And God was careful to make sure Israel knew that He did not give Israel the law to make law keeping the standard by which righteousness was to be measured. He reminded them that they were children of Abraham whose belief in God was his righteousness.
Righteousness for eternal life has always been by faith in God/Jesus. We see this when we read about Abraham who lived before the law. We see this when we read about Job who lived under the law. And we see this when we read Paul's teaching in this dispensation of the grace of God where Paul says we are not under law but under grace. And that this is what makes us free from sin.
This is why Paul said sin is not imputed when there is no law(Rom.5:13). And he also said that where there is no law there is no transgression(Rom.4:15). So apart from the law there is no such thing as imputation of sins.
This makes the practice of confession of sins for the believer an exercise in futility. And makes folly of the fact that we are not under law but under grace. Because every time a believer goes to God to confess some naughty thing he or she may have done they show they do not believe they are not under law but under grace as Paul taught. But, instead they still believe sin has dominion over them.
Because when we are not under law there is no imputation of sin. So what need is there to confess something that God does not hold against you? So if you do something naughty just turn from it and leave it behind you. Don't let it own you and make you a slave to those dead works under the law.
Confession of sins for the believer is the same as animal sacrifices were for Israel. Heb.10 tells us that these were a constant reminder for Israel of the imputation of sins. And shows he is really still under the law. As it is a constant reminder for the believer that they are still under the dead works of the law.
But, in Rom.6:18 Paul says the believer is free from sin. So much so that not only has his flesh been sanctified and cleansed as Heb.9:13 says. Even his conscience is purged from the dead works of the kind of confession Israel did through sacrifices under the law.
Let me explain how imputation works in a way we can relate to today. When we are driving our car on a roadway there are intermittently placed speed limit signs. These signs are there to tell you the minimum or maximum speeds that it is lawful to drive. And because we live under these speed limit laws, when we violate them a penalty is applied. This is what is meant by the word imputed. The violation of the speed limit law is held to your account.
So when Paul says "where there is no law there is no transgression". And that when there is no law sin, or in our example the violation of the speed limit, is not imputed.
He is telling us that when we are not under the law there is nothing in place that can cause what otherwise might be considered a violation, or sin, to be imputed.
When it comes to Bible theology many resort to using a term known as 'moral law' when referring to the law in an effort to keep people under the law since the Old Testament written law has passed.
But, when asked to show a difference between the written and the moral law it soon becomes apparent that there is none.
And that the only reason these people use 'moral law' in place of the written law is to keep people under the law. So that they can fit God's provision of salvation into their naughty and nice paradigm.
They do this because their understanding of why Jesus had to die is perverted by their doctrine of original sin and sin nature. A foundation they stand on that is no where taught in the Bible.
Paul taught in Rom.6:7-14 that we are free from sin because we are not under the law but under grace. And having died with Christ the law has no place in our lives.
Paul takes this even further in Heb.9:14 by saying that the blood of Jesus, His death, purges our conscience from dead works when we trust in Him. These dead works Paul refers to here are the works of the law. But, this includes any works we might think have anything to do with what makes men righteous before God.
They are now considered dead works because they have served their purpose by keeping Israel from destroying each other as a people. And by keeping them a purely human bloodline for Jesus to be born into. Necessary because this was the only way to insure that He would be both fully God and fully human.
This purging of the conscience from dead works is complete when we do not think in terms of laws or rules in making our choices in regard to what we believe and why we do what we do as Christians. But, only love. And only when this purging is complete are we no longer slaves to sin.
So on the obverse we must ask the question, is righteousness imputed? We know sin is not imputed because there is no law. But, was an imputed righteousness what God said of Abraham and those who believe as he did?
No. Righteousness is no more imputed to believers when there is no law than sin is. This misunderstanding is why so many believe that all men were made sinners by inheritance from Adam. And that this is why Jesus had to come and die on the cross.
But, we see in Rom.5:19 that Paul says "many", not all men, became sinners because of Adam. Paul wrote, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Paul wrote it like this to show us that men are sinners, or righteous, by choice. And not by inheritance.
