Mockingbird Glossary: Imputation and Simul Iustus Et Peccator

As promised, here is the second installment of the blog definitions. Remember:) What follows is […]

Mockingbird / 6.1.09

As promised, here is the second installment of the blog definitions.

Remember:) What follows is by no means authoritative or exhaustive; rather, it is our attempt to put some of the often-used terminology—Mockingbirdese, if you will—into context. One of the intentions of our ministry is to wrestle with theological concepts in the context of everyday life so as to deal with the question as to whether the Christian message means anything to us today. Some of these definitions will be too precise for some and not specific enough for others; we’re sorry. There are many resources available and, hopefully, this will serve as simply a helpful introduction which results in further exploration of these and other theological concepts.

This week we’re going to look at a couple of terms at the same time because one depends upon the other.

Imputation – is used to designate any action or word or thing as reckoned to a person. Thus in doctrinal language (1) the sin of Adam is imputed to all his descendants, i.e., it is reckoned as theirs, and they are dealt with therefore as guilty; (2) the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them that believe in him, or so attributed to them as to be considered their own; and (3) our sins are imputed to Christ, i.e., he assumed our “law-place,” undertook to answer the demands of justice for our sins. In all these cases the nature of imputation is the same (Rom. 5:12-19; comp. Philemon 1:18, 19). (Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary)

Simul Iustus et Peccator – Latin for “simultaneously just and sinner”. 16th century Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther, developed the phrase to describe the Christian life. We are reckoned as justified because of the imputed righteousness of Christ and at the same time we are still sinners.

Therefore, as Christians, we are two things…just like this guy:

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