Friday, July 27, 2012


Is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by faith, or imparted to us by works?

This seems to be a focal point of disagreement among Jesus' followers.

According to theologian John Trapp, righteousness is both:

1) In Christ for us, achieved by His value and merit. This is imputed righteousness, and is our justification.

2) In us from Christ, achieved by the Spirit of Jesus working virtue through us. This is imparted righteousness, and serves as our progressive sanctification.

Imputed righteousness means Jesus lived the life I could never live, paid the price I could never pay, removes my filthy rags of sinfulness and puts on me His robes of righteousness by grace through faith. Jesus never sinned, yet on the cross He became sin, to make me the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is also called the Great Exchange. On the cross, God treated Jesus as though He had lived my sinful life, so this day God treats me as though I had lived Jesus' perfect life. Imputed righteousness is purchased by the blood of Jesus, accepted by grace through faith apart from works.

Imparted righteousness, however, means that I begin to look, talk, and behave like Jesus on an everyday, down to earth level. If I am truly regenerate, I will demonstrate Christ's imputed righteousness to me by Christ's imparted righteousness through me. Or to phrase it another way, I will demonstrate my faith by my works (because faith that does not result in action is deader than a door-nail).

To understand the Christian faith, we must embrace both righteousness in us from Christ unto justification, but also strive in the Holy Spirit's power for righteousness like Christ's unto sanctification.

For imputed righteousness that is not also imparted is no righteousness at all.

All this righteousness, justification, and holiness, we receive in, by, for, and through Him, as the grand, sacrificial, procuring, and meritorious cause of these, and every other blessing.
- Adam Clarke

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