[Papercut Press] 2000-12-26 - Imputation of Christ's Righteousness

Part 13 - What Actually Happened? The Moment I Trusted Christ

Romans 5:12-21, verse 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

We come to the 13th thing which occurs the moment we trust in Christ for salvation.

  1. I am accounted righteous before God (Romans 5:19)

    Imputation is an important part of salvation. It is not really difficult to understand, but it is one of those aspects of salvation that is rarely spoken about. It is spelled out in its clearest form in Romans 5:12-21. There are two imputations spoken of in this passage.

    The first is the imputation of sin. When Adam was given the command in the garden of Eden to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he stood in our place, as our representative. When he disobeyed God, we disobeyed God through him because he was our representative. If this does not seem fair, hang in there, salvation, on the same grounds, would not be fair either. This doctrine is known as the federal headship of Adam.

    If you continue to read in Romans 5, you will notice that there is a second representative, Christ. Just as Adam was a representative, so also Christ is the representative of all those who receive salvation. But the representation of Christ is not one of guilt and death, but rather what is imputed in Christ's representation is His righteousness. So while in Adam, we receive guilt and death, in Christ we receive righteousness, His righteousness. If the imputation of sin from Adam as our representative is not fair, neither is the imputation of Christ's righteousness. The two stand or fall together.

    On the cross, as we commonly say, Christ paid the penalty for our sin. This was done by imputation. The transfer of our guilt to Him and His righteousness to us, is by imputation. Again you will find our cleansing from unrighteousness in 1 John 1:5-10, verse 9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." His righteousness has now become our righteousness. Our guilt, on the cross, became His guilt.

    The process by which this takes place is by substitution. Christ obeyed and suffered in our place because our sins were imputed to Him and He became our substitute by paying the penalty for our sins. "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." Isaiah 53:6 See also 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24.

    The imputation of the righteousness of Christ gives pardon of sins to the believer. The penalty for our sins has been paid in full and now, not only are we forgiven, we also stand before God clothed in the righteousness of Christ. This really is amazing. It also secures for the believer all the promises of God in Scripture.

    We don't talk much about this doctrine in the church today and that is unfortunate. It really is freeing to understand the depths that our salvation include. The more we understand salvation the more we understand how loving God is and how complete His mercy is. The imputation of Christ's righteousness is just another aspect of the great salvation offered to sinners in the gospel.

Soli Deo Gloria,
T-

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