Imputation, Chapter Two
The foundation scripture for our study is what Paul had to say 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."
The point that I want to emphasize over and over is the fact that we are righteous because we believe God who raised Jesus Christ our Lord up from the dead. We are not righteous because of something we have done in the way of works. In no way am I doing away with works. Works is a natural expression of what we believe because we will express what we believe but it is what we believe that justifies us in God's sight. Faith is an expression of what we believe. Paul said in Rom. 10:6-13, (NIV)
"Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that is by faith says: “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The Law emphasized an outward expression of rules and regulations but did nothing to change who we really are on the inside. Then Jesus came along and He said in Matt. 12:34-37,
"O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned."
Jesus came along and made us aware of who we really are. Until He came along we had no idea that we are spiritual beings. Jesus went to the heart of who we are by dealing with the real hidden man of the heart. He said many times, "It is written but I say unto you!" For example in Matt. 5:27-28,
" You have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart."
Paul said in Rom. 4:4-8,
"Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted (Imputed) for righteousness. Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. (Psalm 32:1) Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
This is so hard for the carnal mind to accept because the carnal mind can understand Law. With Law the carnal mind can do something that will build it's pride in what it has accomplished and will attempt to establish it's own righteousness by what it has done. The end result is that we think that God owes us something because of what we have done. Jesus talked about this in Matt. 7:21-23,
"Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name and in your name have cast out devils and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
This is a very hard saying of Jesus because the carnal mind wants to be accepted by what it has been able to do for Jesus. There are two words here Jesus used that holds the key to understanding what He meant by this proclamation. The first word is the Greek word interpreted as 'knew'. This word means to have an intimate relationship with someone such as a husband knowing his wife in the marriage act. Jesus was saying here that these people did not have a personal relationship with Him and were doing their own thing.
The other word we want to look at is the word interpreted as 'iniquity'. This word comes from a Greek word 'anomia' which means illegality, that is, violation of law or (generally) wickedness:—iniquity, X transgress (-ion of) the law, unrighteousness.
If we seek to be justified by our own works we are denying the righteousness that comes from just believing God. The Lord made it so simple that the carnal mind wants to add to what Jesus has done by requiring us to live by some Law or guideline that Jesus gave us. This puts us under bondage and takes away our freedom. Paul said in Gal. 5:1-6,
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if you are circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love."
If you are depending upon what you have been able to do for Jesus and how well you have been able to obey His commandments, you have fallen from grace and put yourself into bondage. There is no freedom in this because you know that you often fail to live up to the standards that the Law requires. As a result of this you have a sin consciousness and are constantly asking God to forgive you because you are unable to live up to what you think are His requirements.
Grace is given to us by the Lord if we believe that because He is righteous we also are righteous, not because of what we have done, but because of what He has done. We rest not in our ability to be righteous but in His ability to be righteous. This is so simple and simply asks that we trust God. We are just asked to put our trust in what He has done and rest there.
Does this mean that I can do whatever I please and God will forgive me? I will answer this question next Chapter.