Category Archives: Imputation

“Altogether righteous” by Horatius Bonar

“To be entitled to use another’s name, when my own name is worthless; to be allowed to wear another’s raiment, because my own is torn and filthy; to appear before God in another’s person,— the person of the Beloved Son,—this is the summit of all blessing.

The sin-bearer and I have exchanged names, robes, and persons! I am now represented by Him, my own personality having disappeared; He now appears in the presence of God for me. All that makes Him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me.

His excellency and glory are seen as if they were mine; and I receive the love, and the fellowship, and the glory, as if I had earned them all. So entirely one am I with the sin-bearer, that God treats me not merely as if I had not done the evil that I have done; but as if I had done all the good which I have not done, but which my substitute has done.

In one sense I am still the poor sinner, once under wrath; in another I am altogether righteous, and shall be so for ever, because of the Perfect One, in whose perfection I appear before God. Nor is this a false pretense or a hollow fiction, which carries no results or blessings with it.

It is an exchange which has been provided by the Judge, and sanctioned by law; an exchange of which any sinner upon earth may avail himself and be blest.”

–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How Shall a Man be Just with God? (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1874/1993), 44-45.

 

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“A heart wound” by Nathan Cole

“My hearing him preach gave me a heart wound. By God’s blessing, my old foundation was broken up, and I saw that my righteousness would not save me.”

–Nathan Cole, a Connecticut farmer converted to Jesus Christ in the 1740s, describing what happened to him under the preaching of George Whitefield. Quoted in Timothy J. Keller, Ministries of Mercy (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1997), 37.

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“Welcome and safe” by Sinclair B. Ferguson

“Can we really be righteous in God’s sight? Yes, but the truth is even more remarkable—in Jesus Christ, I am as righteous in God’s sight as Jesus Christ Himself.

How can that be? The only righteousness with which I am righteous is Jesus Christ’s righteousness.

It is as if He has said to me: ‘Here is my righteousness. Wear it; it is yours. It fits your needs perfectly and completely.’

As I stand in God’s presence and He looks at me, I hear Him say: ‘Where have I seen that righteousness before? Come near. I recognize it now. That is My Son’s righteousness you are wearing. Enter! You are welcome—and safe—here.'”

–Sinclair B. Ferguson, By Grace Alone (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2010), 59.

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“Union with Christ” by John Calvin

“We must now examine this question. How do we receive those benefits which the Father bestowed on his only-begotten Son–not for Christ’s own private use, but that He might enrich poor and needy men?

First, we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from Him, all that He has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us.

Therefore, to share with us what He has received from the Father, He had to become ours and to dwell within us. For this reason, He is called ‘our Head’ (Eph. 4:15), and ‘the first-born among many brethren’ (Rom. 8:29). We also, in turn, are said to be ‘engrafted into Him’ (Rom. 11:17), and to ‘put on Christ’ (Gal. 3:27).

For, as I have said, all that He possesses is nothing to us until we grow into one body with Him. It is true that we obtain this by faith.”

–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, John T. McNeill, ed, Ford Lewis Battles, trans, Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960 [1559]), III.i.1.

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“O the sweet exchange!” by The Epistle to Diognetus

“When our unrighteousness was fulfilled, and it had been made perfectly clear that its wages—punishment and death—were to be expected, then the season arrived during which God had decided to reveal at last His goodness and power.

O, the surpassing kindness and love of God! He did not hate us, or reject us, or bear a grudge against us; instead He was patient and forbearing. In His mercy He took upon Himself our sins. He Himself gave up His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy one for the lawless, the guiltless for the guilty, the just for the unjust, the incorruptible for the corruptible, the immortal for the mortal.

For what else but His righteousness could have covered our sins? In whom was it possible for us, the lawless and ungodly, to be justified, except in the Son of God alone?

O the sweet exchange, O the incomprehensible work of God, O the unexpected blessings, that the sinfulness of many should be hidden in one righteous person, while the righteousness of One should justify many sinners!”

The Epistle to Diognetus, 9:2-­5, in The Apostolic Fathers, trans. Michael W. Holmes (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), 709–710.

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“Jesus, God’s faithful Son” by Graham Cole

“Jesus, God’s faithful Son, in contrast to unfaithful Adam and unfaithful Israel, lived by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. He was and is perfect… Jesus’ perfect faithfulness and His perfect obedience stand in the closest of connections.

One trusts a person. One obeys the command of a person. He trusted God. He obeyed God. His faith issued in the obedience that is the ground of our righteousness.

He did not merely assent to the will of His Father; He did it from the heart. Without His perfect righteousness imputed to us we cannot be at one with God. In addition, without His perfect righteousness He could not be the perfect offerer and offering for our sins.”

–Graham A. Cole, God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom NSBT, Vol. 25 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 119.

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“We don’t have to wonder if He likes us” by Jerrry Bridges

“The Bible tells us the bad news that we are in trouble with God, and then it tells us the good news that God has provided a solution that far surpasses our problem. Three times in his letters the apostle Paul paints a grim picture of bad news about us, and then each time he says ‘but.’

In effect, he is saying, ‘Here is the bad news, but here is the Good News as well.’ And in Paul’s message, the Good News always outweighs the bad news. Take just one of these instances, in Ephesians 2:1-9. After telling us that we were, by nature, objects of wrath, Paul says, but now ‘God, who is rich mercy,’ has actually ‘raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms.’

That is surely a dust-to-glory story. What could be a greater contrast than an object of God’s wrath seated with His Son in a position of glory? This good news doesn’t begin when we die. It certainly does address that issue, but it also tells us that there is good news for us now. We don’t have to feel guilt-ridden and insecure in our relationship with God.

We don’t have to wonder if He likes us. We can begin each day with the deeply encouraging realization that I am accepted by God, not on the basis of my personal performance, but on the basis of the infinitely perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.”

–Jerry Bridges, The Gospel for Real Life (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2003), 18.

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