Receiving the Righteousness of Christ’s Death is Not By Our Imputation, but By God’s Imputation
Romans 5: 17 speaks of “those who receive the free gift of righteousness” and how they reign in life through the one man Christ Jesus. This receiving is not the sinner believing. It is not an “exercise of faith”.
The elect “receive” the righteousness by God’s imputation. The elect do not impute their sins to Christ. Nor can the elect impute Christ’s righteousness to themselves until after God has already imputed the righteousness. God is the imputer.
The receiving of the righteousness is not the same as the righteousness. The imputation is not necessarily at the same TIME as when Christ earned the righteousness. God declaring the elect to be joint-heirs with Christ in that righteousness is not the same as the righteousness. There is a difference between imputation and righteousness.
Our continuing acts of faith toward the gospel are not the righteousness. But neither is God’s imputation, nor the indwelling of Christ which follows that imputation, the righteousness.
This is not four-pointer double-talk about a difference between redemption and atonement. Rather, it is a recognition of the biblical difference between the atonement and justification. The difference I am taling about is NOT that the elect “do something” to get justified. The difference I am talking about is that, God imputes the righteousness, and this means we need to see a distinction between God’s imputing and God’s righteousness.
Even before they are justified, the elect are entitled by Christ’s work to justification. But the elect are not justified until God imputes the righteousness to them.
Well, all this sounds logical enough, but what does it practically mean? Is not the safest and most far away place from Arminianism and legalism and conditionalism to agree with those who teach eternal justification that conversion does not matter?
I challenge the notion that the best way to counter salvation conditioned on the sinner is to teach eternal justification, so that conversion becomes only knowing that you were always converted.
In other words, their idea is that since I was always elect, I was always “saved”, I was never not converted.
The safest and best place to be is not the most extreme away from what the Arminians say. The safest and best place to be is what the texts of the Bible says.
I have no big problem with saying that the elect were “in some sense” always saved, but only if this “sense” is that they are elect. In other words, from God’s perspective, the elect are never in danger of perishing.
As far as I can tell, most folks who teach eternal justification do NOT teach “presumptive regeneration”. The gospel does not tell anyone: you are elect. The gospel tells everyone: God loves the elect and Christ’s death will save the elect. you might be elect but you won’t ever know that until you are justified. As long as you are under the wrath of God, you cannot and will not believe the gospel. As soon as God imputes Christ’s righteousness to you, you will understand and believe. BELIEF IN THE FALSE GOSPEL IS EVIDENCE OF GOD’S WRATH ON YOU NOW
But the eternal justification gospel says to Arminians—you might be already justified That to me is a quite a different gospel
Where the Arminian wants to tell everyone that God loves them, those who teach eternal justification (or presumptive regeneration) want to tell SOME of the unconverted that God has already justified them. But the Bible does not encourage this kind of logic
I Thessalonians 1:4 “For we know, brothers, loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to not only in word but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.”
To insist on the necessity of conversion is not to be a “revivalist”. I don’t approve what goes by the name of revival. I do want conversions, in which sinners come to understand and believe the gospel, and repent of false gospels.