God’s Judgment Is Based on Imputation Alone, Without Respect of Persons’ Conscience

Justification is not based on our lack of self-righteousness. Even though those who are justified do believe the gospel, God imputes Christ’s death to the elect without respect to their conscience. Our conscience is a result and not a condition for either justification or condemnation.

Self-righteousness is the fruit of condemnation, and not the basis for it. God condemns even non-elect infants, but not because they are self-righteous. We do not have to have an aware conscience in order for God to be at wrath with us because of imputed guilt.

The guilty become self-righteous, yes, but guilt is not based on our internal self-righteous attitudes about God . The problem of condemnation is not our enmity toward God’s law and God’s gospel. Guilt before God (God’s legal enmity) is based on God’s external imputation of Adam’s sin (and our sins) to us, and justification before God is based on God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect. (Christ’s death not only satisfies God’s attribute of righteousness, Christ’s death is God’s righteousness obtained for the elect and given to the elect. )

Those who want to qualify imputation express outrage at the idea that God could, hate Esau before he was born (Romans 9), or that the Psalmist could speak of dashing the little ones of God’s enemies against the rock (Psalm 137:9).

God is seen to be horribly unjust to condemn those who “don’t even have a chance” at being saved, including infants, those who have never heard the gospel and rejected it, and people who are mentally incapacitated.

This is respect of persons. The idea is that nobody should be condemned “merely” because of the imputation of Adam’s sin to everybody.

Some preacher tells us to trust him that “all who leave this world as babies are saved”. Carnal reasoning concludes that since babies are in some sense innocent or even “less sinners” than grown ups, God recognizes this and rewards it with his salvation, and all babies who die are saved.

Why, then, are not all adults who die in adulthood saved “by the mighty operations of God’s free grace” if all infants who die in infancy are so saved?

Why does God eternally elect unto salvation every infant who dies in infancy but does not elect to save every adult who dies in adulthood?

Somebody explains that babies cannot be said to have expressed “willful transgression of the law” as “responsible, reasonable, and accountable beings” and thus are guilty only of Adam’s transgression.
Babies are not self-righteous. Babies are not trying to build their own righteousness.

This false doctrine ties justification to the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of a person’s conscience. If one is an infant and dies, he is elect- no exceptions. If one is an adult and dies, he may either be elect or non-elect, depending on the good pleasure and purpose of God, but it is always, without exception, according to this not-only-imputation doctrine, the good pleasure and purpose of God to elect infants who will die in infancy.

The Bible does not condition justification on the conscience of the sinner, but on the sovereign justice and grace of God, who conditions His salvation on the Person and the work of Jesus Christ.

Somebody writes that “the Bible seems to imply that God will not eternally condemn anyone solely upon the basis of Adam’s transgression.” The children shall not be put to death for the fathers; ergo, “covenant children” will not be put to death for Adam’s sin.

To put in simple terms the idea of this false teaching: if all you have is imputed guilt, it is covered by Christ’s atonement. Imputed guilt
“alone” can not condemn a person, for all persons who bear
“only” the imputed guilt of Adam (presumably dying infants) are
saved. The non-elect are only found among the adult population
who become self-righteous.

Somebody writes: “Knowing my heavenly Father’s character, that he is just, righteous, and good, when I read statements such
as David made about his son, and consider the whole
Revelation of God in Scripture, I can, with confidence
and joy say, yes, those babies who die in infancy do
go to heaven. They are chosen of God, redeemed by
Christ, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Like all
of God’s elect, they are saved by the pure, free,
sovereign grace of God.”

According to this false gospel, it would somehow be inconsistent with the “just, righteous, and good” character of God to do other than to save an infant who dies in infancy. Why? Because an infant has
not committed “willful transgressions” of the law of God. What this amounts to is that a non-religious sinner (the infant) is less sinful than a grown up religious adult.

Adam’s guilt is imputed to all humans. We are not sinners because we are self-righteous. We are self-righteous because we are sinners. We are sinners from the moment of our conception (Psalm 51:5; Psalm 58:3).

When the work of Christ is seen as something “justly”
or “righteously” applied to a particular class of individuals
because they are less guilty than another class, then the work of Christ is no longer seen as that which saves sinners but rather
as that which rewards those who are not self-righteous about it.

This internal (conscience) vs external (imputation) antithesis is against the Bible’s message concerning the Person and work of Christ, who did not come to save the not self-righteous, but to save guilty sinners.

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4 Comments on “God’s Judgment Is Based on Imputation Alone, Without Respect of Persons’ Conscience”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    why does Matthew 5:48 come after Matthew 5:43-47.

    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    It’s not because verses 43 to 47 have commands which we cannot keep. Make no mistake, verses 43 to 47 do have laws which we cannot keep. But we cannot keep any of God’s law, because to do that we need to keep those laws perfectly.

