Imputation, Chapter Four

 

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."

 

Wow! What a powerful and almost unbelievable statement by Paul! If we believe that there is a God and that He raised up Jesus from the dead He will consider us righteous! This is very hard for the carnal mind to accept because of it's ego. The carnal mind wants to be involve in everything which puffs up it's self importance and gives it something to brag about. It wants to brag about what it has done and get praise from people and from God.

 

Almost any church you might attend today will tell you all the things that you must do if you want to go to heaven when you die. If you ask the leaders in most churches what you must do to be saved they will tell you that you must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that God raised Him from the dead and then they will start to burden you down with a bunch of things that you must do and things that you can't do and they will remind you each week of the sins that you may have committed and even the sins that are unforgiven.

 

This makes what Paul said almost unbelievable. He said that Abraham was considered righteous in the eyes of God just because He believed God. And Paul said that God imputed righteousness to Abraham and that He will do the same for us if we believe that He raised His Son from the dead. 

 

Just what did Paul mean by saying that because Abraham believed God his faith was rewarded by God imputing righteousness to him? The word 'impute' means to consider, to reckon, to count, or to esteem. Because Abraham's faith was so strong that he believed whatever God said to him and his faith was considered by God as righteousness.

 

What does the word 'righteousness' mean? This word comes from a Greek word 'dikaios' which means, equitable (in character or act); and by implication, innocent, holy, (absolutely or relatively); it means that someone is just or right (-eous).

 

Then what Paul was saying is that it was because Abraham believed God it was counted by God that Abraham was innocent and justified in the eyes of God. Paul also said that if we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead then God would impute righteousness to us because we believe in Him!

 

Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, prophesied in Luke 1:68-75, (NIV)

 

"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days."

 

In the last chapter I shared with you what Paul said about the Law in Gal. 3:11,

 

"No man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith."   

 

Our debt has been paid but most Christians believe they must still pay for their sins because they have been taught this. With this attitude you insult Jesus because He paid your debt in full! With a sin consciousness you come before the Lord with a sense of shame because you feel guilty and you beg Him to do something that He has already done! God hates sin consciousness for this very reason, because we don't believe Him! Sin consciousness brings about guilt and condemnation, however, Paul said in Rom. 8:1,

 

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

 

Paul here calls the Law a law of sin and death because that is what it brought about because of our inability to obey it. The Law was and is a good standard to live by but the problem is that it points out our mistakes and does not have the power to save us because of the weaknesses of our flesh.

 

Paul said in 2 Cor. 3:6-9,

 

"Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraved in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory." 

 

Paul here calls the Law the ministration of death and yet it was glorious. Why did he call it the ministration of death? Because the letter of the Law brings about death and condemnation. However, the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus brings life, peace, faith and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Rom. 8:1, Gal. 5:22)

 

Paul said in Col. 2:13-15, (NIV)

 

"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 
having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

 

Another powerful statement by Paul. When the world was dead to God and in their sins, God made them alive with Christ by forgiving them of their sins. How did He accomplish this? He took away the Law! He canceled the written code (Law), with it's regulations that stood opposed to us! He took it and nailed it to the cross. He took it away and gave us in return His grace because of what Jesus did for us! Did God make a mistake by giving us all those laws to live by? No!! It was because Israel ask for Law to live by because they didn't want to come near to God. In Exodus 20:18-21 it says,

 

"When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was."

 

God knew that the people were not able to live by Law but in order for sin to be revealed He gave them the Law. Paul talked about the this in Rom. 7:7-13,

 

"What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful."

 

Once the Law came then it gave power to the principalities and forces of evil because they now could bring the people under condemnation because of their failure to fulfill the Law. Satan could now come before God and accuse the people of not obeying God's Law. What was intended to bring life, because of the weakness of their flesh, it actually brought death to them. This brings us back to what Paul said in Col. 2:13-15, (NIV)

 

"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 
having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

 

Jesus said in Matt. 5:17, (NIV)

 

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 

 

Jesus fulfilled the Law by living a sinless life and when He went to the cross the Law was nailed to that cross and canceled because believers no longer have to depend upon their ability to keep the Law but now can depend upon the righteousness of Jesus.

 

By taking away the Law, sin lost it's power over us because it disarmed the powers and authorities. Satan can no longer go before the Lord with his accusations because we are no longer living by Law. Remember in Rom. 7 Paul said,

 

"For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.

 

Does this mean that I no longer need to keep the commandments that Jesus gave us? No!!!! Jesus said in John 14:15,

 

" If you love me, keep my commandments."

 

The point I am trying to make to you is that the commandments of Jesus are not laws! They are instructions on how to live in order to experience eternal life. Our eternal life is not dependent upon our being able to obey them and never break any of them. If we learn to order our life by the commandments of Jesus we will experience love, joy, peace, and be an example to others.

 

Salvation is the easiest thing in the world to experience. Just believe in what God did through Jesus and put your faith in Him. To live a Christian life and always  do what is right in God's sight is the difficult thing to do. However, we are not alone in this quest but God's Spirit now lives within us to both will and do His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13)

 

Jesus made a very profound statement in His sermon on the Mount in Matt. 5:17-20,

 

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.    For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.    Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.    For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

 

Notice that He did not say that the man who shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be cast out of the Kingdom of God and sent to Hell! What did he mean by saying that except your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven? He said this because the Pharisees were living in self righteousness depending upon their ability to obey the Law and Jesus said that your righteousness is based by faith upon what He did and not what you do! 

 

Living the Christian life is something we are able to enjoy every day of our life and we should be growing in our ability to live like Jesus as He continues to reveal His Word to us.