What is imputation? It is the act of ascribing responsibility to someone. The Law makes individuals responsible for where there is no law there is no sin (Rom. 4:15). Children are not responsible; therefore, they are not imputable. When children kill someone, the culprits are their tutors, or society itself, which disseminates violence. A fifteen-year-old teenager received from his father a motorcycle. Going at high speed, he rode over another boy, who died. His parents are being sued, and will have to answer for their child’s crime and make restitution to the family of the victim, because the law forbids fifteen year olds to drive motor vehicles.
When there are no laws about a specific issue, there is an imputation for adults also. The city of São Paulo was teeming with street peddlers who sold cheap articles, but after the law, which prohibited this activity, the people that defied this law were arrested. Brazilians went abroad and returned with suitcases full of electronic devices and other goods. The law limited so much what one was allowed to bring that it put an end to this kind of business.
We can draw the conclusion that the imputation of a crime or sin can exist only where there is also a law. This is the teaching of the Bible. Let us read: “…for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Rom. 5:13). Who effects this imputation of sin? God does, but God did not impute sin from Adam until Moses, because there was no law, then. It is unfair to impute crime for something, which was not prohibited by law, and God is not unjust. Thus, it is established that God, the Father, did not impute sin to anyone, from Adam to Moses, though sin existed (Rom. 5:13).
Jehovah, however, imputed sin to the people who lived before the flood, and destroyed them for it.“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them’ ” (Gen. 6:5-7).
It comes to be very clear that it was not the Father who effected these destructions, for Paul explains that there was no imputation of sin where there was no law. There are plenty of cases of unjust imputation on Jehovah’s part. He imputed sin and killed Er, Judah’s first-born (Gen. 38:7). After that, he killed also Er’s younger son, named Onan, for his refusal to procreate through Er’s wife (Gen. 38:8-10). After Jehovah brought the Law, sin began to be imputed with justice and with increased violence in condemnation. That is the reason why we can read that the Law brought condemnation (Gal. 3:10).
The Father, in order to prove that He was not the one who imputed sins in the Old Testament, in the regimen of the Law, when sin was imputed with justice, reveals, in Christ, His grace towards all men, imputing sin to no one. Let us read the text: “namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor. 5:19). If God the Father does not impute sins to anyone during the regimen when sins should be imputed, this well proves that He was not the one who imputed it when there was no Law, and sins should not be imputed. This grace and this absence of imputation of sins are extensive to all men, since Adam; and so we read: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11).
Those disgraced men who were fixed under the Law and under the curse, were also covered by the grace of Christ, and thus the destroying works of the Law were nullified.
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5).
We have proven, then, that the Father has never condemned anyone before the regimen of the Law, during the regimen of the Law, and after the regimen of the Law the way Jehovah did and wants to do until now. The Father saves, solely.
“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3,4).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira