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"Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Romans 4:8; KJV)

The word impute means roughly "to put into" or "to give". We are saved because of Jesus' imputed righteousness.

What does this verse mean? Does God make us sinful in His eyes by giving us sin?

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    The AV/KJV is often going to use words that no longer mean precisely what they meant in 1611. It's worth reading some other translations to see what they make of it. – lonesomeday Oct 28 '14 at 22:02
  • 'The word impute means roughly "to put into" or "to give"'- no it actually doesn't: Webster's definitions - to say or suggest that someone or something has or is guilty of (something); to lay the responsibility or blame for often falsely or unjustly; to credit to a person or a cause; attribute. ...There are significant shades of meaning that your rough definition just doesn't cover. – bruised reed Oct 29 '14 at 5:23
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    A "double imputation" occurred at the cross of Christ. Our sin was imputed to Christ, and His righteousness was imputed to us. To believe that with one's heart is to be the blessed soul to whom God does not impute sin. In other words, Christ became sin for us that in Him we might become God's righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus, the just, died for us, the just, that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). Don – rhetorician Oct 29 '14 at 13:47
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This is basically a very poetic way to say; "Blessed is the man who is saved by God's Grace."

Paul is teaching the Romans about the Grace of God. In chapters 4-8, Paul uses Abraham as an example to show that individuals were not justified through obedience to the law of Moses—they were justified through faith in God’s promises. Since Abraham lived centuries before the law of Moses was given, he was an ideal example. He then segues into a quote from David from Psalms:

Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 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." (Romans 4:6-8 emphasis added)

Compare with David's words in Psalms:

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." (Psalm 32:1-2 emphasis added)

Christ suffered for the sins of all humanity, it is only through his grace that we are saved, that is what these verses are trying to communicate. By God's grace all men may have a portion of Christ's righteousness (God imputeth righteousness) and be cleansed of all our sins (the Lord imputeth not iniquity)

Impute
To attribute (righteousness, guilt, sin, iniquity, etc.) to a person or persons vicariously; ascribe as derived from another.`

When Christ suffered the pains of the atonement he took upon him all the sins of the world, he bore the burden of sin for every single person on earth and suffered terrible anguish in our behalf. Figuratively speaking, in that act, he sinned–vicariously–through us. He felt the pains of remorse that all of us would feel because of our sins, he gained a perfect knowledge of the trials and tribulations of every one of God's children. He took all of our sins upon himself, and if we but follow him, then he will forgive us of every one of them.

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In this passage Paul is quoting from Psalm 32. The King James Version in both cases uses derivatives of the verb to impute. However, other well-respected more modern versions of the Bible do not translate it this way e.g. the NIV or the NRSV.

There is a less common meaning of the word impute meaning "to assign a value to" which is used in finance. In this sense, which may have been in more general use at the time the KJV was written, the verse meaning matches much better to the other translations. Otherwise it seems to suggest that there is a difference between the KJV and modern texts which would likely to be due to the manuscripts used and available to the KJV's translators.

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Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

"impute" = logizomai = to take an inventory, that is, estimate (literally or figuratively): - conclude, number, reason, reckon, suppose

Alternate translations;

Weust - Spiritually prosperous is the man to whose account the Lord does not in any case put sin.

Amplified - Blessed and happy and to be envied is the person of whose sin the Lord will take no account nor reckon it against him.

ASV - Blessed is the man to whom, the Lord will not reckon sin.

YLT - happy the man to whom the Lord may not reckon sin.

Darby - blessed the man to whom the Lord shall not at all reckon sin.

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The understanding from one Bible rendering is " ... whom the LORD will not count his sin."

The Navarre Bible New Testament Compact Edition renders Rom 4:8 as

blessed is the man against whom the LORD will not reckon his sin.

Rom 4:6-8 the complete saying of St. Paul is

6 So also David pronounces a blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the LORD will not reckon his sin."

The meaning is clear.

The said Bible note on 4:1-25 has at the beginning

The Apostle appeals to the authority of Scriptures to ratify his teaching on justification. Abraham was not justified by works of the law but rather by faith (vv. 1-8), as we can see from Genesis 15:16, confirmed by David in the psalms (vv. 6-8). When Paul says "it was reckoned to him" (v. 3), he is depicting God as a master who notes down in a ledger the merits and demerits of his servants. in the case of Abraham what he puts down in the the merits column was not his works but his faith; that is why he says his faith was reckoned as righteousness, that is, holiness (justice). This shows the gratuitousness of justification and we can see, too, that the act of faith is the first step in justification. So it is not good works that produce justification; rather it is justification that renders works good and meritorious for eternal life.

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