Imputation of Adams Sin

Discussion in 'OT Prophets' started by RobertPGH1981, Apr 17, 2019.

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  1. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    Hello All,

    I heard recently that the idea of headship and imputation of Adams guilt is a violation of what the LORD stated in Ezekiel 18:20,

    "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself."

    Has anybody heard of this before? How did you respond?
     
  2. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Ezekiel is not speaking about imputation. If Ezekiel had said, "The son shall not suffer for the imputation of the iniquity of his father," then we would have a problem.

    But the clear context of chapter 18 is about how blameworthy a good (not perfect) son is for the wickedness of his evil father.
     
  3. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Many a man who is not pleased to be condemned in Adam by having the first man's sin imputed to each of his heirs, are nonetheless perfectly pleased to have "died with Christ," Rom.6:8, having his sins imputed to the Savior; cf. Col.2:20; 3:3; Gal.2:20; and also having Christ's righteous imputed to him, Php.3:9.

    So, either the matter of imputation is generally unacceptable, and we're all on our own to obey God perfectly or go to hell; or it's a biblical concept, and having it be as true on the negative side as the positive is a question of, "What does the Bible teach?"

    In any case, Ezk.18:20 doesn't address imputation; but deals with resentment of one generation for having to deal with the consequences of the sins of an earlier one. In addition to God's reply here which focuses on the fact that each individual will stand before God to account for himself, there's also the threat of the 2nd Commandment that tells men they may expect some sins will harm more than just the initial perpetrators.
     
  4. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    I am probably not clear in what I was asking above so let me clarify.

    As some of you already pointed out the bible speaks to imputation in other passages at length. What was confusing me was basically related to what Ezekiel actually meant by his statements. Somebody above commented that the category of what Ezekiel was speaking to was different than what is meant by Imputed Sin. That seems to be an important distincition but it is also what I am confused by at the same.

    So to clarify further, what was the context that Ezekiel was speaking and how is it related to imputation (if at all). If not related to imputation then what is the distinction since Adams sin was imputed to us and we bear the punishment or weight of his actions (death).

    Contra Mundum states a good point... can you elaborate on this....

    In any case, Ezk.18:20 doesn't address imputation; but deals with resentment of one generation for having to deal with the consequences of the sins of an earlier one. In addition to God's reply here which focuses on the fact that each individual will stand before God to account for himself, there's also the threat of the 2nd Commandment that tells men they may expect some sins will harm more than just the initial perpetrators.
     
  5. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    Deuteronomy 24:16 is similar: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.” This verse seems to strike against the doctrine of imputation. How are we to explain this? We have to look at the context. And when we do that, what we see right away is that this verse isn't referring to imputed sin or anything of that nature at all. Deuteronomy 24 is talking about how things should operate in civil society. It's not talking about God's dealings with man; it's talking about capital punishment in the context of civil society. And in the context of society, sons ought not be put to death for the sins of their fathers. Here is a man who is a terrorist and has killed dozens of people. Well, what God is telling us in Deuteronomy 24:16 is that we are not permitted to execute this man's children along with him. The right way to preserve justice in civil society is to punish those alone who have committed crimes worthy of punishment. So, this passage isn't dealing with imputation at all, it's dealing with capital punishment as it relates to civil society.

    We can use this same interpretative principle for the passage in Ezekiel. The context of Ezekiel is that God's people were being carted away into exile. And one of the reasons they were going into exile was because of the accumulated sins of their fathers. So a certain proverb became a popular saying, that the fathers have eaten the sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge (verse 2). In other words, our fathers sinned but we're the ones paying for it. They were the ones who disobeyed, but we are the ones going into exile. And what God is telling the Jews is that it wasn't just because of the sins of their fathers that they were going into exile—it was because of their own sins. They thought themselves wholly innocent in the matter. They were full of self-righteousness. And God is confronting them with the fact that they're just as sinful and disobedient as their fathers, and that they weren't being led into exile for the sins of anyone except themselves. So, this passage in Ezekiel isn't about imputation either. It's teaching us about God's dealings with His covenant people in the course of redemptive history, and explaining why it is that the Lord at times subjects them to seasons of discipline.
     
  6. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you for this explanation. I am not as familiar with Ezekiel and your explanation has helped me.
     
  7. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    God is not addressing there the issue of sin as related to spiritual death but as to one sinning unto a capital crime that will lead to them being put to physical death, such as by stoning.
     
  8. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    I've had a conversation with a young Pelagian about this exact verse. He was using it to argue against the imputation of Adam's sin (original sin). All we had to do is look at the context.

    Ezek. 18:21-22:

    “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live."

    If the context dealt specifically with the imputation of Adam's sin, why would the passage be dealing with actual sin? The passage actually deals with the idea that the unrepentant sin of the father should not be charged to the repentant children. The doctrine of original sin does not deal with repentance at all, but rather the guilt we have in Adam. The passage assumes both guilt and pollution since the subject is a wicked man who needs to repent.

    Now to piggy-back off of what Bruce said, the doctrine of imputation is of the greatest comfort to believers, since we look to Christ's imputed righteousness as our second Adam-- our federal head-- who is our only consolation of righteousness and peace with God! When we look at this passage in the context of Scripture, this passage does indirectly deal with imputation-- the imputation of Christ, because therein we have forgiveness. In other words, apart from Christ's imputed righteousness, the repentance in Ezek. 18 by itself is not able to cover our sins. Apart from Christ's imputed righteousness, our sins-- even a single sin-- would outweigh any good that we did and there could not be forgiveness. The prophet can say that "none of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him" because of federal headship in Christ.

    Any attempt that the Pelagian can make to deny federal headship in Adam strips the believer of any consolation we have in Christ our righteousness!
     
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