Double Imputation FTW

I do love me some soteriology. This isn’t surprising, especially for a Calvinist, but I just can’t shut up about it. The way God saves sinners like me is important, obviously, but also fascinating. And my favorite bit is something theologians like to call “double imputation.”

One of the classic formulations of the Gospel makes use of the very biblical analogy of sin as debt. Basically, it goes like this: the plight of the sinner is basically a massive accrued debt due to, well, sinning. The standard is perfect personal obedience, and we don’t have that to offer. It’s a debt we owe and have no chance of paying. The penalty of failing to meet this standard is death.

And then the Lord Jesus enters the equation, dying an atoning death and changing everything. Because He was perfect, His death was not payment He owed. He endured the punishment on our behalf, exhausting the justice of God, so that we are who are united with Christ no longer carry this debt.

But wait. The standard is perfect, personal obedience, and while this debt-business explains an essential aspect of our salvation, it doesn’t explain how we GAIN the credit we need to be right with God. It’s as if we went from being in the red to having an account balance of zero. But we don’t just need to be out of debt – we need to have the credit of perfection in our lives.

Jesus’s perfect life accomplished this for us. Not only did it mean that we could have our debt canceled, our punishment justly meted out; it meant that we could be right with God.

This is double imputation. It means that Christ was credited with our wickedness and we were credited with His righteousness. It’s beautiful.


Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: