The Doctrine of Impute

Impute is a legal and financial term that means to attribute something to someone else’s account. Biblically, Adam’s sin was imputable to his descendants. As such, every descendant shares in Adam’s sin. The term has been used to describe the act of counting a person’s sin to Christ’s account, as well as the process by which he was justified by imputation. Despite its broad meaning, impute is a tricky term to master.


Impunity is a phenomenon that occurs when elected officials do things illegally and immorally. Examples of crimes where impunity exists are when politicians use escorts and spend city funds on lavish affairs. Yet, no one has ever been held accountable for this. Similarly, when members of a class or profession are protected from disciplinary action, their actions are often considered acceptable. In both Doctrine cases, impunity occurs when the offender has a high profile and weight.

The failure of states to punish perpetrators of crimes demonstrates the failure of their justice systems. Impunity is often the ultimate expression of inequality, allowing powerful individuals to undermine public institutions, distort justice, and violate human rights. It undermines the foundations of a democracy and exacerbates the problems caused by violence, inequality, and oppression. Sadly, this is the reality in many countries, and it must change.

To combat impunity, governments must take coordinated international and national actions. National efforts risk being undermined by abusers of power, and international publicity is crucial for ensuring success. International human rights groups and solidarity groups can now gather information about the perpetrators and fight for punishment or a change in government. But the question is, who can best achieve these goals? And how can this be done in a way that protects the interests of victims?

Impunity is a phenomenon that occurs when perpetrators of crimes against humanity escape prosecution. When justice is delayed, victims are deprived of their right to receive reparation and compensation. Impunity is often found in countries where there is no rule of law, corrupt regimes, or entrenched patronage systems. The judicial system is often weak and ineffective in such countries, and members of security forces are protected by special jurisdictions.

The Seattle International Foundation (SIF) has worked to end impunity in Central America by amplifying the efforts of civil society groups and driving collaboration. We are a trusted convener in Central America and work to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in the region. In the past, the foundation has been supported by donors who believe in the fight against impunity and are committed to building a stronger rule of law and democracy. And we haven’t stopped there.

The absence of justice in refugee camps often results in a traumatic experience for the survivors. This ongoing impunity creates a mental health risk for many survivors, preventing them from recovering. Forcibly separated families, for example, suffer from an incomplete mourning process. While impunity is a global problem, Latin American examples demonstrate the benefits of truth and justice. In such cases, the suffering is profound, but the victims’ family members are not able to recover until justice is done.

Counting sins to Christ as the sin-bearing substitute

The doctrine of imputation is the process of counting sins to Christ as the sin-bearer. Christ paid the penalty due humanity on account of sin by taking our place on the cross. His substitutionary death satisfied the holiness of God by bearing the punishment for our sins. In the biblical account, this process is known as substitutionary atonement. This view is rooted in Isaiah 53.

The substitution of Christ as our sin-bearing substitute is a necessary part of the gospel. Christ assumed our sins and bore the consequences of our actions. Moreover, Christ was imputed with every one of our merits. Because Christ is the sin-bearing substitute, we have the privilege of enjoying the sunlight of God’s favor. But a substitution is not a simple process.

Justification by imputation

Many in the church today believe justification by imputation is not the only means of salvation. They are propagating the doctrine of salvation in sin, which is the polar opposite of justification by faith. Rather, justification by imputation is the legal conferral of righteous status to those who are redeemed by faith in Christ alone. In other words, those who believe in Jesus become righteous before God because they were constituted as sinners in His body, yet they are not guilty of any sins.

Justification by imputation requires a change in moral character. In the case of Adam, imputation of Adam’s guilt was connected with a loss of his original righteousness. By contrast, imputation of Christ’s righteousness was associated with renewal and sanctification. This is why the doctrine of justification by imputation requires the practice of zealous preaching in order to be effective. The doctrine of justification by imputation cannot be fully explained without a clear understanding of the gospel’s implications for our daily lives.

Justification by imputation has multiple definitions in the Bible. For example, the Greek word dikaioo means “to do justice,” “to satisfy justice,” and “to bring to justice.” This is one of the many definitions of dikaioo in the 1968 Liddell Scott and Jones supplement. It also has a different meaning in Hellenistic Greek, which means “to administer justice” or “punish”.

The meaning of justification and the basis of it have historically been closely related in evangelical theology. Without imputation, justification would not be possible, because it requires a union with Christ. Without union, the doctrines would be contradictory. If we do not reject imputation, we must redefine the doctrine of justification. Let’s examine the two definitions of justification in light of this understanding. It may strike at the core of some errors in the doctrine of justification.

In Romans 5, Paul contrasts Adam with Christ. Adam’s disobedience brought condemnation, and imputation of Adam’s sin to his descendants. Justification by imputation, therefore, involves the imputation of righteousness to the people of Christ. Moreover, justification by imputation is a free gift from God. So, we do not have to pay a single penny for it.

Justification by imputation entails the transfer of God’s righteousness to a person’s legal account. As a result, the person who is credited with justification by imputation is made righteous by faith. Justification by imputation is a defining principle of soteriology. It is the keystone of the Christian faith. In fact, this doctrine has been around since the first century.

Paul argues that justification by imputation must occur apart from works. It is the positive imputation of righteousness from Christ to the believer. The apostle David was a sinner, but God did not count his sins against him. Therefore, Paul uses the phrase, ‘count David righteous,’ which translates as “justify the ungodly.’ The word count is a key concept in Christian theology.

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