    Verse 48 does not come after verses 43 to 47 because those commands are more difficult or impossible to obey than other commands. In context, what is commanded in verse 48 is our being indiscriminate, our not making a distinction between those who are enemies and those who are not enemies.

    Even though we are all enemies of God before justification, God does discriminate by electing in Christ some to be justified in Christ. But when verse 45 describes God sending rain on the just and the unjust, that is not describing God sending justification on the just and unjust. Nor is it describing God’s “desire to send justification to all of God’s enemies. The goodness of God is indiscriminate in sending rain on those who are justified and also on those who are not justified.

    We are not commanded to send justification to anybody. We cannot send justification to anybody. Nor can we send rain. But we are commanded to be indiscriminate, to NOT RETURN EVIL FOR EVIL, to not send evil to those who are evil, and good to those who are good. But we don’t like to be indiscriminate in this way.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    what does it mean to say “The Father is God as God in Himself”

    Is the Son after His incarnation not God as God is in HImself?

    Did God the Father give His Son or did God the Father give Himself as He is Himself?

    maybe the Son as Creator is our Lawgiver, but is the Son as Redeemer our lawgiver?

    I Peter 1: 15 But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. 17 Address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence.

    John 5: 22 The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son…

    John 5: 30 “I can do nothing on My own. I judge only as I hear

    John 12:47″As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words. That very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. 49 For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.

    John 3:1 7 For God did not send His Son into the world in order to condemn the world, but in order that the world be saved through Him.18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

    Acts 17: 30-31 God has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

    Romans 2: 2 We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. 3 Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment?

    Romans 2: 16 There will be the day when God judges what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus.

    2 Timothy 4:1 “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom”

    Luke 12: 10 “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven”.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Why does Matthew 5:48 come after Matthew 5:43-47?

    Matthew 5: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 in order that you be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Verse 48 is not thrre because verses 43 to 47 have commands which we cannot keep. Make no mistake, verses 43 to 47 do have command which we cannot keep. We cannot keep any of God’s law, because to do that we need to keep those laws perfectly. Disobey one once, disobey all.

    James 2: 8 Indeed, if you keep the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. 9 But if you show favoritism,you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking all the law.

    Galatians 3: 10 Everyone who does not continue doing EVERYTHING written in the book of the law is cursed

    So, yes, the Bible does teach, break one break all. But that’s not what Matthew 5:48 is mainly about. Matthew 5: 48 does not come after verses 43 to 47 because those commands are more difficult or impossible to obey than other commands. In context, what is commanded in verse 48 is our being indiscriminate, our not making a distinction between those who are enemies and those who are not enemies.

    Even though we are all enemies of God before justification, GOD DOES DISCRIMINATEG by electing in Christ some to be justified in Christ. God does not “show favorites” in the sense that God ever regard a sinner (elect or non-elect) as justified until God imputes to that sinner Christ’s righteousness. Even a elect sinner is under condemnation until God credits that sinner with Christ’s death, because God shows no favorites and cuts no slack in the matter of justification. But God does have favorites in the sense that God only imputed the sins of the elect to Christ and God will only Christ’s death to the elect.

    When Matthew 5: 45 describes God sending rain on the just and the unjust, that is not describing God sending justification on the just and unjust. Nor is it describing God’s “desire to send justification to all of God’s enemies. The goodness of God is indiscriminate in sending rain on those who are justified and also on those who are not justified.

    We are not commanded to send justification to anybody. We cannot send justification to anybody. Nor can we send rain. But we are commanded to be indiscriminate, to NOT RETURN EVIL FOR EVIL, to not send evil to those who are evil. But we don’t like to be indiscriminate in this way.

  4. Mark Mcculley Says:

    The Ancient of Days creates covenants and laws

    Hebrews 7: 11 If perfection had come through the Levitical priesthood (when the Jewish people received the Sinai law), what further need was there for another priest to appear, said to be in the order of Melchizedek and not in the order of Aaron? 12 For WHEN there is a change of the priesthood, there must be a change of law as well.

    Hebrews 8: 6 But Jesus is now the mediator of a better covenant, which covenant has been legally enacted on better promises.
    7 For if that Sinai covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a different covenant . 8 But finding fault with His
    Jewish people, He says: The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel

    Psalm 90: 2 before You gave birth to the earth
    from lasting to lasting You are God.
    You return humans to the dust

    Psalm 102: 24 I say: “My God, do not take me
    in the middle of my life
    Your years continue through all ages
    25 Long ago You established the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
    26 Earth and the heavens will perish, but You will endure;
    They will wear out like clothing.
    They pass away.
    27 But You are the same,
    Your years will never end.


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