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Posts Tagged ‘Imputation

Practicing Righteousness

If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.
– 1 John 2:29 (NASB)

Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
– 1 John 3:7 (NASB)

By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
– 1 John 3:10 (NASB)

I do believe in the doctrine of imputation.  I have read the works of some who disagree.  They hold that the Bible never says anywhere that we are “imputed with Christ’s righteousness.”  They hold that the Bible declares us to be righteous by virtue of being in Christ by faith but they hold that the Bible never says that the righteousness of Christ is ever imputed to us.  Even the passages that are appealed to for the doctrine of imputation such as 2 Corinthians 5:21 or Philippians 3:9 do not say that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us.

However, to me this is simply semantics.  While the Bible never uses the phrase “imputed with Christ’s righteousness,” the doctrine is based on not just the New Testament but the Old Testament as well.  For example, in the famous story of the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt in Exodus 12, the blood of the Passover lamb would serve as a substitute for God’s judgment against the Egyptians.  The Israelites were protected by the blood.  The blood served as a sin offering substitute by which the Israelites’ sins were imputed to the lamb and the lamb bore them on their behalf.  This looked forward to God’s perfect sacrifice of His own Lamb (John 1:29).  The Lamb of God would take away the sins of the world and would bear the sins of the people of God.  God’s Lamb would be our perfect sacrifice to take away our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19; 2:22-24).  Jesus’ blood now cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7) and His blood is our defense before a holy God.

Hebrews 9:11-22 reads:

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Jesus then is our substitute before God.  He bore our sins on the cross.  His blood alone is able to cleanse us from sin (Romans 5:9).  Jesus’ blood not only cleanses us from all sin but He is our mediator before God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

Jesus Christ is our salvation.  He is our everything before God.  We have nothing apart from Him (John 15:5).  He is our salvation, our redemption, our sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30).  Our boasting must be in Him alone (1 Corinthians 1:31)!  In Jesus we have “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:22).

Just as the Old Testament sacrifices were imputed with the sins of the Israelites, so the New Testament saint had their sins imputed upon Christ our Lord and He bore our sins.  Thus all He accomplished for our forgiveness is now imputed toward us.

This, however, should not ignore the passages that speak of practicing righteousness.  To merely claim Christ’s righteousness apart from pursuing holiness is not biblical.  Full salvation looks to Christ alone for salvation but we also look to Christ alone to sanctify us.  We are holy in Christ but are also being made holy.  Hebrews 10:14 reads:

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

We look to Christ Jesus to help us not just to be forgiven of our sins but to be made holy before Him.  Jesus came to bear our sins and to give us complete victory over our sins (Matthew 1:21).  We don’t have to be slaves to sin (John 8:34-36).  Those who are baptized into Christ (Romans 6:1-4) are no longer slaves to sin but are now slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:5-23).  Through the Lord Jesus we are able to live a holy life (1 John 2:1-2).  We don’t have to live a life of defeat in sin.  We can be set free by His grace from sin and its domain (Titus 2:12-14).  Our hearts are cleansed by faith (Acts 15:9) and the Lord wants to continue that deep work of cleansing in us (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

My earnest prayer has been for the Lord to give disciples full victory that we have in Christ.  We don’t have to be slaves to sin.  We can be slaves of righteousness.  If we are not slaves of righteousness, John the Apostle says that we are not righteous at all.  The doctrine of Christ’s imputation should never be used as a basis for sinning.  If that is the heart of the person living in sin, they know nothing of the grace of God.  While I acknowledge that true saints of God can (and will) sin, this is not the will of God (1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 John 2:1).  May our hearts be to live a life of holiness, pleasing to the Lord (Colossians 1:9-10).

