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If there is no Trinity then “There is no imputation”

In Apologetics on September 4, 2010 at 1:56 pm

In Isaiah 53 the person of Jesus the Christ is prophesied coming in a physical body. As a person distinct in form yet common as man. The prophet describes the barbarous manner to which the Son was to be treated. God is described as exercising His wrath on His Son. The Son is called the Mediator, for all his sufferings, it is intimated that he should succeed and prosper, have a numerous issue, should justify many, and have a portion and spoil divided with the great and mighty, Isaiah 53:10. The language is clear there are persona’s, who are acting upon and with each other. The plural language of the Bible is not misleading but clearly points to the persons of God yet it is just as evident there is one God. From the beginning of Holy Scripture the use of plural language has caused confusion for the doubters and confirmation for the faithful. The dual nature of Christ combined with the three-oneness of God has set Christianity apart completely from every other religion man has devised. Justin Martyr in his early apologetic commented on Plato’s stealing from the Hebrew Scripture in his Greek philosophy and stories. The concept of the Trinity has been widely taught, from the beginning of the church. History records the reaction of the early church fathers combating erroneous doctrine, for example Gnostics, and Arians were dealt with for over 200 years. The early church or sub apostolic disciples had been well trained in the truth of the Gospel. Their ability to deal with error is recorded in the writings of the ante Nicene fathers. If the Trinity or the three-oneness of God were false how has the church added millions if not billions and God has not opposed it? In Scripture God opposes and destroys false teachers, religions, and idols, why has the doctrine been at the very soul of every revival since Pentecost? Given that Satan mimics and blaspheme the truth of miracles, sponsoring false scriptures, and other behaviors showing us the fact of these truths to be more relevant. How could the unholy Trinity not mirror the true Trinity since Satan has been in God’s unique presence and would understand the basic truth of God’s existence and try to distort them?

One of the most important teachings of the New Testament revolves around imputation, justification, sanctification and glorification. Salvation is initiated by the Father, accomplished by the Son and applied by the Spirit.

(2 Corinthians 5:18 HCSB)  Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

This splendid statement of the scriptural doctrine of reconciliation is found in A New and Concise Bible Dictionary:

By the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross, God annulled in grace the distance which sin had brought in between Himself and man, in order that all things might, through Christ, be presented agreeably to himself. Believers are already reconciled, through Christ’s death, to be presented holy, unblamable, and unreprovable (a new creation). God was in Christ, when Christ was on earth, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses; but now that the love of God has been fully revealed in the cross, the testimony has gone out world-wide, beseeching men to be reconciled to God. The end is that God may have His pleasure in man.

(2 Corinthians 5:19 HCSB) that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.

To wit – (Greek, Ὡς ὄτι  Hōs oti), namely This verse is designed further to state the nature of the plan of reconciliation, and of the message with which they were entrusted. It contains an abstract or an epitome of the whole plan; and is one of those emphatic passages in which Paul compresses into a single sentence the substance of the whole plan of redemption.

That God was in Christ – That God was by Christ (ἐν Χριστῷ  en Christō), by means of Christ; by the agency, or mediatorship of Christ. Or it may mean that God was united to Christ, and manifested himself by him. So Doddridge interprets it. Christ was the mediator by means of whom God designed to accomplish the great work of reconciliation.

Reconciling the world unto himself – The world here evidently means the human race generally, without distinction of nation, age, or rank. The whole world was alienated from him, and he sought to have it reconciled. This is one incidental proof that God designed that the plan of salvation should be adapted to all people; see the note on 2Co_5:14. It may be observed further, that God sought that the world should be reconciled. Man did not seek it. He had no plan for it, he did not desire it. He had no way to effect it. It was the offended party, not the offending, that sought to be reconciled; and this shows the strength of his love. It was love for enemies and alienated beings, and love evinced to them by a most earnest desire to become their friend, and to be at agreement with them; compare note on Rom_5:8. Tyndale renders this very accurately: “For God was in Christ, and made agreement between the world and himself, and imputed not their sins unto them.”

