Traditions Of Men Part 15

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 
Romans 5:12-13 

This is an interesting set of verses. Paul tells us that from God did not “impute” man’s sin until the Law was given to Moses. The word “impute” is a legal term that means “to place responsibility or blame on one person for acts of another person because of a particular relationship.” 

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 
1 Timothy 2:14 

Adam was not deceived when he ate the forbidden fruit. His sin introduced death into creation. It also transferred the dominion over creation to Satan and made him the “god of this world”. 

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 
2 Corinthians 4:4

Paul is telling us that Adam’s sin was not “imputed” to humanity until the Law was given to Moses. The first two thousand years of mankind’s existence sin was not imputed. 

In one sense “impute” is an accounting term. It can be compared to the use of a credit card.  

When I use a credit card the retailer does not charge me immediately. My financial information is embedded into the credit card. The retailer will use that to notify my credit card company of a charge. The company sends me a monthly statement summarizing the charges that have been “imputed” to me over the previous month. It is my responsibility to pay that bill.  

I do not pay for something at the time of purchase when using a credit card. It is simply put on my account and debt is created that will need to be paid. 

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 
Romans 5:12-13 

People sinned before the Law was given. God did not “impute” the penalty of that sin to their account. He did not judge them based on their sin. 

Religious tradition tells us that God drove Adam and Eve from the Garden because of their sin. This has created an image in many Christians minds that our holy God is unable to fellowship with us because we are unholy. 

This tradition leads to a works mentality. People “work” to earn God’s favor when it has already been given to us in Christ Jesus. 

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 
Ephesians 1:5 

We do not have to work to earn God’s favor. The blood of Jesus has washed us clean and we are accepted on the basis of our standing in Him! 

This is an important point because no person will ever “deserve” the blessing of God. A person who believes they have earn the blessing will never be able to receive His blessings. 

Many people struggle in their Christianity. They are bound up with religious tradition that has told them they cannot receive the blessings of God because they do not deserve it. This is an Old Testament mentality. 

God did not hold mankind accountable for sin until the Law was given. This introduced His wrath and judgment into the equation.  

The judgment we read about through the Old Testament is not reflective of the true nature of God. If it was then why did He not hold man accountable from the beginning? 

God related to humanity out of His mercy for the first two years of our existence. There are two notable exceptions: 

  1. The flood which killed all but eight people on the earth. 
  2. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah 

Both of these occasions were more an act of mercy than judgment. Sin can be compared to a cancer. There was so much evil in both cases that God had to destroy the people to preserve Jesus’ lineage. 

It is considered drastic to have a doctor cut off a limb. This is usually done to stop an infection from spreading beyond the limb. The two cases referenced can be compared to an amputation. God brought destruction to keep the infection from spreading to the rest of humanity. 

Paul tells us in Romans 5:13 that God did not “impute” sin to mankind prior to the Law being given to Moses. Abraham married his half-sister. Leviticus 18 calls this an abomination to God. The Law required that a person who would do this be put to death.  

We serve a good and loving God. He drove Adam and Eve from the Garden as an of mercy. 

And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. 
Genesis 3:22-24 

God drove Adam and Eve from the Garden to keep them from partaking of the tree of life. The consequence of this would have been for them to live forever in a fallen body. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have lived forever in a fallen world with a corrupted body? 

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