Declared Righteousness or Imputed Righteousness

On both sides of the Arminian and Calvinist debate is the understanding that Christ’s perfect righteousness is imputed to the undeserving sinner who believes in Christ alone for salvation.  Arminius wrote,

Hence we likewise deduce: That if the righteousness by which we are justified before God, the Judge, can be called formal, or that by which we are formally justified, (for the latter is Bellarmine’s phraseology,) then the formal righteousness, and that by which we are formally justified, can on no account be called “inherent;” but that, according to the phrase of the Apostle, it may in an accommodated sense be denominated “imputed,” as either being that which is righteousness in God’s gracious account, since it does not merit this name according to the rigor of justice or of the law, or as being the righteousness of another, that is, of Christ, which is made ours by God’s gracious imputation. Nor is there any reason why they should be so abhorrent from the use of this word, “imputed,” since the apostle employs the same word eleven times in the fourth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, where the seat of this point or argument lies, and since the efficacy to salvation of God’s gracious estimation is the same, as that of His severe and rigid estimation would be if man had perfectly fulfilled the law without any transgression. (2 Cor. v, 19, 21.)

Arminius further wrote,

Whether it is to be understood “that the righteousness, for which, or unto which, faith is imputed, is the instrumental operation of faith;” which is asserted by some persons. In the theses on justification, which were disputed under me when I was moderator, I have adopted the former of these opinions not in a rigid manner, but simply, as I have likewise done in another passage which I wrote in a particular letter. It is on this ground that I am accounted to hold and to teach unsound opinions concerning the justification of man before God. But how unfounded such a supposition is, will be very evident at a proper season, and in a mutual conference. For the present, I will only briefly say, “I believe that sinners are accounted righteous solely by the obedience of Christ; and that the righteousness of Christ is the only meritorious cause on account of which God pardons the sins of believers and reckons them as righteous as if they had perfectly fulfilled the law. But since God imputes the righteousness of Christ to none except believers, I conclude that, in this sense, it may be well and properly said, to a man who believes, faith is imputed for righteousness through grace, because God hath set forth his Son, Jesus Christ, to be a propitiation, a throne of grace, [or mercy seat] through faith in his blood.” Whatever interpretation may be put upon these expressions, none of our Divines blames Calvin or considers him to be heterodox on this point; yet my opinion is not so widely different from his as to prevent me from employing the signature of my own hand in subscribing to those things which he has delivered on this subject, in the third book of his Institutes; this I am prepared to do at any time, and to give them my full approval. Most noble and potent Lords, these are the principal articles, respecting which I have judged it necessary to declare my opinion before this august meeting, in obedience to your commands.

You can see that even in the writings of Arminius is an acknowledgment that imputation of righteousness is not set in stone.  I believe that Arminius held to imputed righteousness based on his writings but I acknowledge that some Arminians have rejected the teaching.  They do so not out ignorance of the Word of God but rather because they see the teaching as leading to antinomianism.  I can see their danger.

The arguments against the doctrine of imputation are based on two main arguments.  First, the argument from a logical viewpoint that the teaching leads to spiritual apathy.  The logic here is that if we teach people that God no longer sees their sins because of the doctrine of imputation then why obey Christ as Lord?  Why avoid sin if in fact God no longer sees our sins?  What is the point of 1 John 1:9 if in fact we have the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to us?

The second argument is that the Bible never says we are imputed with Christ’s perfect righteousness.  The Bible says that we are righteous and they point to this as “declared righteousness.”  For example they point to Romans 3:22 as proof.  Romans 3:22 reads, “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction.”  The righteousness of God through faith.  They see this as declared righteousness and not Christ’ righteousness imputed to us.

Two other passages are 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Philippians 3:9.  Philippians 3:9 is the strongest text on imputed righteousness.  The text reads, “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”  They again point out that Paul does not say that we have Christ’s righteousness but rather that through faith God declares us righteous.

My view is that we have both in Christ.  We are both declared righteous before God because of Christ and we also are imputed with the righteousness of Christ.  All of the focus in salvation is upon Christ.  I have nothing in my hands to bring to God for salvation nor after salvation.  I need Christ from beginning to end for my salvation.  Jesus is the very One that I look to save me and to keep me saved (1 Peter 1:5).  Before God I have no righteousness.  I need Christ and His intercession (Hebrews 7:25) for salvation.  I need Him standing before the Father and pleading for me.  I need His Spirit to help me to turn from sin (Galatians 5:16-17).  I need Jesus!

