Background on Imputed Sin

This post will continue the series on the imputation of sin by providing a brief background on this topic and will foreshadow the evidence for this thinking.


Background and Evidence for Imputation

Sin is primarily divided into three main aspects: original, personal, and the imputation. Original sin, also called inherited sin or sin nature, is a bent or brokenness of constitution. This constitution is inherited from Adam and Eve and was originally broken in the fall. This brokenness means we do not measure up to the character of God, which is the standard of what is and is not sin. The second aspect of sin, personal sin, is when an individual chooses to act in a way that is not aligned to the character and nature of God. Therefore, a human is not acceptable to God because of who they are (inherited sin) and the choices they make (personal sin). The final aspect of sin is the imputation of sin which is simply the guilt that humans receive or the reckoning to someone or something that is antecedently theirs. Imputed sin is often mistaken for original sin but the two are distinct and separate. Though both arise from the initial sin of Adam and alike converge on each human, a crucial distinction must be maintained between the transmitted sin nature received mediately, and imputed sin received immediately.[1] The nature to sin is not the act of sin, and on the other hand, “though men are held individually responsible and under the penalty of physical death for their share in what was, in Adam’s experience, a personal sin, imputed sin is held in the Scriptures to be unlike personal sin.”[2] Further definition of imputed sin and biblical evidence will now be presented.

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993), 315.

[2] Ibid.


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