The IT Counted, Credited, Reckoned

Romans 4:24-25 “IT will be counted to us who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised up for our justification.”

Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son but delivered him up for us all, how will He not also WITH HIM graciously give us all things?”

1. Christ and His work are credited. This is my way of saying that we can distinguish but never separate His person and work. Also we can distinguish but never separate his death and his resurrection (and also the life of obedience before His death).

2. Though this sounds difficult, we are saying that God counts according to truth. God counts righteousness as righteousness! This sounds too simple, and it is, so we bring in two factors. a. The righteousness counted as righteousness is not our righteousness (not our works of faith) but legally “transferred” to us when Christ marries us, so that what is His is still His but now ours also. b. Justification is not only the righteousness, but the righteousness imputed to the elect.

3. Imputation means two things. One, the transfer. Two, the declaration. God is justified, declared to be just, without transfer. God is counted as just because God is just.

Some exegetes relate Romans 5:13-14 to infants, but I think it’s about the Mosaic law–until then, there are no commands like Adam had commands. But this means that 1. the Mosaic covenant leads to death. 2. Most importantly for the context, this means that God is NOT counting the sins in between against them. So why are they dying? They are dying because of Adam’s sin imputed to them (verse 12)

Romans 5:12-13, whatever else we say about it, is in support of verse 12 and the imputation of sin. No sins of their own counted: no matter, Adam’s sin is counted against them.

The elect have been born guilty, condemened, not justified. They are unrighteous ( prior to justification). Therefore, the crediting of Christ’s righteousness to them must be done if God is to save them. In fact, this is how God saves them, by crediting them with Christ’s righteousness

This righteousness by which the elect reign and which leads to life (of the quality and quantity of the ages to come) is not what God works in us, but imputed.

Guilt to Adam, then corruption. Righteousness to the elect, then regeneration. So many people have that wrong, even people who believe in sovereign predestination. Augustine, for example, thinks of sovereign regeneration is the righteousness. And even Calvin, on the first Adam side of things, puts corruption before guilt. In other words, Calvin taught a mediate imputation of guilt. First, he said, we got corruption from Adam, and then the guilt.

But I say (with federalism) that it would not be just for God to give us corruption from Adam until first God legally gave us Adam’s guilt. If we don’t get the first Adam side right, it will make it hard to understand the Christ (last Adam) side of things.

Romans 5:17 we “receive” the free (for no cause) gift of righteousness, not by faith, but passively, by imputation.

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2 Comments on “The IT Counted, Credited, Reckoned”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    The elect, having been justified, having been reckoned righteous with the righteousness of Christ, have every right to be regarded by God . .. as righteous!

    Some use the phrase “entitled to all the blessings of salvation.” Not that we always need to be using the same non-biblical phrase, but the phrase gets to the fact that our justification is not only a matter of mercy but also of justice.

    Of course we can qualify this by saying: mercy to us but justice to Christ for the sake of His work. But does not the bride have every right to the husband and his riches? And Christ will not be getting rid of His bride! I know that some people who say “entitled with rights” are arrogant just like some people who say they are elect are arrogant, but that doesn’t change the facts.

    Liberals want to talk about the “simplicity” (an idea from philosophy) of God, so that God’s mercy is His justice, so that saying His justice gives the elect rights is no more to them than saying that He must be merciful. But I am glad that, in addition to the (optional) mercy of God, Christ’s death for the elect demands justice (not optional) to Him so that all for whom He died will be justified.

    Isaiah 53:10 –When His soul/blood makes an offering for sin, He shall see His seed. Out of the anguish of His soul/blood He shall see and be satisfied. By His knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    J I Packer, God’s Words, p 145—the rendering which declares Abraham’s faith to have been counted “as righteousness” is not good. “As” suggests identity, as if righteousness was being used here in Romans 4 in the sense of man’s obedience to God. “As” represents the Greek proposition eis, meaning “toward” or “with a view to” and “for righteousness” was a much better way to translate it. Paul is not saying there that faith is our righteousness…


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