Does this matter?  Does it matter if we teach imputation or declared righteous?  I believe it does.  If we teach only declared righteous, I fear that our focus becomes us.  We are righteous because we believed but we also need righteousness when we fail.  I do fail.  I do sin.  I hate my sins but I do fall short of the glory of God though the Bible calls me to forsake sin (1 John 2:1).  When I fail, do I lose my declared righteousness?  Thus I need the righteousness of Christ.  Again, I have no righteousness apart from Him.  Romans 3:10-18 is clear that I am not even close to being righteous.  I need the righteousness of the only perfect one to ever live.  Paul even makes it clear in Philippians 3:7 that all of his own righteousness (which was pretty good if the test is man) was worthless apart from Christ.  Paul was willing to throw out his own self-righteousness for the righteousness of Christ (Philippians 3:8-11).

I praise God for the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, that I am saved through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that my salvation is apart from my own good works (Titus 3:5-7).  God is gracious in His salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son.

Be Careful How You Teach Grace

Recently I was listening to a Bible teacher teaching on the doctrine of imputed righteousness.  He, being a Calvinist, was teaching that we are imputed with the righteousness of Christ and that when we are in Christ, God doesn’t see our faults or failures but He only sees the righteousness of Christ that has been imputed unto us by faith.  Within Arminianism, not all Arminians hold to this teaching.  John Wesley did hold to the teaching though he was quick to preach personal holiness and he taught personal apostasy.  Others have rejected the teaching.

Now to be fair, many of the readers I have read who reject imputation reject the teaching not because they don’t believe that God counts us righteous but just that they reject that God counts us imputed with Jesus’ righteousness.  One Arminian theologian stated, “Name one passage of Scripture that declares that we have transferred righteousness?”  Others have asked the same question.  Yes, they say, God does declare us righteous before Him because of faith (Romans 4:5) but He simply declares us righteous and not imputed with Christ’s righteousness itself.  Over and over again the Scriptures do declare that God deems us righteous before Him by faith but does the Scriptures say that Christ’s righteousness has been transferred to us who believe?

Scriptures that are often used to teach imputation are mainly Romans 3:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; and Philippians 3:9.  Some Arminians point out that yes God does declare us righteous before Him because of the work of Christ but do these passages say that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us?  They point to 1 John 3:7 which says that the one who practices righteousness is righteous.  1 John 3:7 says nothing about being righteous because of imputation.

Yet the real danger, I see, in teaching people that they have Christ’s imputed righteousness is that it can lead to an abuse of grace.  I do believe that we are declared righteous before God through faith in Jesus Christ and only through faith in Jesus Christ.  We are not righteous in ourselves or our good works (Isaiah 64:6; John 6:29).  Only in Jesus are we righteous (John 15:1-8).  So in a sense we are imputed with righteousness from Christ who is God over all (Romans 10:1-4).  Yet the danger is that some teach that since we are now imputed with Christ’s righteousness, when God sees us He only sees Christ and not our sins.  This can lead to sinfulness in my estimation if not taught correctly.  If God doesn’t see me anymore then I can live as I want to live and since He doesn’t see my sins but Christ’s perfect righteousness then He sees me perfect already and I can live as I want to live.  Of course, I know that some will say that such is not the teaching and that the teaching should motivate you to holiness but my question is simply: How?  How does imputation motivate holy living?  Certainly a love for Jesus drives me to holiness (John 14:15) but if we teach that even our lack of love for God is okay since we are imputed with Christ’s perfect righteousness, how can this not lead to sin?  John Wesley held that we are declared righteous before God through Christ (imputation) and  then He also imparts His righteousness into us so that we pursue righteousness (imparted).  For Wesley, righteousness was both imputed and imparted for not just the work of justification but also sanctification that leads to glorification (Romans 8:29-30; 1 Corinthians 1:30).

