Two Imputations

Monday, Mar. 6                          

Jesus made the point that he did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.  Mt. 5:17.  Why is that important?  First, it means that he lived a sinless life, which was necessary in order to be a substitute for our sins.    His death and resurrection provided atonement for all who would believe.  Atonement means that payment for man’s sins has been made and accepted by a holy God.  Theologians call that “imputation of sin,” i.e. that our sins are transferred to Christ.  But there’s a second imputation, the “imputation of righteousness.”  Christ’s righteousness is transferred to us.  That double imputation takes place at the point of  believing in Christ for salvation.  Christ takes on our sins and gives us righteousness in return—both accomplished by his death and resurrection.  The first declares that we are not condemned; we are spared from eternal damnation and are bound for heaven.  The second declares that we are holy, called “sanctification”—which enables us to live a godly life as a witness to Christ’s work of redemption.  Both take place when saving grace through faith takes place.  Both are certain and irrevocable.  But it still leaves us with a problem.  The sin nature, though seen as “dead” by God, is still active, and we don’t perform as though we are holy.  Paul deals with this in Romans 7-8.  He asserts that we are not condemned (Rom. 8:1), and goes on to describe God’s provision for living a godly life—the indwelling Holy Spirit.  But here God leaves it up to the “sinner become saint” to choose whether or not to walk in the Spirit.  This is a day by day, moment by moment choice—and where we often fail.  God has done his part.  We need to use the tools he’s given us.

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