To Impute or Not To Impute

To Impute or Not To Impute

By Fred Pruitt

Someone wrote asking about the idea of imputing sin onto everyone after Adam and Eve, how that could be. So this is a clumsy reply maybe, but I think we got down to some things.

This whole idea of “imputation” is somewhat fraught with mystery. The word means, according to the Greek-English dictionary I consulted, (since I am not a language scholar in any language), “to count,” or “to put to one’s account.” So when Paul says sin is, or is not, imputed, wherever he uses it, it has that meaning.

Since your note I have read and reread the Romans 5 (mainly) passages and others that relate to the issue you brought up. That alone has edified me, just reading all those passages. But it also makes me full, and bursting at the seams, because to begin talking about this I started to look at passages above and think, well, I need to start back there, and then later would think, no, I need to start a chapter earlier. At that point I knew I had to narrow it back down to what you asked or it might be years!

The first thing I want to say is that I cannot find a verse in the Bible where it says God imputes sin on anybody. Every reference to sin that involves the word “impute,” is about God NOT imputing sin. I think I understand the confusion, i.e., why people think that. Here are some verses to consider:

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;  and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom 5:12).

For years and years I have only spoken of Adam’s and Eve’s fall in the sense that I was there, falling with them. That comes from two personal understandings for me. One, that “I” was in Adam’s loins (just as Levi was in Abraham’s loins, as the writer of Hebrews points out – Heb 7), and in that way I am heir to him.

One can only pass on what one is in bearing and parenting children. Adam and Eve were no longer “of Eden” (and Eden means “Paradise”), and had no more clarity of it after they were put out. Had they still had the clarity, (which they could not because they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the devil tree), they would not have fallen and would have been able to stay in Paradise.

Being “kicked out” of Paradise was not really God’s punishment on them for disobedience, as is mostly taught. It was simply that they were no longer of a state which made them capable of dwelling in Paradise. Paradise was still there, only it was not Paradise to them any longer. The only thing that changed was them.

They had never hidden in fear among the bushes before, because they had never known fear. In Paradise they were not exactly like how we are now. Their bodies were finer, more of the Spirit than the flesh, but still flesh so that they could commune in this world. Their bodies did not know cold nor heat. They didn’t know hunger because they were always filled. The sunlight only warmed them and made them comfortable; they did not feel its “burn.” No harmful bacteria was loose in the atmosphere that could cause them any sickness. All the animals were their friends, and did not hurt each other, either. They had no fear of the earth, whether a storm would destroy them or an earthquake destroy their Paradise. In Paradise, it is all peace.

All that was lost in a moment when Eve partook of the fruit, then offering it to Adam so that he ate also. Gone, poof! In a heartbeat everything changed, and guilt and condemnation – feelings, thoughts and emotions they had never known before – came crashing in as if a huge dam had just burst, which then overwhelmed and finally swallowed up their Edenic consciousness. Next they are hiding in the bushes, hiding from the Lord God, with Whom they had lived in personal fellowship and intimate communion all their previous days.

That is the consciousness and spiritual reality all of us since have been born into. I say I view it as if I was there, and what I really mean by that is that I am Adam and Eve. I am guilty in their guilt, partly because I am their son, but also because I sinned myself. That is the second understanding I have about their “sin” as related to “mine.” This is not sin being “imputed” to us by God. It is that we actually sinned, and thus death reigned, not because of imputed sin, but because we “did” sin.

Well, some might say, it’s a stacked deck, because we are born with a false consciousness of self passed on to us, and a fallen needy body and soul, so we can’t help ourselves but to sin. How is that fair? Well, of course we know we cannot reason God out according to what we think is “fair.” He does not go by any of our definitions of anything.