I believe that we should teach that we are righteous before God because of Christ and we must remain in Him by faith.  If we are remain in Jesus by faith, we are righteous.  If we remain in Jesus, we have eternal life (1 John 2:24-25).  If we remain in Jesus by faith, we need not fear (Romans 8:38-39).  If we remain in Jesus, we are righteous before God in Him (Romans 3:22-27).  Jesus is our salvation and nothing else.  I believe it’s an attack on Christ to teach that we have eternal life apart from Jesus or that we have righteousness apart from Jesus.  Jesus should be our very lives (Colossians 3:1-3) and we should remain in Him forever (1 Peter 1:5).  If we are in Jesus by faith, we are secure completely (2 Corinthians 1:24).  If we are in Jesus by faith, we are saved forever (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/28/2011 at 10:10 AM

A Substitute for Holiness by Daniel Steele

THERE is much confused and erroneous thinking and teaching on the subject of imputed righteousness and imputed holiness. Some are confounding the two, and teaching that the only holiness possible to us in this world is the robe of Christ’s righteousness thrown around hearts inherently impure. In the interest of clear thought and Christian purity, we invite the reader to a discussion of the radical distinction between imputed righteousness and imputed holiness. The term “impute,” literally signifies “to think to,” to reckon one thing belongs to another when it really does not. In the Revision it is superseded by the word “reckon.”

We define righteousness in man to be conformity to the Divine law, and holiness conformity to the Divine nature.

Jesus Christ is both righteous and holy. These qualities are personal, inherent, and untransferable. But in addition to His personal righteousness He has a mediatorial righteousness, the merit of His passive obedience, labors, sacrifices, sufferings, death, and high-priestly intercessions. Now, although the phrase, “the imputation of Christ’s righteousness,” or “Christ’s imputed righteousness,” is not found in the Bible, the doctrine itself is found in the epistles of Paul unfolded extendedly, and it is hinted at in the Gospels when Jesus speaks of giving His life for the world, or as a ransom for many. But it is always His mediatorial, and not His personal righteousness. The absolute necessity of this imputation in the scheme of redemption, arises from the fact that one past sin produces an eternal disconformity to the Divine law, so that the Lawgiver cannot treat us as if we had never sinned without violating the truth of history, and cheating the law of its demands. Hence pardon and salvation would be impossible under the reign of strict and unbending law. But here comes in the mediatoriaI righteousness of Christ to all who plead it as the ground of justification, so that God can be just and the justifier of him who believeth. In other words, there is a constructive, not to say fictitious, conformity, to the law, now possible through faith in the merits of Christ. Otherwise, law would be forever against us. The necessity of this scheme of imputation lies in the fact that God Himself cannot change the past. It is a record absolutely inerasible.

But when God wishes to make men holy, or bring them into conformity to His own nature, there is no such inerasible record in the way. Justification is a work done for us, and has reference to the past; sanctification is a work wrought in us, and always has respect to the present. Hence, imputation of holiness is not necessary. In fact, in the very nature of things, it is impossible. There can be no such thing as vicarious character, for character is the sum total of what we ourselves are. There may be a vicarious assumption of another’s debt; there cannot be a vicarious assumption of another’s character. Hence, holiness must be personal, inherent, inwrought and imparted by the power of the Holy Spirit, procured by the same atonement by which it is possible for us, through faith, to be conformed to the Divine law, or savingly adjusted to an inerasible, sinful record.

The phrase “in Christ” is perpetually quoted as a proof-text to sustain the doctrine of imputed holiness, a quality not imparted to us, being inwrought by the Holy Spirit and ever afterwards existing inherently in the believer; but an attribute of Jesus Christ regarded by God as belonging to Christians, even when they are unholy in character and wicked in conduct.

The theory is that Jesus Christ is standing today in the presence of the Father as a specimen and representative of glorified humanity, and that faith in Him so intimately unites us with Him, that all His personal excellencies become ours in such a sense as to excuse us if we lack them. It is said that the first act of faith eternally incorporates us into the glorified person of Christ, so that whatever sin we may commit afterwards we incur no condemnation.

Says Fletcher: “People, it seems, may now be ‘in Christ,’ without being ‘new creatures, and ‘new creatures’ without casting ‘old things’ away. They may be God’s children without God’s image; and ‘born of the Spirit’ without ‘the fruit of the Spirit.'”

The favorite proof-text of this piece of rank antinomianism is Rom. viii. 1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,” with special attention called to the omission by the critical MSS. and the Revised Version, of the limiting clause: “who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” Over this omission the imputationists rejoice, as if it unanswerably demonstrated the truth of their doctrine, that God, seeing the believer only in Christ, beholds no sin in him, even when he has wilfully and flagrantly transgressed the known law. They fail to note that the same limiting clause stands in the fourth verse unquestioned by the critics.

