The Bible says in Romans 3:21-23: “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.”
Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from A.C. Dixon. He said: “We need a quickening of faith; faith in the power of the God of Pentecost to convict and convert three thousand in a day. Faith, not in a process of culture by which we hope to train children into a state of salvation, but faith in the mighty God who can quicken a dead soul into life in a moment; faith in moral and spiritual revolution rather than evolution.”
Our topic today is titled The Verdict: Not Guilty (Part 2) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.
HOW CAN SINNERS BE RIGHTEOUS?
If justification does not make us righteous, what does? Also, if we cannot make ourselves righteous enough to satisfy a holy God, what hope is there that anyone can ever be justified? Will God have to condemn all people? Can He lower His standards enough to let some into heaven? Or is there some way He can change the sinner into a truly righteous person so that He can truly announce it so? As mentioned earlier, it is the latter course of action that He takes.
And how does God do that? By joining us to Jesus Christ when we believe. And because, then, we are in Christ, we have His perfect righteousness imputed to us; that is, placed on our account, so that we are in reality righteous in God’s sight.
Impute is the key word. It means “to place to the account of.” Perhaps the best illustration of imputation is the story told in the book of Philemon. Onesimus, the slave who ran away from his master Philemon in Colosse, found Paul and received Christ in Rome. At that point, Paul asked Onesimus to return to his master, assuring Philemon in a letter he sent along with the former slave that “if he [Onesimus] has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account.” Likely this indicates that Onesimus had stolen property or money from Philemon when he ran away. In other words, Paul assured Philemon that he would pay whatever was necessary so that Onesimus need not be charged for anything he may have owed. Similarly, God imputes or puts on the believer’s account the righteousness of Christ, so that in His sight we are completely righteous and He can announce it as so.