As Soon As God Credits Christ’s death to you, God also Justifies You
Romans 5: 9 Much more then, since we have NOW been declared righteous by His BLOOD (death), we WILL BE saved through Him from wrath.
Romans 5: 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
In reaction to justification conditioned on the sinner, some Lutherans are teaching that all sinners are now born justified. In reaction to justification conditioned on the sinner, some “sovereign grace” preaches are teaching that God’s wrath is never personally on elect sinners.
Romans 5 does not specifically say that “all sinned in Adam”. Nor does the chapter ever use the word “imputation”. But the sin of verse 12 is not the result of death. The death is the result of “because all sinned”. We look to the context to see how it is that the “all” sinned. “All” sinned because of the representative sin of Adam.
Adam was our substitute. We don’t need to sin ourselves to be condemned to death. We are condemned to death because Adam sinned for us, as our representative. We are not guilty based on our corruption. Corruption is mediated to us because we are guilty. We sin but before that we were already constituted sinners.
Romans 5:13 “for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”
It’s not only infants who died who did NOT sin like Adam. Everybody who died after Adam’s first sin but before the Mosaic law was given did NOT sin like Adam. Yet because of Adam’s sin and Adam’s representation, all these people died.
Not all born in Adam stay in Adam
all chosen in Christ are born in Adam
not all born in Adam are chosen in Christ
some born in Adam stay in Adam
some born in Adam are justified in Christ
Romans 6 describes two legal states, one of which is “free from righteousness”. Christ’s death has not always been credited to elect sinners. Every elect sinner was once “free from righteousness”. God will not accept us into His presence based on something in us, not even based on something God has put in us. If we have not yet been legally justified by God, we are “free from righteousness”. Romans 6 defines being in “new man” (the new creation) in terms of God legally being placed into the death of Christ. Once God credits us Christ’s death, we sinners are justified before God.
Romans 6: 4 Therefore we were buried with Him by BAPTISM INTO DEATH….5 For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be[ in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body be abolished, IN ORDER that we no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died has been justified from sin. ”
Christ was under law , Christ is no longer under law
Adam’s guilt is imputed to the elect until Christ’s death is imputed to the elect.
The elect in Christ are under condemnation until God justifies them.
The elect in Christ are under law until the elect are under grace
Christ was under law , Christ is no longer under law but Christ is still not under grace because Christ’s death satisfied the law.
Romans 6: 9 we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death NO LONGER rules over Christ. 10 For in light of the fact that Christ died, Christ died to sin once for all time
Christ was never under grace and is still not under grace. Christ was under the law because of the imputed sins of the elect. Romans 6 is about Christ’s condemnation by the law and His death as satisfaction of that law. Christ after His resurrection is NO LONGER under law. Christ’s elect, as soon as God credits them with Christ’s death, are no longer under law. The death of the justified elect is the SAME legal death that Christ died.
Christ was never under the power of sin in the sense of being unable not to sin. Christ was always unable to sin. The only way Christ was ever under the power of sin is by being under the guilt of sin. The guilt of the elect’s sin was legally transferred by God to Christ. Christ’s death to sin was death to the guilt of sin, and as soon as the elect are imputed by God with His death, the death of Christ justifies them from the guilt of sin and removes God’s wrath from them.. Romans 6:7: “For one who has died has been justified from sin.”
The word Imputation in the Bible describes two different actions. Fist, sometimes the word imputation describes the transfer, the legal sharing of what belongs to another. Second, the word imputation describes God’s declaration about persons who legally share in either Adam’s condemnation or Christ’s death.
Elect sinners are born personally under the wrath of God, guilty in Adam. As soon as God credits these sinners with Christ’s death, God at once also declares them justified. Elect sinners need to be justified. Elect sinners are justified by God putting them legally in Christ’s death. Elect sinners are justified when God declares them to be just because of having placed them into Christ’s death. God says they are now justified because they really are now legally just because of now being in Christ’s death.
Romans 5:9 “Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.” The elect were born guilty, condemned, not justified. The righteousness by which the elect reign and which leads to life is not what God works in us. The righteousness by which the elect reign is Christ’s death imputed. Like they once legally shared in Adam’s act of sin, now the justified elect legally share in Christ’s one act of righteousness.
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 as the righteousness. But we “federalists” say that it would NOT be just for God to give us corruption from Adam until first God legally gave us Adam’s guilt. We are born unable to please God because we are born guilty. We are born “free from righteousness” because we are born under God’s wrath for Adam’s sin imputed.
Romans 5:17 we “receive” the free (for no cause) gift of righteousness, not by our faith, but passively, by God’s imputation. The IT imputed is not our faith, because the righteousness (the death of Christ for the elect) is the IT which is imputed.
Regeneration cannot be before God’s imputation of Christ’s death, or the efficacy of Christ’s death would be made to depend on regeneration and faith. Regeneration and faith are necessary, but not as conditions of God’s joining the elect to Christ’s death. Romans 6 teaches God baptizes us (not with water) into death (Christ’s death).
Regeneration and faith are necessary results of God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect . Romans 8:10—“The Spirit is life because of righteousness.” God’s legal transfer of the elect’s guilt to Christ did take place in many cases thousands of years before or after God credits them with that death and justifies them. This justification, when it does happen, is not the result of the life which results from justification.
By being legally placed into Christ’s death, the ungodly BECOME no longer guilty before God. They BECOME in Christ the righteousness of God. To be in Christ does have the result of Christ being in the justified. There is a difference between being justified in Christ and Christ being in the justified. The difference is that justification is not based on Christ within but on what Christ’s finished death outside the elect, before or after the elect’s justification.
The legal life of the justified is based on what Christ’s death accomplished outside the elect. The merit of that death, the righteousness of that obedience to death, is not something inside the elect, like the new birth or faith. The righteousness is in heaven, not in Christ’s person separated from His work, and not in Christ’s work separated from His person. It is a righteousness outside the justified sinner which God counts as the righteousness of the justified sinner
II Corinthians 5: If One died for all, then all died. 15 And He died for all so that THOSE WHO LIVE should no longer live for themselves. When II Corinthians 5:15 identifies “those who live”, that indicative situation of being alive is not about the experience of new birth. When II Corinthians 5:14 teaches that “all died”, the legal state of being dead by Christ’s death is not about regeneration. John 5:24, “He does come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
Elect sinners are born under the wrath of God, But once God credits them with Christ’ death, these sinners becomes justified before God and will NOT be justified by works at some future judgment. Only the non-elect will be judged according to their works because only they will still be legally dead before God’s throne. The non-elect will be judged on the basis of works; in accordance with works the non-elect will receive what is their due (Romans 4:4). But elect and justified sinners have legal life now as a gift. They will not be judged, because they have been judged in Christ’s death. Their guilt was transferred to Christ and they were justified when they were joined to Christ’s death for their guilt. On that final day, it will be too late for anybody to be justified.
If one puts justification after life, it’s too late for justification. If one puts justification after a person’s new birth, then the justification is conditioned on the new birth and that’s not biblical justification. If one puts justification of a sinner some time after God credits a sinner with Christ’s death, what is the nature of that justification?
Romans 6:17 But thank God that, although you USED TO BE slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to… 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness….