Friday, April 9, 2010

The Exhilaration Of Double Imputation (Part 3)

What Does a Gospel Without Double Imputation Look Like

1. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where God forgives us because we tell Him we're sorry. God is bound by His character and nature - He cannot violate His demand for justice. All of mankind must suffer the just wrath of God for eternity in hell unless . . . a substitute stands in our stead!

2. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where Jesus died to give us a second chance. A man who is unregenerated by the Holy Spirit is a man dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). A second chance is no use to a corpse. He needs the Divine intervention of resurrection power!

3. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel with a god who loves us but requires no justice. If God were unjust He would not be loving.

4. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where Jesus is an example but not a substitute. Passages such as Phillipians 2 certainly teach us that Jesus set an example how we should live. But it is His role as a penal substitute that only makes that possible. Jesus came to do something we are incapable of doing - fulfill the law without sinning. Jesus came to suffer what we cannot endure - take the punishment of God's wrath in the place of sinners. It is only possible to follow Him as your example after you have trusted Him (in repentant faith) as your penal substitute. Modern catch phrases like "live the gospel" and "you are the gospel" are ludicrous in the light of the fact that we should be proclaiming the One Who is completely unlike we are as fallen men.

5. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where conversion requires a decision but not a transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Does your salvation hinge on the prayer you pray or on the finished work of the One you are praying to?

6. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where people are victims but not guilty criminals. Therapy and self-esteem are hindrances to true repentance. It is only when we see ourselves in the true light of our wretched depravity that we can see the kindness of God demonstrated in sending Jesus to die for sinners. Sinners who need forgiveness more than social justice. Sinners who need imputed righteousness more than hedonistic happiness.

7. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where repentance is an option but not a command. "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)

8. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel that says plenty about "global warming" but is silent about "global burning". A gospel without double imputation is a gospel that frightens lost men with the ecological plight of this world but neglects to warn of their eternal plight in the world to come.

100 years ago someone spoke prophetically about today when he said:

I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.

Can you guess who said that? I will answer that question on Monday with the final installemtn in this series - What Does A Gospel With Double Imputation Look Like?

Go On To Part 4
Go Back To Part 2
Go Back To Part 1


Sarah Munn said...

Hey Cameron,

This is a little off topic but was not sure how else to ask you a question. I was wondering if you would be willing to address the contraversy over Pastor John Piper inviting Rick Warren to speak at his conference. Also why Pastor John has taken it a step further and is public defending Rick Warren. I have to say I am deeply disappointed and was wondering if you could shed some light on this?

Nick said...

I think you have a wrong view of imputation:

In my study on this topic of imputed righteousness, the Greek term “logizomai” is the English term for “reckon/impute/credit/etc,” (all terms are basically equivalently used) and when I look up that term in a popular 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.