Catholic, Puritan

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    Sometimes Justification is thought and taught in terms of "double imputation". I have even usually thought this way until this question came to mind. Double imputation is the idea that Jesus' righteousness is imputed to believers (they get his righteous record credited to their account) and believers righteousness is imputed to Jesus (he gets the sin of sinners credited to his account and pays for it). On the whole, I think this is fine. But I wonder if it's imprecise.

    The Westminster Confession of Faith puts it like this:

    That in justification, God has "...[imputed] the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them..." (WCF 11.1).

    That is to say, that the righteousness of Jesus and the death of Jesus has been imputed to believers. So, in the eyes of God, believers have in their account:
    1. A perfectly righteous record. This merits for them heaven.
    2. A death that atones for their sin.
    But according to this understanding it would appear that the sins of believers are not imputed to Christ.

    What's the deal?
     
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  2. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

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    Psalm 32.1-2: is sometimes cited as a basis for the double aspects of imputation:

    "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

    Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."
     
  3. disciple1

    disciple1 Newbie

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    1 John chapter 2 verse 2
    He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

    Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, now you need to love as he loved.
     
  4. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I thought it was "active and passive righteousness"?

    The difference between Lutherans and Reformed is that Reformed at times do seem to suggest that human beings could merit heaven by fulfilling the law, if they could only do so perfectly.

    This theology is very much influenced by the Greco-Roman worldview, especially their philosophical notions of justice. Justice as existing as a pure abstraction, apart from any concrete act, would be difficult for Jews to conceptualize.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  5. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Reformed Catholic, Puritan

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    I'm not sure you're communicating with what I'm asking.
     
  6. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Reformed Catholic, Puritan

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    This is a term used to refer to the righteousness of Christ. He was obedient to God's revealed will (active righteousness) and he submitted to God's divine plan (passive righteousness) ala the cross.

    Yes. We believe that according to the Covenant, in theory a person could merit eternal life by perfect obedience. But mankind is sinful and is totally unable to attain life by that covenant and so he needs Jesus Christ. Jesus' righteousness given to us (and his satisfaction given to us) is what justifies us.

    We think it's what the Scriptures of the OT and NT teach.
     
  7. disciple1

    disciple1 Newbie

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    I'm sorry I thought you were saying Jesus died for us we can do anything we want and are considered righteous, which is not true.

    What were you saying.
     
  8. iwbswiaihl

    iwbswiaihl Newbie

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    Our sins I do not think were imputed to Him, but removed in Him for the believers. That is where the term vicarious comes in, taking the place of another person or thing; acting or serving as a substitute. Here is the definition someone gives; Vicarious atonement is the idea that Jesus Christ took the place of mankind, suffering the penalty for sin. Atonement is term meaning “reconciliation” or “amends.” Vicarious means “done in place of or instead of someone else.” Vicarious atonement is also referred to as “substitutionary atonement”. Here is what Peter wrote in 1 Pet 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring use to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.
    The OT sacrifices were a covering or passing over of the sin debt, because the blood of life was not the removal of their sin debt but a passing over until the true Lamb of God laid down His life at Calvary. That is why the High Priest offered that sacrifice yearly, but Hebrews 10 in verse 14 say this: For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
     
  9. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

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    But neither of those would be imputed righteousness anyway, would they? And one, the passive, might simply be one's internal disposition (state of the heart) while the active would be the expression of that disposition?
     
  10. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Passive righteousness in Reformed thought is Jesus submitting to death to pay for the sins of the elect. Active righteousness is Jesus good works and sinlessness.
     
  11. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That is sort of what Lutheran and Reformed theology is about. Christ imputes his own status as a "good guy" to us in justification , and nothing can change that if we have faith in him. Don't like it, take it up with the apostle Paul, because that is what he taught.
     
  12. disciple1

    disciple1 Newbie

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    Quote it, this is what jesus taught.
    Matthew chapter 25 verses 31-46
    When the Son of Man comes" in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. he will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and got visit you? The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.They also will answer, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you? He will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
     
  13. Oldmantook

    Oldmantook Well-Known Member

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    I believe your premise to be incorrect as the righteousness of Christ is not imputed to believers based on Christ's atonement. The applicable verses would be Rom 4:5-8. It is thought that this passage teaches imputation of righteousness based on belief and faith (v.5). However v.6 provides more context as it references David and quotes from Psalm 32:1-2. Note that verses 3-6 in Psalm 32 provide the necessary context/details of what it means to have genuine belief and faith. In these 3 verses David states that when he kept silent about his sin he suffered (vs.3,4). However, in v.5 he exclaims that when he finally acknowledged and confessed his sin, God forgave him. Therefore Jesus' righteousness is credited to us when we live obediently and regularly confess our sins to Him. The idea that Christ's righteousness is imputed to us via his death is absent from the context of these verses. Believers are righteous as long as they continue to abide in the vine. "Let no one deceive you. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous" (1 John 3:7). The Apostle John did not teach imputed righteousness via judicial or positional righteousness either as this verse demonstrates the opposite in that he taught practical righteousness.
     
