The Non-Imputation of Sin
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;…

The pardon or non-imputation of sin.

I. THE NATURE AND WORTH OF THE PRIVILEGE — "not imputing" (Romans 4:8).

1. It is a metaphor taken from those who cast up their accounts; and so it implies —

(1) That sin is a debt (Matthew 6:12).

(2) That God will one day call sinners to an account, and charge such and such debts upon them (Matthew 25:19).

(3) That in this day of accounts God will not impute the trespasses of those who are reconciled to Him by Christ (Psalm 32:2).

2. Now this is —

(1) An act of great grace and favour on God's part, because —

(a) Every one is become "guilty before God," and obnoxious to the process of His righteous judgment (Romans 3:19). There is sin enough to impute, and the reason of this non-imputation is not our innocency, but God's mercy.

(b) He would not prosecute His right against us, calling us to a strict account, and punishing us according to our demerits, which would have been our utter undoing (Psalm 130:3; Psalm 143.).

(c) He found out the way how to recompense the wrong done by sin unto His Majesty, and sent His Son to make this recompense for us (ver. 21; Psalm 53:4; Romans 4:2).

(d) He did this out of His mere love, which set-a-work all the causes which concurred in the business of our redemption (John 3:16). And this love was not excited by any love on our parts (Romans 3:24).

3. This negative or non-imputation is heightened by the positive imputation of Christ's merits.

(1) A matter of great privilege and blessedness to the creature. This will appear if we consider —

(a)  The evil we are freed from; guilt is an obligation to punishment, and pardon is the dissolving this obligation.

(b)  The good depending upon it in this life and the next.


1. The first stone in this building was laid in God's eternal decree and purpose to reconcile sinners to Himself by Christ, not imputing their trespasses to them.

2. The second step was when Christ was actually exhibited in the flesh, and paid our ransom for us (1 John 3:5; John 1:29; Hebrews 10:14).

3. The next step was when Christ rose from the dead; for then we had a visible evidence of the sufficiency of the ransom, sacrifice, and satisfaction which He made for us (Romans 5:25; 8:34).

4. We are actually justified, pardoned, and reconciled when we repent and believe.

5. We are sensibly pardoned, as well as actually, when the Lord giveth peace and joy in believing, "and sheddeth abroad His love in our hearts by the Spirit."

6. The last step is when we have a complete and full absolution of sin — that is, at the day of judgment (Acts 3:19).


1. Because when God releaseth us from the punishment of sin, it is a sign His anger is appeased and now over.

2. That which is the ground of reconciliation is the ground of pardon of sin (Ephesians 1:7).

3. That which is the fruit of reconciliation is obtained and promoted by pardon of sin, and that is fellowship with God and delightful communion with Him in a course of obedience and subjection to Him (Hebrews 10:22; 1 John 1:7).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

WEB: But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation;

The Ministry of Reconciliation
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