Rom. 4:1-25; Gen. 15:6; James 2:23; Gal.3:6
1. Imputed Righteousness is clearly taught in the passages we have read. That is not an issue.
2. The question is whether such imputation of Righteousness is mediate or immediate--by means or on conditions or without means and unconditionally. Same as studying operation of the Spirit.
3. It will by my purpose to show that the sinner who has faith in Christ is declared righteous by our Maker. This will involve the study of the two words which make up the subject: Imputed and Righteousness.
3. I also would like to introduce some historical material which should give a good background for such a study.
I. A STATEMENT OF THE ISSUE:
B. Since the entrance of sin into the world, humanity needs justification
and righteousness and he has
not the power to get it without God's help.
2. But God has made the way possible, through His Son's death. (Read Romans 3:21-26).
b. Thus this is faith that obeys that God requires.
(1) "According to James faith without works is dead; according
to Paul faith is all-sufficient for salvation.
"The solution of the whole problem is provided by Paul himself
in a single phrase. In Ga. 5:6, he says,
C. This faith is imputed or reckoned or accounted unto or for or as righteousness.
b. In the passage of Rom. 4, Paul shows that the believer shows his faith and that his faith is (eis), i.e., 'unto' or in order to righteousness.
"...on the basis of his faith, he may forgive his sins and thus constitute him a righteous person." - R.L. Whiteside.
c. Faith that obeys is in order to righteousness and is no work of merit.
2. There is a negative aspect:
3. The phrase "impute righteousness" is the same as God saying, "I justify man.
II. THE VIEWS MEN HAVE TAKEN: (Chart)
III. THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:
C. The Arminians:
3. They denied, "the imputation of our sins to Christ or of His righteousness to us. - Warfield, p. 267
D. The Council of Trent:
IV. DEFINITION OF TERMS INVOLVED:
2. Cremer: "denotes the act of pronouncing righteous, justification, acquittal; its precise meaning is determined by that of the verb dikaioo, to justify...for the most part absolutely--to settle or decree what is right, to recognize as right, to reckon as right...to recognize, to set forth, as righteous, to justify...as used by Paul, denotes nothing else than the judicial act of God, whereby man is pronounced free from guilt and punishment, and is thus recognized or represented as a righteous man." - Lexicon, p. 195ff.
3. Robinson: "to declare righteous" p. 185. "of character, conduct, and the like, the being just as one should be, i.e. rectitude, uprightness, righteousness, virtue." Ibid. p. 184.
4. Used in opposition to iniquity. "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity." (Hb 1:9).
5. Thirty four things the N.T. Teaches about Righteousness:
V. THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM (Rom. 4:1-8)
2. Text does not say that God reckoned righteousness to Abraham because of his faith . . ."
4. No passage in all the Bible teaches that the righteousness or character of another is transferred, attributed to, accounted a or imputed to another person.
b. Meyer's own view: "Even in the pisteuein Theo (believed God) on the part of Abraham Paul has rightly discerned nothing substantial! different from the Christian pistis (Cp. Delitzsch), since Abraham's faith had reference to the divine promise, and indeed to t promise which he, the man trusted by God and enlightened by God, recognized as that which embraced in it the future Messiah. Jn viii. 56)."
