I really struggle with the idea that we Christians have been “MADE” righteous by God through the process of having been “Imputed” Christ’ righteousness. There seems to be loads of confusion swirling around this subject. For example; how do we define “righteous”? Is “righteous” a reference to someone’s moral standing, as in “perfect”? Or should we define “righteous” as someone’s relative moral standing, as in a “righteous character with occasional flaws”? Or is “righteous” a word we use to describe someones temporal moral standing, as in being righteous until one sins and then repenting in order to be righteous again? Or is “righteous” to be understood in a more contextual manner, that someone is righteous regarding a specific thing? Are there various stages to being “righteous” so that it could be said that one person is more righteous then another person?
Next we have to deal with the issue of confusion revolving around the word “justification” as it relates to “righteousness”. Do these two words communicate the same thing? Or is there a notable difference between these two words?
And finally we need to deal with the word “imputation” itself. What does “impute” mean? Is imputation a “physical or spiritual transfer of something from one person onto another”? Or does it mean to “declare”, “consider” or “reckon” something onto someone? In other words, to put this question in some sort of context, does “impute” mean that every person has actually received or committed Adam’s original sin so that you and I are actually guilty of committing Adam’s sin apart from any sin we might commit? In light of Romans 5, are you and I then “imputed” Christ’s rightesousness in light of his faithful obedience to God on the cross, dying in our place? If this is the case, is “righteous” then defined as a faithful obedience to God in the context of dying on the cross so that it could be said, Christ died on the cross and I received his righteousness in that act so that any sins or disobedient lifestyles I choose to live today are irrevelent? In this way I have been “MADE” (i.e. imputed) righteous, regardless of a sinful lifestyle. Is this what imputated righteousness (i.e. the doctrine of “Imputation”) boils down too?
How can we be “made righteous” (a moral reality) when in actual reality we are not living righteous lives (actual moral reality)?
These and other questions I’ll be exploring over the next few weeks.