Vol.XII No.III Pg.5
May 1975

Imputed Righteousness

Robert F. Turner

PRESENT TRUTH is a publication with Australian and California bases of operation, which proposes to teach us Bible and Reformation truths re. justification, sanctification, etc. Their material is attractive and well presented, and some preachers and brethren who should know better are being taken in by their appeal. In a recent tract: Justification, Catholicism Vs Protestantism; Mr. Brinsmead says t h e reformers rediscovered Pauls doctrine of Justification by faith... that the sinner is not justified by an infused righteousness but by an imputed righteousness — meaning a righteousness that is found wholly in Another. He says there are two aspects of redemption: Christs work for us, and the Holy Spirits work in us. Of Christs work he says Jesus lived a perfect life for us, and He died for our sins. For some strange reason, he only cites scriptures for the second part.

To be justified one must be free of guilt. Once we have sinned (and all sin) no amount of doing good can remove previous guilt; so, there is no justifying merit in our obedience, such as it is. But this does not warrant the fanciful doctrine that Christs righteous life had to be imputed to us. Every passage given in support of such an idea actually pointed to forgiveness of mans sin, made possible through the death of Christ (Rom. 3:21-28; 4:4-11; Gal. 2:20; etc.). All references to justification without works were such as Rom. 4:1-8, where the contrast is between perfect (meritorious) obedience, with forgiveness provided; and the system of faith, which looks to Christ and His blood for forgiveness. The Old Testament types and shadows point to atonement and propitiation for sin — the payment of its price. And the New Testament pictures Christ as the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29). Neither type nor antitype call for justifying meritorious works — on our part or on Christs part. Christs perfect life made Him the acceptable offering (Heb. 7:26-28), who ever liveth to make intercession for us. For these imputed righteousness saved by his life people, Paul wasted his ink when he wrote, Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works (i.e., perfect, rt) saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven.. . (Rom. 4:6-8)

What difference does it make how God saves the faithful? The modus operandi of God would be only a theological question, of passing interest, were it not for consequences of this matter. These fellows are really leading their readers into a denial of mans capacity or ability to come to God in obedience to invitation. Their theology demands a sovereignty of God that can not tolerate genuine free agency on the part of man, and sees todays man as having a totally depraved nature that is helpless before any command of God. This theology demands some form of individual election, and some form of direct operation of Gods Spirit upon the heart of the elected individual. This is no more PRESENT TRUTH than it was when the Hebrew writer said Christ is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. (Heb. 5:9)