5. Macknight's view: "In judging Abraham, God placed on the one side of the account his duties, and on the other his performances. And on the side of his performances he will place his faith, and by mere favour will value it as equal to a complete performance of his duties, and reward him as if he were a righteous person. But neither here, nor in Gal. iii. 6 is it said that Christ's righteousness was counted to Abraham. In both passages the expression is, 'Abraham believed God, and it, (viz., his believing God), was counted to him for righteousness:' and ver. 9 of this chapter, 'We affirm faith was counted to Abraham for righteousness.' Also Gen. xv. 6, 'And he believed God and he counted it to him for righteousness.' See Rom. iv. 22,23,24. Farther, as it is nowhere said in Scripture, that Christ's righteousness was imputed to Abraham, so neither is it said anywhere, that Christ's righteousness is imputed to believers. In short, the uniform doctrine of the scripture is, that the believer's 'faith is counted to him for righteousness,' by the mere grace or favour of God through Jesus Christ; that is, on account of what Christ hath done to procure that favour for them. This is very different from the doctrine of those who hold, that by having faith imputed or counted for righteousness, the believer becomes perfectly righteous; whether they mean thereby that faith is itself a perfect righteousness, or that it is the instrument of conveying to the believer the perfect righteousness of another. With respect to the first, it is not true that faith is a perfect righteousness; for if it were, justification would not be a free gift, but a debt. And with respect to the second supposition, although the perfect righteousness of another were conveyed to a sinner by faith, it would not make him perfectly righteous; because it is beyond the power of Omnipotence itself, by any means whatever, by making persons not to have sinned, who actually hath sinned. And yet, unless this is done, no believer can be perfectly righteous. On account of the perfect righteousness of another, God indeed may treat one as if he were perfectly righteous, but that is all. Nor does the Scripture carry the matter further."
6. An Honest admission by a Baptist scholar:
"But the scriptures do not in explicit phrase speak of imputing
to the believer, and probably all that is meant by this expression is that we, believing
and trusting in him, are justified and saved through and on the ground of the merits of
- Commentary on the Ep. to Romans, by Albert N. Arnold & D.B. Ford
American Commentary Series. (Under the editorship of Alveh Hovey.
1. Great theme from the scriptures, but one that has been misused and the extremes that have risen out of these abuses have led to much sin, indifference and division among those professing to follow Christ.
2. Christ is to us righteousness, when we appropriate that to our selves by complying from the heart to those absolute conditions He demands. (I Cor. 1:30). We are saved by His resurrected life when we obey Him and cast our entire future to the path of faith that finally leads to eternal portals into a glory that will bewilder the mind of the greatest on earth.
Psa. 118:19-20: "Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous will enter through it."
From Keil & Deilitsch
"In what way did Abram make known his faith in Jehovah? And in what way did Jehovah count it to him as righteousness? The reply to both questions must not be sought in the New Testament, but must be given or indicated in the context. What reply did Abram make on receiving the promise, or what did he do in consequence? When God, to confirm the promise, declared Himself to be Jehovah, who brought him out of Ur of the Chaldees to give him that land as a possession, Abram replied, 'Lord, whereby shall I know that I shall possess it?' God then directed him to 'fetch a heifer of three years old,' etc.; and Abram fetched the animals required, and arranged them (as we may certainly suppose, though it is not expressly stated) as God commanded him, Abram gave a practical proof that he believed Jehovah; and what God did with the animals so arranged was a practical declaration on the part of Jehovah, that He reckoned this faith to Abram as righteousness. The significance of the divine act is, finally summed up in ver. 18, in the words, 'On that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram.' Consequently Jehovah reckoned Abram's faith to him as righteousness, by making a covenant with him, by taking Abram into covenant fellowship with Himself. from to continue and preserve, to be firm and to confirm, in Hiphil to trust, believe (pisteuein), expresses 'that state of mind which is sure of its object, and relies firmly upon it;' and as denoting conduct towards God, as 'a firm, inward, personal, self-surrendering reliance upon a personal being, especially upon the source of all being.' it is construed sometimes with (e.g. Deut. ix.23), but more frequently with (Num. xiv.ll, xx.12; Deut. i.32), 'to believe the Lord,' and 'to believe on the Lord,' to trust in Him, --pisteuein eis ton Theon, as the apostle has more correctly rendered the episteusen---to Theo of the LXX. (via. Rom. iv.5). Faith there is not merely assensus, but fiducia also, unconditional trust in the Lord and His word, even where the natural course of events furnishes no ground for hope or expectation. This faith Abram manifested, as the apostle has shown in Rom. iv.; and this faith God reckoned to him as righteousness by the actual conclusion of a covenant with him. , righteousness, as a human characteristic, is correspondence to the will of God both in character and conduct, or a state answering to the divine purpose of a man's being. This was the state in which man was first created in the image of God; but it was lost by sin, through which he placed himself in opposition to the will of God and to his own divinely appointed destiny, and could only be restored by God. When the human race had universally corrupted its way, Noah alone was found righteous before God (vii.l), because he was blameless and walked with God (vi.9). This righteousness Abram acquired through his unconditional trust in the Lord, his undoubting faith in His promise, and his ready obedience to His words __________ was reckoned to him as righteousness, so that God treated him as a righteous man, and formed such a relationship with him, that he was placed in living fellowship with God. The foundation of this relationship was laid in the manner described in ver. 7-11."
