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The Gift Of Imputed Righteousness

So that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ.
–Philippians 3:8-9

In the Bible, the term “righteousness” can refer to three different things. The first is self-righteousness, or man’s attempts to reach God through good works. The second is imputed righteousness. The word “impute” is a financial term that simply means “to put into someone’s account.” That is what imputed righteousness is: the righteousness that God puts into your account on the basis of your faith in Christ.

Several years ago, I opened up a checking account for my youngest daughter. Because it was her first time to have a checking account, I linked it to my account so that if she was ever overdrawn, my money could be used to make up her deficit. Lo and behold, I started getting these little notices in the mail informing me that her account was overdrawn, and my account was charged for her mistake. I was not the one who made the mistake, but I voluntarily made up her financial deficit.

You see, the Bible says because of sin we are all in a deficit position before God. And in God’s economy, somebody has to make up for that deficit. We can choose to pay for our deficit by spending all eternity in hell, or we can allow Jesus to pay for our sin. That is the first transaction that occurs when you trust in Christ as your Savior–God takes your sin and He credits it to Jesus’s account. Jesus gets blamed for your sin.

But that is not the only transaction that occurs. When my daughter was overdrawn, not only would my account be charged for her deficit, but I would also transfer $50 from my account to her account. She did not earn that $50, and trust me–she had no chance of repaying that $50. But I transferred my money to her account because I love her. That is exactly what happens when you become a Christian. Not only does Jesus get debited for your sins, but you receive credit for His righteousness. Paul described these two transactions in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” When you became a Christian, Jesus received the punishment for your sin, and you received the credit for His righteousness.

But as important as imputed righteousness is, I do not think that is what Paul was talking about in Ephesians 6:14 when he mentioned the breastplate of righteousness. After all, that would mean the moment you become a Christian, you are automatically protected from Satan’s attacks. Is there a Christian who has gone through his entire life without any attacks from the evil one? No. Imputed righteousness is not the kind of righteousness that shields us from Satan’s arrows.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Putting Out The “Not Welcome” Mat” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.;


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