Thursday, May 18, 2006

Why i love the doctrine of imputation

But the free gift is not like the trespass.
For is many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.
And the free gift is not like the result of that one mans sin.
For the judgement following one trespass bought condemnation, but the free gift following man trespasses bought justification.
omans 6:15-16

I've recently read 'Counted righteous in Christ' by John Piper. A tremendous, but difficult book. If you consider that a normal Piper book contains a meal on every page, when you factor in a lot of NT greek, it's easier to understand what a challenge trying to read this book is. It seems that it was inspired by a debate going on in America about the doctrine of imputation, that is, whether we are 'just' forgiven, or whether we are also made right with God, whether in other words, Christ's perfect obidience and life is somehow counted to us, seen in us by God. Now, i really, really believe in imputation. I really believe that all those whoa re saved are made right with God by God, and that by the imputation of Christ's perfect righteousness. I don't think this waters down how amazing forgiveness is, being forgiven is amazing, but i believe it speaks hugely of God's grace, and magnifies His glory. I think its great because, in much the same way as election, its got none of me in it. Romans 5 was also preached on at RUCU on thursday, and lot of this comes from that.

Imputed not infused.
I don't want to confuse imputation, and infusion. Righteousness was 'counted' to Abraham in Genesis 15:6, it doesn't say that 'Abraham believed in God, and he became righteous because of it' says counted. I believe that i am counted righteous in Christ, a bold statement if ever there was one from a sinner like me, counted righteous because of the work of Christ in life, death, resurection, election and imputation, this doesn't mean that i think that somehow i am righteous like Christ. My faith does not give me the ability to make myself right with God. No. For that i need Christ, and Christ's righteousness imputed, counted to me. I can't do it myself. Christ's righteousness is not the car that starts me on the road to being right with God. It is the car, the road, the journey, the destinstion, the get the idea!

Adam and Christ.
We say that Christians are 'born into sin', now that obviously causes problems when those who have not had the chance to repent die...all i want to say about that is that God is just, more just than we can conceive, and leave it at that. I think thats enough. When Adam sinned, humanity fell. Not just Adam and Eve, but all of us. When that apple as pulled from the tree, we were all for it. Adam is a real person. He lived like we live, saw sunsets, sunrises, felt grass against his bare feet. He's not a metaphor, or a picture. He can't be. Adam in Eden was our representative, he was the head of mankind. It is his sin in the garden imputed to us, that causes us to be born into sin, that causes us to, by nature want to sin, and ignore the clearly obvious attributes of God. Adam, 6:14 tells us, was a type of one who was to come. He was a type of head, of representative. He was a type of Jesus. And it is this flipside that gives me my confidence on the doctribe of imputation. Paul follows up that sentance with the verses quoted above...many died due to the trespass, many more will live due to the free gift, the work of Christ on the cross. As when we are born we are born into sin, hopelessly condemned by Adam, and then ourselves, so when we are reborn, we a reborn into righteousness...we makes us desire what is right, which means we are forgiven, and right with God. He can not look upon that which is not right with Him, so He has to do something about it, and that something, is imputed the righteousness of Christ into us.

Imputation is all of God.
Imputation, like election, is all of God. I can not impute Christ's righteousness into myself, neither can i become righteous by myself. I can not earn it, neither can i deserve it. But all the work is Christs. He dies, He rises He imputes. This is drenched in grace. It's all about Him...none of me, all of Him. This can only be good news!

It magnifies God's glory.
Simple as that. It makes Him look glorious, because He's in charge. If i can claim credit for even 1% of my salvation, God is no longer soveriegn, and therefore no longer God. And i want God to be in charge, because He is amazing. God is gracious, and merciful, and just. We can not save ourselves, and we can not live by ourselves.

It maximises human security.
In much the same way as election, it maxises our security. We can not damage the righteousness of Christ, because, as Bunyan says joyfully, 'He is safe in heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father. He depends neither on my good moods or my bad. And He is my righteousness'. We are saved by grace, imputation shows us that so clearly, and grace will not let us go, neither will our right-ness with God change, because Jesus is in Heaven.

It attacks human pride.
None of me. None of you. None of them. All of Christ. My heart is a shipwreck, a car crash, you don't have to know me that well to know that. And the more of God's glory in the face of Christ that is graciously revealed to me, the more i realise this, and the more humbled i hope i am, and the more i realise how utterly dependant i am on Christ.


Welshie said...

Thanks for sharing that Ed.

God's kinda amaaaaaaaaazin eh?!

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