Imputed Injustice – The Judicial Importance of Consent

Imputed Injustice

Imputed Injustice – Calvin Against the Calvinists

It is my empirically justified belief that modern Protestant Evangelicalism, and particularly its seminarian elite, have little comprehension of the nature and principles of Justice, including that of due process. In this, the seminarians have seriously failed to uphold the triumvirate of concerns that Christ Jesus deemed primary: judgment/justice, faith, and compassion (Matt 23:23). And if one does not comprehend the nature and principles of Justice, one cannot comprehend the Justice in the Justification in the Atonement.

A, if not THE primary argument deployed to validate the notion of humanity’s collective guilt in Adams’s sin is proof by blackmail. If one repudiates the imputation of Adam’s sin and guilt upon all, neither can one subscribe to the imputation of Christ Jesus’s work on behalf of those who put their faith in Him. We would thereby still be hopelessly dead in our sins.

It would prove away the atonement of Christ. If it is never possible for one person to be punished for the sins of another, then we have no Savior. Jesus was punished for our sins. That is the very essence of the gospel. Not only was Jesus punished for our sins, but his righteousness is the meritorious basis for our justification. We are justified by an alien righteousness, a righteousness that is not our own. If we press Ezekiel’s statement to the absolute limit when we read, “The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself,” then we are left as sinners who must justify themselves. That puts us all in deep weeds.[1]

Even one, with whom I have the greatest respect, and consider the best of current preachers in the United States, but is beholden to this Reformed nostrum which even John Calvin repudiated, argues likewise:

If it is wrong or unjust for God to condemn the whole human race through the fall of the one man Adam, then it is just as wrong for God to save His people (i.e. the redeemed) through the obedience of the one man Jesus Christ. If God cannot rightly impute Adam’s sin to mankind, then He cannot rightly impute mankind’s sin to Christ to enable Him to die for us, or impute Christ’s righteousness to those who believe. In that case, all men would stand entirely on their own, without a savior, and therefore all would be damned.[2]

“Et tu, Washer,” thought I as my heart sunk in despair and disgust, which usually takes about a week to recover.

It is the coercive ascribing of collective guilt of Adam’s sin upon all humanity, which makes the Augustinian and Reformed hypotheses unjust. However, it is in the unforced voluntary consent of Christ Jesus to sacrifice Himself on behalf of His siblings, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, [scorning] the shame” (Hebrews 12:2), which makes the fundamental and critical difference, and by which this imputation satisfies and subdues the exact and exacting criteria of divine and universal justice.

I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. (John 10:17b–18a)

Contrary to aspersions by opponents of penal substitution and debt repayment understandings of the Atonement, both models of which are valid; the Father did not coercively visit the sins and guilt of humanity, or an Elected portion thereof, upon Christ. Rather, like a third party in a debt settlement, Christ volunteered to pay all debts outstanding of those He came to redeem; that is of those who put their faith in Him and His amnesty program. And because of the supremacy of the eternal merits of His Person over those He came to cover, their shortcomings (sins) were fully paid by His Lifeblood and Life. What cares the creditor how the debt is paid, so long as he/she receives back their principal in full?

Herein, we observe this strange lack of comprehension and acknowledgement of the significance of that voluntary consent element in Christ’s sacrifice by Reformed proponents. No one person, not even the Father, so says the Text (John 10:17b–18a), coerced or compelled Christ, the Son, to die. It is the voluntary gift of charitable grace by Christ, which makes the imputed righteousness of Christ just.

 

 

[1] R.C. Sproul, “Adam's Fall and Mine,” in Chosen by God, Wheaton, Il:Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1994 (1986), (Electronic Version), Accessed http://www.the-highway.com/fall_Sproul.html on June 15, 2014.

[2] Paul David Washer, The Truth About Man, Second Edition, Hannibal, MO: Granted Ministries Press, 2009 (2007), p. 35.
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