Neither sin nor righteousness is thrust upon mankind because of someone else's choice. When we choose to reject God's gift of eternal life because we will not believe in Jesus we are part of the "many" Paul spoke of that became sinners. When we choose to receive God's gift of eternal life because we do believe in Jesus we are part of the "many" that have become righteous. Neither of these is imputed to us.
Here is another example. When we say "I forgive you" we are saying "I don't impute your sin to you". This is how we imitate the love of Jesus. Remember what He told the woman caught in adultery. He said, "Neither do I condemn you". He was saying "I don't impute your sin to you".
This is what God's love does. This is what David said when he wrote of a future time saying, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." He hoped or maybe he saw a day when there would be no law.
Out of David's law keeping and imputation of sins mind set he saw the need for complete and total forgiveness. A time when sins under the law would not be imputed. And how blessed the man would be who lived during that time. A time in Eph.3:2 Paul calls "the dispensation of the grace of God". It is the time we are living in now.
This is why it was so important to Jesus that Israel would understand how important forgiveness is. Teaching them things like we read in Mt.5:39-48 saying,
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
These things were so completely foreign to the Jewish law keeping oriented mind that most of Israel could not bear to hear them. So they rejected Jesus. Because the law can not do what love does. Because the law is works. And works are not of faith. And love is the only way true faith can be expressed.
That's what God says today to everyone. Even those who have not yet come to a saving faith in Jesus. Why? Because the New Testament is the ministry of reconciliation. In 2Cor.5:19 Paul said God was in Christ as He joined with mankind in our death hanging on the cross
not imputing their trespasses to them. This was God's purpose in the cross for Israel that brought their deliverance from the law. So that sin for them would not longer be imputed.
So is it any wonder that Paul said in Gal.1:8,9 that those who teach another gospel are anathema? Because when we do not teach the love of God that does not impute sin we miss the mark. Because Jesus' life, death, and resurrection is the perfect expression of that love.
When we do not appeal to God for the choices we make, but instead appeal to the law when we try to attain righteousness by works, we make the law our god. And what was supposed to bring us into a very personal relationship with our Creator. Becomes nothing more than a relationship with "speed limits".
But, since Jesus came the whole world is placed under, and is now held accountable to, a New Covenant. A covenant wherein righteousness can not be had by works. But, only by the faith of Christ.
This is why in Gal.3:22 Paul said, "But all have been concluded under sin". He was referring to the sin of unbelief because he told them the answer for this sin is faith in Jesus. This is why unbelief is the only sin Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to reprove the world of so that men can be saved.
Because since sins that were under the law are not imputed to Israel or anyone because there is no law. There is only Jesus. And where there is no law there is no transgression. There is only Jesus.
Our righteousness is now determined by our relationship with Jesus.
According to Gal.2:16 when we trust in Him as He trusted the Father we are righteous. This righteousness is not imputed righteousness from a store of righteousness that Jesus earned through perfect law keeping as so many false teachers of the doctrine of original sin say it is. We who have believed in Jesus are "reckoned to be righteous", which means God considered us righteous by faith without works just as faithful Abraham was.
This then is the righteousness all men are in need of. This then is why Paul said all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Because sin is not believing in Jesus. And righteousness is knowing Him. It's really that simple.
So don't let anyone deceive you into believing that it is the bad things you have done that keep you from having the gift of life that Jesus came to give you. Naughty or nice behavior have nothing to do with that. Because in this administration. In this dispensation. Sin, that is naughty behavior, is not imputed to anyone.
The only reason you don't have eternal life is because you do not believe in Jesus. And if you will confess Jesus is Lord. And believe in your heart that He has raised from the dead you will be saved. And you will be righteous. And you will have eternal life.
If you want His gift of eternal life just ask Him for it. He wants you to have it. Pray saying Dear Jesus, thank you for joining with me in mortality. And conquering it by the resurrection. I believe in you. Please save me. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Do this and you will be righteous. Do this and you will have eternal life. Do this and you will be heir to God's kingdom. Do this... and I will see you there or in the air!