  14. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yeah, that's the difference, we don't really have a covenant theology, nor do we emphasize the Law as a moral guide to the same degree, perhaps partly as a result, since we don't think of salvation in quite as starkly juridical terms. I think Lutheranism is somewhat more metaphysical. But we are both western Christian and so we tend to think in similar terms overall.
     
  15. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That parable is not so straightforward. It's more an encouragement to do good works, to look for Jesus in the downtrodden, rather than a warning to earn your way into heaven.
     
  16. disciple1

    disciple1 Newbie

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    That's not a parable.

    Quote Paul or he didn't say it, a lot of people say the bible says something, if they don't quote it, it's not there.
     
  17. JIMINZ

    JIMINZ Well-Known Member

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    Not Imputed at all

    Take a close look at the verse, it says (MADE TO BE), not (ATTRIBUTED WITH).

    The word IMPUTE- -ED only relates to something SAID about a person,

    2Co. 5:21
    For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

    Jesus was MADE TO BE SIN FOR US.
    Not just that it was said our sin was IMPUTED (ATTRIBUTED) to Him.

    We are MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM.
    Not just that we are said to be the Righteousness of God THROUGH Him.

    There is a big difference between what someone only says about you, Imputed with, and what you actually are (Made to Become).

    Jesus BECAME SIN, while We BECAME New Creatures, Righteous.

    While one is something spoken, the other is a reality.

    Rom 8:3,4
    3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
    4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
     
  18. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's there implicitly, even if it is not explicitly. Paul in Romans is talking about a change of status for gentiles who have faith in Jesus and how individuals come to be part of the People of God. That's a change in status, it's not earning your way in through your own efforts, it is a gift, or more properly a favor or a grace, as a result of God's election.
     
  19. disciple1

    disciple1 Newbie

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    James chapter 2 verse 14
    What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?
    verse 15
    Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.
    verse 16
    If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?
    verse 17
    In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
    verse 18
    But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
    I think your mistaken because you don't know the bible.
     
  20. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    There are a couple of different questions:
    * Did Westminster and others teach double imputation?
    * Is it Scriptural?

    Imputation in this context means that something is attributed to someone legally that they aren’t actually guilty (or innocent) of.

    Westminster clearly teaches half of the double imputation: that Christ’s righteousness is credited to us. The confessions included in the PCUSA book of confessions (which includes the major ones) also use the term impute only for Christ’s righteousness being imputed to us.

    So is the other half also held? I think so, though it’s odd that the terminology isn’t used. The general Reformed view of the atonement is penal satisfaction, that Christ was punished for our sin. E.g. the 2nd Helvetic confession says “For Christ took upon himself and bore the sins of the world, and satisfied divine justice.” I think that’s in effect imputation of our sin to him. R C Sproul explicitly says that double imputation is a key Reformed doctrine.

    The second question: is it Scriptural? I don’t think so. Paul definitely says that God imputes righteousness to us. But he never actually says that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. I think the Reformed tradition (I can’t speak for Luther here) understood righteous in this context is blamelessness, or even moral perfection. The idea is that God is so righteousness that we can’t stand before him if we are sinners. We have to be morally perfect. Since we can’t be on our own, they understand Paul’s concept that righteousness is imputed to us as meaning that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. Obviously Christ is the only one who is sinless.

    The problem is that righteousness doesn’t mean moral perfection. It means a person who is approved by God. A number of people in the OT and NT are called righteous, and it’s unlikely that any of them was perfect. Instead, a righteous person accepts God’s standards, shows it in his life, and repents when they sin. So Paul simply meant that someone who is has faith (or is faithful — another possible meaning the term) is approved by God in that sense.

    How about the other side? Are our sins imputed to Christ? Scripture definitely says that Christ died for us. But exactly how that works (called the atonement) is less clear. There have been many different concepts throughout Church history. I don’t think penal substitution is Scriptural. That’s another topic, which has been discussed many times, and I can give you links if you want them. So I’m not so convinced by this imputation either.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
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