Authors: Bobby Holmes and Mark Roberts
1. Galatians 2:17
2. Romans 4:5-10; 5:1
3. Hebrews 7:22
4. Isaiah 64:6
A. Neo-Calvinists say: “Men are saved by His good works. Jesus is our substitute. We are accounted righteous because Jesus is righteous. The righteousness of Christ clothes the believer with the righteousness the law demands. Man is too corrupt — he can never be righteous on his own.”
B. Passages misused:
Continue reading » Righteousness Imputed
Editor’s Note: Brother Roberts wrote this article in 1979 as a part of his and others’ efforts to battle calvinistic tendencies among brethren. Those tendencies are still present in some today, and make this study as timely now as it was 20 years ago. We commend it to you for that reason, as well as its thorough treatment of the doctrine of Imputation.
The theological system known as Calvinism originated in the voluminous works of John Calvin entitled “Institutes of the Christian Religion.” This man popularized concepts expounded earlier by Martin Luther and others dating back to Augustine (354-430 A.D.). In order to reduce these massive works to proportions that the average student can understand, Calvinism has been summarized into five major points that are usually represented by the acronym “TULIP.” Each of these letters represents one of the five major points taught by John Calvin in his explanation of man’s fall and his redemption. They are: Total hereditary depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace and Perseverance of the saints. The reduction of these concepts into the simplified five points has encouraged many to study this basis of the Protestant Reformation who would not otherwise have been able to do so. Current events within the church of Christ, as well as a revival of Calvinism among Protestant churches, has caused a further study of another of Calvin’s concepts: the imputation of the personal righteousness of Christ to the believer. Without a doubt, Calvin’s idea about imputation is the glue that holds the five points together which were mentioned earlier. Since he denied the ability of man to do anything good due to his inherited depravity, Calvin was convinced that in some manner the personal righteousness of Christ, His moral excellence (in today’s vernacular, the “doing and dying of Jesus”) was transferred to the sinner so that, as man was lost due to Adam’s sin, he was saved due to Christ’s perfection. In this view, Adam’s sin was a corporate sin (involving the whole race and not just himself) while Christ’s perfection was corpporate perfection (involving all believers, not just Himself). As Adam was the fountainhead of sin for lost mankind, Jesus was the fountainhead of righteousness for all believers. And, Calvin taught, since the guilt of Adam became our guilt (by inheritance through the flesh), the righteousness of Christ became our righteousness through a process known as imputation. To be sure, the Bible speaks of imputation and the scheme of redemption includes this as an integral part of our salvation. But there is a vast difference between the scriptural doctrine of imputation and Calvin’s doctrine. We need to be able to grasp the difference between what Calvin taught and what the Bible teaches. To do this, Calvin’s concept of imputation has been summarized in to three main points even as his “Institutes” have been summarized into five points. The three-fold imputations of John Calvin are:
- the imputation of the sins of Adam to mankind,
- the imputation of the sins of mankind to Christ, and
- the imputation of the personal righteousness of Christ to believers. Continue reading » Solid Food: Calvinism’s Three Fold Imputation
“Imputation” describes a process that takes place in the mind of God, without which none of us could ever be judged sinner or saint. What may be known about this process must be known only by revelation through the scriptures, since God speaks through the Spirit to reveal His thoughts (1 Cor. 2:6-13). Difficulty in understanding our subject lies not in its obscurity or ambiguity; rather, generations of faulty exposition by sectarians and brethren alike have hidden its wonderful message. It will be our goal to learn proper definitions, relate this subject to other salvation terminology in a harmonious way, properly applying the truth to our situation.
It is true that our study of imputation is not “milk” but “meat” (Heb. 5:12-13). One cannot fully understand imputation without being cognizant of the entire scope of human redemption. Thus, imputation is related to the revelation of the divine wisdom of God, human nature (free will and responsibility), the nature of sin and of righteousness, justification, gospel and law, faith and works, the plan of salvation and, not in the least to be considered, grace. It encompasses the concept of how a righteous God can bring about the salvation of His sinful creature, man, and yet retain His own righteous nature (Rom. 3:21-26). Continue reading » Solid Food: Imputed for Righteousness (Genesis 15:6)