Not imputing their trespasses – Not reckoning their transgressions to them; that is, forgiving them, pardoning them. On the meaning of the word impute, see the note, Rom_4:3. The idea here is, that God did not charge on them with inexorable severity and stern justice their offences, but graciously provided a plan of pardon, and offered to remit their sins on the conditions of the gospel. The plan of reconciliation demonstrated that he was not disposed to impute their sins to them, as he might have done, and to punish them with unmitigated severity for their crimes, but was more disposed to pardon and forgive. And it may be here asked, if God was not disposed to charge with unrelenting severity their own sins to their account, but was rather disposed to pardon them, can we believe that he is disposed to charge on them the sin of another? If he does not charge on them with inexorable and unmitigated severity their own transgressions, will he charge on them with unrelenting severity – or at all – the sin of Adam? see the note on Rom_5:19. The sentiment here is, that God is not disposed or inclined to charge the transgressions of people upon them; he has no pleasure in doing it; and therefore he has provided a plan by which they may be pardoned. At the same time it is true that unless their sins are pardoned, justice will charge or impute their sins to them, and will exact punishment to the uttermost.

And hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation – Margin,” put in us.” Tyndale renders this: “and hath committed unto us the preaching of the atonement.” The meaning is, that the office of making known the nature of this plan, and the conditions on which God was willing to be reconciled to man, had been committed to the ministers of the gospel.(I could not be as elegant or intelligent as to state any better)[1]

(2 Corinthians 5:20 HCSB)  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”

The responsibility of being an Ambassador is our primary duty on this earth while we are alive! There is a great message in need of surrendered servants who deliver the message of the King.

The message of the church today is one of reconciliation: God in Christ on the cross has reconciled the world to himself and is willing to save all who will trust His Son. Ours is not a message of social reform (although the Gospel reforms lives, Tit_2:11-15); ours is a message of spiritual regeneration. We represent Christ as we invite the lost to receive Him. What a privilege — what a responsibility!

(2 Corinthians 5:21 HCSB)  He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

This verse gives us the doctrinal foundation for our reconciliation. How has God made reconciliation possible? How can He receive guilty sinners who come to Him in repentance and faith? The answer is that the Lord Jesus has effectively dealt with the whole problem of our sins, so now we can be reconciled to God.

In other words, God made Christ to be sin for us—Christ who knew no sinthat we might become the righteousness of God in Him. We must beware of any idea that on the cross of Calvary the Lord Jesus Christ actually became sinful in Himself. Such an idea is false. Our sins were placed on Him, but they were not in Him. What happened is that God made Him to be a sin-offering on our behalf. Trusting in Him, we are reckoned righteous by God. The claims of the law have been fully satisfied by our Substitute. What a blessed truth it is that the One who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we who knew no righteousness might become the righteousness of God in Him.

God has stated that he cannot sin nor can he be charged with sin. Christ as the 2nd person of the Godhead became sin and the Father spent His wrath on the Son. The language is clear, the action is plain, imputation required a person who could “be sin for us” yet separate from the Father who is punishing sin. The language is pregnant with plurality and yet single in its intent. The Father is acting on the Son, the Son is accomplishing the will of the Father, and the Spirit strengthens the Son to bear the weight of the punishment. Without the Trinity how is the imputation accomplished? Who is God spending his wrath on? Who is receiving His wrath and being made Son?

No mortal tongue will ever be able to thank God sufficiently for such boundless grace.

The whole of this important doctrine was short, simple, and plain. Let us consider it in all its connections:

1.            You believe there is a God.

2.            You know he has made you.

3.            He requires you to love and serve him.

4.            To show you how to do this he has given a revelation of himself, which is contained in his law, etc.

5.            You have broken this law, and incurred the penalty, which is death.

6.            Far from being able to undo your offenses, or make reparation to the offended majesty of God, your hearts, through the deceitfulness and influence of sin, are blinded, hardened, and filled with enmity, against your Father and your Judge.

7.            To redeem you out of this most wretched and accursed state, God; in his endless love, has given his Son for you; who has assumed your nature, and died in your stead.

8.            In consequence of this he has commanded repentance towards God, and remission of sins, to be published in his name in all the earth.

9.            All who repent, and believe in Christ as having died for them as a sin-offering, (2Co_5:21), shall receive remission of sins.

10.         And if they abide in him they shall have an eternal inheritance among them that are sanctified.


[1] Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible  (1798-1870)

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