Category Archives: Imputation

“A wonderful exchange” by Martin Luther

“That is the mystery which is rich in divine grace to sinners: wherein by a wonderful exchange our sins are no longer ours but Christ’s and the righteousness of Christ not Christ’s but ours. He has emptied Himself of His righteousness that He might clothe us with it, and fill us with it.

And He has taken our evils upon Himself that He might deliver us from them… in the same manner as He grieved and suffered in our sins, and was confounded, in the same manner we rejoice and glory in His righteousness.”

–Martin Luther, Werke (Weimar, 1883), 5: 608.

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“This is the wonderful exchange” by John Calvin

“This is the wonderful exchange which, out of His measureless benevolence, Jesus Christ has made with us; that, becoming Son of man with us, He has made us sons of God with Him; that, by His descent to earth, He has prepared an ascent to heaven for us; that, by taking on our mortality, He has conferred His immortality upon us; that, accepting our weakness, He has strengthened us by His power; that, receiving our poverty unto Himself, He has transferred His wealth to us; that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon Himself, He has clothed us with His righteousness.”

–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, John T. McNeill, ed, Ford Lewis Battles, trans, Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960 [1559]), IV.xvii.2.

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“Resting in Christ’s righteousness” by Milton Vincent

“The gospel encourages me to rest in my righteous standing with God, a standing which Christ Himself has accomplished and always maintains for me. I never have to do a moment’s labor to gain or maintain my justified status before God! Freed from the burden of such a task, I now can put my energies into enjoying God, pursuing holiness, and ministering God’s amazing grace to others.

The gospel also reminds me that my righteous standing with God always holds firm regardless of my performance, because my standing is based solely on the work of Jesus and not mine. On my worst days of sin and failure, the gospel encourages me with God’s unrelenting grace toward me. On my best days of victory and usefulness, the gospel keeps me relating to God solely on the basis of Jesus’ righteousness and not mine.”

–Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer for Christians (Bemidji, MN: Focus, 2008), 20.

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“Christ is our everything” by Sinclair Ferguson

“Everything lacking in us is given to us by Christ; everything sinful in us is imputed to Christ; and all judgment merited by us is borne by Christ.”

–Sinclair B. Ferguson, essay in The Practical Calvinist (Ross-shire, U.K.; Christian Focus, 2002), 117.

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“This is the summit of all blessing” by Horatius Bonar

“Acceptance, and completeness in our standing before God, are attributed to the cross and blood and death of the Divine Substitute. Poor as my faith in this Substitute may be, it places me at once in the position of one to whom ‘God imputeth righteousness without works.’ God is willing to receive me on the footing of His perfection ; and if I am willing to be thus received, in the perfection of another with whom God is well pleased, the whole transaction is completed. I AM Justified By His Blood. ‘As He is, so am I (even) in this world,’—even now, with all my imperfections and evils.

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), 44-5.

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