Imputation, Chapter Five
The great Apostle Paul made a very profound statement in Rom. 4:20-25 when he said about Abraham,
"He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it (his faith) was imputed to him for righteousness.
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."
We live in a world that is filled with rules and regulations and laws that we must obey and as a result we have become accustom to living by laws. It is then natural when we read the New Testament to view the teachings of Jesus as laws that we must follow if we are to be pleasing to God. However, Jesus came to fulfill the Law and set us free from it's bondage. It is very difficult for most who have been raised to follow the Ten Commandments to come out from under the bondage that the Law causes. Paul had a lot to say about the Law and you can even see his tendency to rely upon the Law in his writings. He talked about the Law in Rom. 3:19-31,
"Now we know that what things so ever the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? No: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Wow! What a powerful passage of scripture! Paul's understanding of the Gospel is profound and so different from what the Jews were brought up under. It is no wonder the Jews from Jerusalem were constantly following Paul around and stirring the people up with their law of circumcision they wanted to put the people into bondage with.
The Law was given to Israel in order to reveal sin or to bring sin out into the open where all could see and understand how guilty they are before God because of their inability to obey the Law. Guilt is the consequence of those who want to live by Law. Even though the Law is good, because of the weakness of the flesh or this body we live in, it brought forth guilt and the consciousness of sin. I have had people say to me on their death bed that they were not sure if they would go to heaven because of some of the things that they have done in this life. This is the consequence of living under Law. It brings about self-righteousness and the bondage of having to live up to the standard of the Law.
When Jesus died on the cross He took us out from under the rules of the Law and put us under the Law of Grace which operates by our faith in what He has done for us. Paul said in Eph. 2:8-9,
" For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."††
We have been told that the word 'grace' means unmerited favor and it does but it also means that God has imputed His grace or favor to us by the faith He has given to us to believe Him!!! Yes, that is right! Even the faith we have to believe God He has given to us! Faith is a living active thing and it has the ability to grow and become strong even as Abraham's faith did as Paul said in Rom. 4:20-22,
"He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."
Peter understood this and said in 2 Pet. 1:2-4,
"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
Our father has given us everything we need to have His kind of life and godliness which is eternal. Jesus said in John 10:10,
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
We have been given this abundant life through the faith that the Lord has given†† us to believe Him. We are righteous because He is righteous. My plea to you today is what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Cor. 15:34,
" Awake to righteousness, and sin not!"
You are not a sinner saved by grace! You once were a sinner but are no longer! You are a child of God and have been saved by His unlimited mercy and grace. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Paul said in† 2 Cor. 5:20-21,
"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christís stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Because you are righteous, it is normal for you to walk in righteousness and the desire of your heart is that of righteousness. The teachings of Jesus are not that of Law but that of instructions of how to live righteously in this world. Paul said to his young disciple Timothy in 2 Tim. 3:16-17,
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
We must understand that we are righteous because He is righteous and we are in Him and He is in us!