Now, what it says about the sin of Adam and us, is that Adam (and Eve) passed death onto us. The death was both the enemy’s seed planted in every one of us, and his independent self-consciousness, which is what the “knowledge of good and evil” is. The devil’s temptation to them was that they would become as wise as God, or, in other words, gods themselves – rival gods! That’s what they bit into and which brought on all the tragedy of human history, because they bit into spiritual death which disqualified them for Paradise as long as that was who they were. Outside the gates of Eden they “knew” each other (Gen 4:1), begetting their children and they passed that same death and disqualification for Paradise, Eden, onto all their offspring on down to us in 2015.

But interestingly regarding this imputation subject, Paul says, God does not impute sin to them, even though death reigns.

Here is what Paul says in Rom 5:13,14:

“For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”

Now before I get to this, let me point out one other thing. On the “is God fair?” question. Listen to what Paul says later in the same Romans letter:

“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Rom 8:19-22).

When we realize what God is after and WILL HAVE by this means, then “is this fair?” is not a question to be asked. The whole creation, everything, including heaven, is waiting for the manifestation of God’s Sons! (Physical gender is not considered.) In fact, it is waiting for an explosion, when once and for all the creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption, as the travail of a woman giving birth with all the pains and hardships, melting away and all-but forgotten at the first sight of the new born babe! This is what all creation is waiting on in this eon, this great orgasmic outpouring of Life and Light when the Sons are fully revealed!

But what does it say God first does to His creation, as the preparation for the Great Day? Paul says the creation was subject to vanity, self-consciousness, futility – a tree that cannot bear fruit – for the very reason of hope, in order for this great big giant eternal extravaganza in which we will all participate since we are the Sons who are manifest! God is the One Who put it all, from Lucifer/Satan onward, to Adam and Eve, and then all of us, into vanity, against our will, Paul seems to say. At least we did not get to vote on it! Why? Because though it may take some revelations from the Spirit for us to fully understand it, this was the perfect way for God to bring forth His Eternal Sons into full manifestation. To know joy, we must know sorrow. To know hope, we must know despair. To know love, we must know selfishness. To know life, we must know death.

That is partly what it is talking about in Hebrews, how we are exercised by the Spirit, which brings about a mature consciousness. “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb 5:14).

Interesting, isn’t it, how in the beginning Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and here in the New Testament, the writer is saying they have matured by a process of “having their senses exercised” by that very knowledge.

Here is the difference. In the Garden, they passed from Spirit of Truth united to “a purer-flesh,” out of Eden into the spirit of error united to a fallen flesh. Anything learned in that mind, the mind set on the flesh, at best can only be partial truth. It was a corrupted consciousness of “good and evil” they would have known, and the good and evil fruit on the human tree is the most steadfast thing we may say about it. A corrupted understanding and mindset regarding good and evil which is the most prevalent thing in the world. Turn on the television and watch the news.

In the Spirit, good and evil are in our seeing. Good is to see and believe only God. Evil is to see or believe in any other power than the Living God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent. Even if we are directly confronted by a power of evil, either in the spirit or some way or authority of the flesh, whatever the enemy might say or do to us is “my Father’s cup,” and it is always so that others might live. Everything is positive. Everything is about the purposes of God – those negative speakers and believers may say differently, but it cannot be any other way. There is no wayward molecule or quark, no detail not covered, and “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD..” (Is 65:25b). We see every knee bowed and every tongue confessed. “For who hath resisted His will?” (Rom 9:19b).

He even says Jesus in His humanity was exercised the same way, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Heb 5:8,9). So even the Son of Man experienced this exercising of the Spirit, in the same way we are all “taught of God.”

So to summarize the point I am making here, all of this, all of creation and all of history as we know it, is to this one end: the manifestation of the Sons of God.

Now, that is what we are all in participation together, for this is Who we are, though it is yet to be fully revealed, as it also says in Heb 2:5-9).

Now back to Romans 5:13,14 again, where I left off on imputation.

“For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”

The question I see remaining is if “sin is not imputed,” then why does “death reign?” (I know there is much more to dig into here, maybe we can come back later and discover some more stuff!)

