Christianity 201

August 12, 2016

3 Types of Righteousness

Today, we’re paying a return visit to Wade Burleson at Istoria Ministries. Click the title below to read at source.

Imputed, Imparted, and Imbedded Righteousness

Righteousness is a big, important word that  conveys one of the life’s most vital concepts.

The Bible declares that God is righteous.  “O LORD, God of Israel, You are righteous!” (Ezra 9:15). “The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion” (Psalms 116:5). The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made” (Psalms 145:17).

The Hebrew word translated righteousness has as its root the meaning of “right” or “straight.” The Old English word used to translate the Hebrew word was “oughtness.” God is right. God is straight. God is as He ought to be.

To be righteous is to be right. It is to be a person who is not crooked in character or conduct. However, because of sin in all of us, there is “no one righteous, no not one.” (Romans 3:10). Nobody is as we ought to be. We are not righteous in character, and we are not holy in conduct. Holiness is but the outward expression of internal righteousness, and without holiness “no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrew 12:14).

How then, does a sinner become righteous in the eyes of God?

Imputed Righteousness

The word “impute” means to “credit to an account” of another. It is an accounting term. When God imputes righteousness, it means that God credits “righteousness” to the account of a sinner. How can I be seen by God as “righteous” when both God and I know that that I’m a sinner.

“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:22).

God credits me with perfect righteousness when I believe in Christ. My trust (faith) is credited as righteousness to me” (Romans 4:22).

“I am found in Christ, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” (Philippians 3:9).

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17).

You are declared righteous by God through the gift of His righteousness given to all those with faith in Christ.

Imparted Righteousness

“Imparted righteousness” identifies the internal work of God when He regenerates those who trust in Christ. Believers in Christ become “partakers of the divine nature” (cf. 2 Peter 1:4). It is this principle of righteousness imparted to men in regeneration which is ever in conflict with the old Adamic nature.

It is critical, however, to maintain the distinction between the “imputed righteousness” of Christ which is the basis for justification and this “imparted righteousness” which may be seen as the basis for subsequent sanctification.

Imbedded Righteousness

For all you English majors out there, imbedded is a legitimate variant spelling of embedded.

To be imedded means “to fix into a surrounding mass; or to incorporate as an essential part or characteristic.” 

When something is imbedded, it cannot be removed. The characteristics of that which is imbedded are seen in the mass in which it is imbedded. For example, when red dye is imbedded into plastic, you have red plastic. When paint is imbedded into canvas, you have art. When righteousness is imbedded into a sinner, you have a person who begins to pursue what is right.

In essence, nobody has warrant to say they have been given the gift of imputed righteousness, and have in them the presence of imparted righteousness, until they life a life that shows evidence of imbedded righteousness. 

Nobody who knows Christ continues in their sin. We all sin. We who have received the righteousness of Christ have righteousness imbedded within us, and therefore, the characteristics of living right are always present – for we can’t help it.

It’s imbedded within our DNA as followers of Jesus.

1 Comment »

  1. This writing is interesting but the terms “imparted” and “imbedded” righteousness are troublesome as far as the interpretation of the scriptures is concerned. Both concepts seem to be an effort to relieve humankind of any responsibility for his or her own righteousness and assure its presence in the confessor.

    The writer has rightly referenced 2 Peter 1:4 when he states that “believers in Christ become ‘partakers of the divine nature.’” “Imparted” in this case means informed or communication is given regarding righteousness. Not only is the believer informed about the means of righteousness, he has been told in verse 3 that “his divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him” so that we can participate in his divine nature. The believer has not had righteousness imparted to him, but the knowledge of righteousness. He has been given all that he needs for life and godliness, not life and godliness. The believer must practice righteousness through the knowledge that has been “imparted” to him.

    The word “believer” must also be considered. A believer is not one who gives consent to the teachings of Christ, but he or she is one who commits all to honouring them, to living them out, to being obedient to him.

    The teaching of “embedded righteousness” is of greater concern. To clarify, if the writer means entrenched righteousness, righteousness that is with the believer because of his or her fixed practice of obedience to the Spirit, then the word “embedded” may have merit. There is no place in the scriptures that speaks of “embedded righteousness,” certainly not along the nature of it’s being imbedded within our DNA.

    The Word does not present that “nobody who knows Christ continues to sin.” It says, “No one who lives in Christ keeps on sinning.” (1 Jn 3:6, NIV) There is a huge difference between a person “knowing Christ” and “living in Christ.” Knowing is passive but living is active. Righteousness comes through obedience to the Spirit (Rom 8:4) and it is for this reason that Christ taught that the believer had to be firm/faithful “to the end” in order to be saved. (Mt 10:22) Christ did not sin and will not sin, therefore, it is impossible for those living in him to sin. All sin, but no one needs to sin because of the provision made for them and when he or she does sin, it cannot be said that they are “in him.” In John 15 the Lord taught that it is possible for a person to not remain in him.

    The real issue concerning righteousness is the means by which it is obtained since righteousness leads to a state of holiness (Rom 6:19, 22) and without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Heb 12:14) Paul taught that it came through the Spirit (Gal 5:5) and that believers have become “slaves to righteousness.” (Rom 6:18, NIV) Slavery is not passive. A slave is one who is owned by another and who must obey the commands of that one.) He also taught that believers needed to “work out their own salvation with fear and trembling…so that they can become blameless and pure children of God without fault.” (Phil 2:12…15, NIV) Jesus told his listeners “to make every effort to enter through the narrow door.” (Lk 12:24, NIV) and Matthew records that the Lord said, “only a few find it.” (Mt 7:14, NIV) Righteousness comes through an obedient walk in the light through the Spirit; it is not embedded like in a person’s DNA and it cannot be assumed that Christ will accomplish it in a person’s life without their participation.

    Comment by Russell Young — August 15, 2016 @ 10:09 am | Reply

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