No Time-Lag After Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness Until Regeneration

What does the application of Christ’s work mean? First, it means that God imputes that work (not only the reward, but the righteousness) to the elect. Before the cross, God imputed the work to some of the elect. After the cross, God continues to impute the work to some of the elect.  So there is a difference (not only in time) between the work and the imputation of the work.

For example, Romans 6 describes being placed into the death of Christ.  There is a difference between the federal union of all the elect in Christ before the beginning of the world and the legal union of the elect with Christ when they are justified.

Second, the application (purchased by Christ for the elect, and thus  their inheritance) includes the conversion which immediately follows the imputation.  We could go to every text in the New Testament about the effectual calling into fellowship, but let us think now of only two.

Galatians 3:13-14: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come…, so that we would receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

What is a second text which teaches us that regeneration and conversion immediately follow the imputation? Romans 8:10–but if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

Because the work (righteousness) is imputed, the next result will be life, not only legal forensic life but also the life  the Holy Spirit gives by means of the gospel, so that the elect understand and believe, and are converted.

As II Peter 1:1 starts, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Christ did not die to forgive any elect person of the final sin of unbelief of the gospel. Christ died to give every elect person life, and thus faith in the gospel and conversion.

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10 Comments on “No Time-Lag After Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness Until Regeneration”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Machen: Regeneration means a new life; but there is also a new relation in which the believer stands toward God. That new relation is instituted by “justification” − the act of God by which a sinner is pronounced righteous in His sight because of the atoning death of Christ. It is not necessary to ask whether justification comes before regeneration or vice versa; in reality they are two aspects of one salvation. And they both stand at the very beginning of the Christian life. The Christian has not merely the promise of a new life, but he has already a new life. And he has not merely the promise of being pronounced righteous in God’s sight (though the blessed pronouncement will be confirmed on the judgment day), but he is already pronounced righteous here and now. At the beginning of every Christian life there stands, not a process, but a definite act of God. (Christianity and Liberalism, 141)

  2. markmcculley Says:

    John Owen—“Unless the guilt of man’s sin was imputed to Christ, sin was not imputed to him in any sense, because the punishment of sin is not sin—-therefore there can be no punishment but with respect to the guilt of sin personally imputed.” 5:204

    because of our justification—Romans 4:25–gets read as saying that all the elect had to have been justified before Christ was raised, therefore either all the elect are justified when Christ died, and or all the elect were justified before God created the ages

    but the elect are born condemned in their sins, and do not have regeneration and life yet because Christ’s death has not yet been imputed to them yet

    if the transfer of sins of the elect at the cross is the only thing (no transfer of Christ’s death to the elect needed), then why are the elect born in their sins, still condemned?

    when were Abraham’s sins imputed to Christ?

    when was Christ’s death imputed to Abraham?

    when was Abraham justified?

  3. Jack Miller Says:


  4. markmcculley Says:

    this is why regeneration and faith cannot come before imputation, even though there can be no justification apart from regeneration and faith. The Spirit applies only because the Spirit is given because of the Son’s righteousness.

    • markmcculley Says:

      Posted July 4, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink
      I do think it is important, and not simply for the sake of polemics with Romanists, to make a distinction between “sanctification” and “regeneration”. And between “union with Christ” and “regeneration”. I know that Calvin himself did not make this distinction with his use of the word “regeneration” but the passing from death to life (two states) is first of all a matter of justification and not of the new birth,

      As for “monergism”? God alone does both. God alone joins the elect to Christ’s death. God alone changes their hearts and effectually calls to believe the gospel.

      The Arminian Southern Baptist Lemke equates regeneration with eternal life . When Lemke suggests that faith precedes regeneration from texts like John 3:16, 36; 6:51, 53-54, 57; 11:25 20:31, he gets it wrong by assuming he equates regeneration with eternal life.

      But “eternal life” is not the present reality which we call the new birth but instead an eschatological reality–those who are now justified are legally entitled already to the life of the age to come.”

      Many Bible texts make no sense if regeneration is equated with eternal life. (Mark 10:17, 29-30; Romans 2:6-7, 23; Galatians 6:8; 1 Timothy 6:19; Titus 1:2; 3:7; James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).For example, Jesus, responding to the rich young ruler states, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers…for my sake and the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time…and in the age to come regeneration (eternal life)” (Mark 10:29-30).

  5. markmcculley Says:

    eternal justification person— now that the cross has occurred no waiting is required for justification, just a regeneration.
    mark–and so you have a gospel which waits to give spiritual life, regeneration and faith to a person even though that person is already according to you justified before God. I think that contradicts Romans 8:10 (righteousness demands life, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.). I also find it curious why you don’t have any problem with delaying regeneration after imputation. Why does that “time lag” not bother you? when the time lag between purchase for the elect at the cross and their receiving it by imputation DOES bother you so much. I am not really even making an argument here–just curious. Is the difference in your mind is that you assume that “conversion” is about new birth and not justification? I am not saying that this is the case, just wondering.

    I mean, I could say, why would YOU bother to talk about justification—why bother to say, regeneration and faith will cause you know you were justified at the cross? why bother to say, all who will ever be justified are already justified, so just like election, either you are already justified or not. Why would you bother to talk about justification at all. Is your gospel mainly about the new birth, which you define as the real ‘conversion”? Since justification is God’s legal declaration, from the mind of God and only in the mind of God, and of no great point in your gospel? I don’t assume that you are as horrified as I am by the implication of this. As I said, i am simply curious why one “time lag” bothers you and the other does not.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Andrew Fuller teaching a time lag between “regeneration” and faith. :
    “The author of Glad Tidings to Perishing Sinners (Abraham Booth) is decidedly averse from all holy disposition of the heart preceding faith Abraham Booth considers the sinner an enemy to God at the time of his being justified. To be consistent, Booth must consider faith as having no holiness in its nature.
    Abraham Booth:”While a sinner is either stupidly inattentive to his immortal interests, or expecting justification by his own obedience, he will not come to Christ. It should seem, then, that aversion of heart from the gospel plan, or a desire to be justified by one’s own obedience, is no objection to coming to Christ; and that a sinner will come to him, notwithstanding this, provided that his conscience sufficiently alarmed. If so, there certainly can be nothing spiritual or holy in the act of coming.”

  7. Paul Connolly Says:

    Hey Mark, how does this go; the elect are imputed with Christ’s righteousness, then regeneration, then

  8. markmcculley Says:

    2 Peter 1:1 Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

  9. markmcculley Says:

    Mark Jones– “The position that faith followed imputation was not typical of Reformed thought in his day but rather was associated with antinomianism….Any view that posits faith as a consequence of imputation (John Cotton) is not the typical Reformed position.

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