Philemon 18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; 19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.
The Apostle Paul in Philemon verse 18 asked Philemon to have Onesimus’ debts transferred to Paul. “If he has wronged you,” Paul said, “charge that to my account.” The words used mean to impute, to reckon; to charge to one’s account. When you charge to someone’s account you take something that belongs to one person and you put it to the account of another. If someone owes you a debt, you take it out of his page in your ledger and put it to the page belonging to another person in the ledger. Therefore, you have “imputed” the debt to another.
The story of the redemption of God for man involves this “imputation,” “charging to one’s account,” in a threefold way:
- ADAM’S SIN IS CHARGED TO THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE Romans 5:12-14.
All humanity declared guilty because of imputed sin, our inherited nature, and our personal sin. We do not become sinful by just sinning; we sin because our nature is sinful. In Adam, God judged the entire human race guilty. Not only has humanity been declared guilty; it has acted out its personal guilt and sinned Romans 3:23
- THE SIN OF THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE IS CHARGED TO JESUS Isaiah 53:4-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Jesus said charge it to My account. The apostle Paul wrote, “He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Typified in the OT sacrificial system of sins transferred to scapegoat. God made Him to be sin who knew no sin. He bore the penalty of our sin as our spotless sin-offering. God took all of our sins and “imputed” them to His Son, put them on Him, i.e., put them to His account. He charged them to Jesus’ account. That is not all God does. We need something else.
- THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF JESUS IS CHARGED TO THE BELIEVER 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Just to take away our sins is not enough because before we can stand in the presence of God I must be justified, righteous, and holy. The Bible teaches us that God is righteous, just and holy. Anything less that His standard of righteousness cannot stand in His presence. The problem is that according to God’s Law (His standard of righteousness) only the doers of the Law can be justified (Romans 2:13) but no human could keep it; all would be found guilty. The good news is that the moment you and I believe on God’s Son and His work for us, He “imputes” His righteousness to us, He imputes Jesus’ perfect observance of the law to us. Although we stand guilty before God because we have not kept the law; however, Christ has kept it perfectly and He is righteous before the law. God “puts to our account,” i.e. “imputes to us” righteousness of His own Son. God could only declare us righteous (justify us) not by our deeds of keeping the Law, but only by imputing Jesus’ deeds of keeping it. His doing of the Law is imputed, credited or charged to our account.