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The Imputed Righteousness of God

God imputes or accredits the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ to the believing sinner while he is still in his sinning state.

God has manifested His righteousness apart from the Law “even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe” (Rom. 3:21-22). The reason for this judicial standing before a righteous God is because we have “all sinned and come short of the glory of God” (v. 23). The foundation upon which God can justify the believing sinner who is still in his sinning state is because this justification is “a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith” (vv. 24-25).

Romans 5:12-21 teaches the imputing or charging of Adam’s sin to the human race. Because Adam sinned as the federal head of the human race, God considers all men as sinners. We are possessed of Adam’s nature (vv. 12-14), and the sentence of death is imposed on us (6:23). The effect of Adam’s fall is universal. We are all fallen sons and daughters of old Adam. We do not become sinful by sinning; we sin because we are sinful by nature. We sin because we are sinners.

The judgment of God rests upon all men outside of a saving relationship with Jesus Christ because of imputed sin, our inherited sin nature and our own personal sins.

We stand guilty before God and deserve the death penalty until we come to Christ alone for a right standing before God (Rom. 6:23).

Moreover, in a similar way, the sin of man is imputed to Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Jehovah, the LORD God, laid on His Son, the Lamb of God, the iniquities of us all (Isa. 53:5; Jn. 1:29; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18). There was a judicial transfer of the sins of man to Jesus Christ, God’s Sin-Bearer.

The sin of man was imputed to Christ when He became the sin offering for the whole world (2 Cor. 5:14-21; Heb. 2:9; 1 Jn. 2:2).

Christ “was pierced through” for my transgressions. He was crushed for my iniquities. The chastening for my well-being fell upon Jesus Christ. By His scourging I am healed. “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him” (Isa. 53:4-6; cf. 1 Pet. 2:24-25). Isaiah used the strongest words possible to describe a violent and agonizing death in v. 5. It was the divine stroke of judgment when Christ “was pierced through for our transgressions.”

Our sins were imputed to Christ, and He went to the cross and died as our substitute (Rom. 5:6-8).

Furthermore, God imputes the righteousness of Jesus Christ to the believing sinner while he is still in his sinning state. This was true of Abraham (Gen. 15:6). It is true of every believer in Christ (Ps. 32:2; Rom. 3:22; 4:3, 8, 21-25; 2 Cor. 5:21). All of our sins were charged (imputed) to the account of Christ, and His righteous standing with the Father has been imputed (charged) to our account. There is a judicial transfer of the righteousness of God to the believer because there could be no other grounds of acceptance with a righteous God.

The righteousness of God is imputed to all who believe on Christ so that they may stand before Him in all the perfection of Christ.

Every saved sinner has been “made” the righteousness of God (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:21-23). This imputed righteousness is not something man does or earns.

It is all of God’s grace.

“God sees the believer as a living part of His own Son” by our identification with Him by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We are members of His body (1 Cor. 12:13; Jn. 15:1, 5). God sees us “in Christ” and justifies us forever. He sees us clothed in the righteous garments of Christ.

Therefore, God loves you and me as much as He loves His own Son (Jn. 17:23). He accepts us as He accepts Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:5). He sees us the same way He sees His own Son (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:22; 1 Cor. 1:30). Christ is the righteousness of God, and those who believe on Him are made the righteousness of God by being “in Christ.” We are complete in Christ (Col. 2:10); therefore, God the Father sees us perfected forever (Heb. 10:10, 14).

This justification is the believer’s eternal standing before God. In our daily life we are far from the perfect legal standing with God and must “grow in grace and knowledge of Christ.”

How then shall we live our lives? We are now slaves, not of our old Adamic nature, but of the righteousness of God. The Holy Spirit produces through us God’s righteousness. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). The imputed righteousness becomes the basis for a righteousness imparted through us by the Holy Spirit.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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