- Clarkes Foreign Theological Library, 3rd Series, Keil and Delitzsch on the Pentateuch, Vol. I.
Infused: "to put (qualities, etc.) in, as by pouring; instill; impart. to fill; pervade; imbue, inspire."
Impute: "to attribute (something, especially a crime or fault) to another; charge with, ascribe to. 2. In theology, to ascribe (good or evil) to a person as coming from another."
Infused Righteousness: Justification implies a state in which the sinner, by reason of the redemption in Christ, is acceptable to God. Some teach that God makes the sinner righteous by infusing the righteousness of Christ into him
"The grace of God is that supernatural assistance which He imparts to us, through the merits of Jesus Christ, for our salvation. It is called supernatural, because no one by his own natural ability can acquire it...The grace of God is obtained chiefly by prayer and the sacraments...A sacrament is a visible sign instituted by Christ by which grace is conveyed to our souls." - Faith of our Fathers, n. 218
This is INFUSED RIGHTEOUSNESS
"But how, precisely, does Christ become my Redeemer? How can I personally get into contact with the efficacy of His suffering and death? When He died, I myself did not exist: neither my soul, nor my sin, nor my strange craving for felicity. How, then, are His merits to be applied to me individually? How is the very depth of His humiliation to become for me personally the starting point of my ascent? How do I reach my own happiness? The answer is that by means of faith and the sacraments, the efficacy of Christ's redemptive suffering is conveyed to me; through these realities a bond is forged between myself and Christ in God."
A Handbook of the Catholic Faith, page 246.
"And justification, being thus contrasted with condemnation, must mean pardon for sins committed and deliverance from condemnation incurred: such pardon and deliverance are implied in imputed righteousness, but not in infused or imparted righteousness. St. Paul's teaching, therefore, appears to be that the justification of the sinner is effected by the imputing to him the righteousness of Christ " Benham, Dictionary of the Bible.
INFUSED VIRTUES (Catholic Theology):
SECTION I. THE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES Of Catholicism).
Article 1. The Theological Virtues in General
(508) What is a theological virtue?
A theological virtue is one whose immediate object is man's supernatural end--namely God, to whom it directly leads him.
(509) How many theological virtues are there?
There are three theological virtues--faith, hope and charity.
(510) Can the theological virtues be acquired by our natural acts?
The theological virtues cannot be acquired by our merely natural acts, for of their very nature they are supernatural; consequently God alone infused them together with His sanctifying grace.
(511) When are theological virtues infused?
Theological virtues are infused into a person at the moment when he acquires justification and the remission of his sins, whether by the Sacrament of Baptism or by an act of contrition accompanied by a desire to receive that Sacrament.
(512) Are the theological virtues necessary for salvation?
The theological virtues are absolutely necessary for salvation, for without them the right direction of mind and will towards our supernatural end is impossible.
(513) Which is the greatest of the theological virtues?
The greatest of the theological virtues is charity, which is "the perfection of the law" and will not cease even in Heaven.
(514) When are we bound to make acts of faith, hope and charity?
We are bound to make at least implicit acts of faith, hope, and charity often during life, especially when after attaining the use of reason we have sufficient knowledge of Divine Revelation; more particularly, too, when such acts are requisite in order to fulfill some obligation or to overcome temptation, also when in danger of death.
"Hence in justification itself a person, together with the remission of his sins, receives simultaneously infused into him through Jesus Christ--into whom he is engrafted--all the following: faith, hope and charity. For faith, unless there be added to it hope and charity, does not perfectly unite a person with Christ, nor does it make him a living member of His Body; whence it is most truly said that faith without works is dead and unprofitable."
-Council of Trent, Sess. vi. Decretum de Justification. ch. vii.
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