As I said above, I have never found a scripture passage where it says God imputes, i.e., lays to the charge of someone, sin. The only record I can find in scripture regarding what God imputes, is that God does not impute sin. He was not imputing sin from the days of Adam and Eve until Moses, Paul said, even though death reigned. There is a grace place in the law that the patriarchs and prophets and some kings found, including David, and he wrote, “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord will not impute iniquity.” (Ps 32:2). And also, “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” (Ps 130:3,4).

Why is that? It is because there has never been an Old Testament God and a New Testament God. There has always only been a New Testament God. When we find the true God in the Old Testament we are always finding the God of Mercy and Grace, of Love and Longsuffering. God has never held man’s sins against him. They are nothing to Him. He has always forgiven which means he has never imputed sin toward man. Even Paul in his most glorious chapter five of 2 Corinthians says our message is, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;  and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:19). God has forgiven man since before man sinned. That is evident because there is a Lamb Slain in the midst of the Throne in Revelation, that has been the Lamb slain since the foundations, i.e., the substructure, of the earth. Before Adam sinned, there was a Lamb as it had been slain, already blotting out the trespasses against us. And it has been that way ever since, even on up to our day.

Am I saying by this that everyone is “saved” or “born again?” No, we cannot say that. Paul gave the reason in 5:13,14, when he said that even though sin was not imputed, death reigned. Now, what is this death?

First, spiritually, the death is the invader within us, the secret hidey-hole of the enemy, who walks us and talks us and has us do his lusts, which we think it is just ourselves.

But the death remains, when we do not believe the Son, who in some way is revealed in little bits here and there, both in the light and in the darkness, where men might find Him if they wish, even if they live in a place where there is no word of Christianity, God still comes to people wherever they are. When we believe, we pass out of death into life. It isn’t the sins that keep us out, it is the unbelief. We do not believe God, and thus, as John says, the “wrath of God abides on us.”

And that is the state of the unbelieving world about us right now. All are forgiven and would be welcome with open arms into the kingdom in a heartbeat. But it is the Holy Spirit Who calls, draws, and convicts them, though each of us may have a part to play with various ones. He uses the whole body. It was that way with men when the Lord was after me. People came out of the woodworks to “witness” to me. I ran into Christians here and there, strange circumstances, eerie coincidences, until finally He had me in a corner in which I could say nothing but YES YES YES! But He had been using people all over the US to interact with me, giving me bits of Jesus along the way until finally my Day came.

So I always tell people to not freeze “unbelievers” where they are in our faith. When I was into Hinduism and then Buddhism people would have said about me, “O, he’s in a cult, out of reach,” not knowing those ways were my path to Jesus. So we see people along their paths who look like they are far from God, and in our hearts and prayers let us see them closing in on Him, because the Holy Spirit sent them along our path just so that we might see them in faith and send them on their way in our hearts with faith toward God for them.

So now, just as always, it has been about believing the Lord, which the Lord “imputes” as righteousness. In other words, he “counts it to us” that we are righteousness when we live in a state of faith and belief in Him.

But let’s not denigrate that “counted” righteousness. Because it sort of sounds like honorary righteousness, but we really don’t have righteousness, since it is just “imputed,” which in our minds might make it lesser. Like getting an honorary doctorate for which we took no courses nor wrote any theses. Not the same as a real one.

So let me explain it a little better, what this “imputed” righteousness is. It is the Lord’s righteousness in us! We are right that it is not our own, and that is the sense in which it is imputed, but when the Lord imputes righteousness to us, it is He in us being righteousness. And it is most certainly real and authentic, because it is He, not we, and yet, it is we! We are righteous with the very righteousness of God, as well as holy, sanctified, etc. All the attributes that are God’s can never be mine, but at the same time in recognizing that they are His Only, He gifts them all to me as mine to use as He uses, since He and I are one.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “To Impute or Not To Impute

Thank you for your comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s