Hence their assertion that the flesh is a sinful state which does not in the least damage our perfect standing in Christ, in whom the carnally-minded believer is as holy as the Son of God Himself. It is said that “the standing is never to be judged by the state, but the state by the standing.” The New Testament Scriptures relied on as proofs of this doctrine are those in which our faith is imputed for righteousness. The error is in failing to notice that this refers to the forgiveness of sins, and not to the character after justification.

Another mistake is in not distinguishing between the sum total of Christ’s merits, called His mediatorial righteousness, and His own personal righteousness, which is not transferable. Character is personal and unimputable.

Another constantly recurring Scripture is the expression, “in Christ”– used to prove an actual incorporation into His Person. We take up our pen to examine these words. They are not found in the four Gospels nor in the Acts of the Apostles. They are Pauline, being used by Paul, except in I Pet. iii. 16; v. 14. The words, “in the Lord,” are peculiar to Paul also. Elsewhere they are found only in Rev. xiv. 13. What does Paul mean by these phrases?

1. He does not mean incorporation into the glorified Person of Christ, for he always (except in I Cor. xv. 18 –“asleep in Jesus”) avoids His purely personal name, Jesus, never saying “in Jesus,” but he always adds one of His titular names, Christ, or Lord. “In Christ, “or “in the Lord” must mean, then, some intimate relation to His official work.

2. What this relation is will be seen when we observe that while Luke and Peter use the term “Christian,” Paul never used it, but uses the more vivid phrase, “in Christ.” Let us now examine a favorite text of the imputationists –1 Cor. i. 2: “To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus.” We heartily endorse the comment of Meyer, “the greatest exegete of the nineteenth century”: “In Christ — namely, in His redemptive work, of which Christians have become, and continue to be, partakers, by means of justifying faith (Eph. i. 4; Heb. x. 10).” In the fourth verse, Meyer’s note on “in Christ,” is “in your fellowship with Christ.” His paraphase of the thirtieth verse, “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption,” is the following: “But truly it is God’s work that ye are Christians, and so partakers of the greatest Divine blessings, that none of you should in any way boast himself save only in God.” Rom. xvi. 7; “In Christ before me” — Christians before me. Rom. xvi. 10; “Approved in Christ” — i.e., says Meyer, “the tried Christian.” 2 Cor. v. 17; “If any man is in Christ” a Christian, says the same annotator.

Cremer, in his Biblico-Theological Lexicon, enumerates forty-eight texts where this phrase is used with the above meaning, such as “weak in Christ” and “babes in Christ,” for feeble Christians; “growing up in Christ,” for an advancing Christian; “perfect in Christ” for a believer fully sanctified, or, in the words of Meyer, “perfect as a Christian, in respect to the whole Christian nature.” “Holy in Christ” is a phrase foreign to New Testament diction. The general meaning of the words, “in the Lord,” is discipleship to the Lord Jesus, as in Rom. xvi. 2: “which are in the Lord”; 1 Cor. vii. 39; To be married in the Lord”; i.e., to a disciple of the Lord Jesus.

The expressions “in Christ” and “in the Lord” are the Pauline way of denoting a saving relation to the Son of God, a union with Him by faith, a union which ceases when the faith decays. It is quite probable that St. Paul’s use of this peculiar idiom is an amplification of the words of Christ, “If ye abide in Me,” in His parable of the true vine, John xv. 1-7. That He does not here speak of an inseparable and eternal incorporation into His person, is evident from these words: “Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away.” That this taking away is no mere temporary break in the saving relation to Christ, but an eternal cutting off, will be seen by reading the sixth verse: “If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered, and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” This solemn and expressive language is utterly meaningless, if the phrase “in Me,” or “in Christ,” means an inalienable standing in Christ wholly independent of one’s real character. Those modern champions of imputed holiness, and opponents of inwrought personal purity, the Plymouth brethren, find their air-castle rudely swept away when these words of Jesus are directed against it. A branch in the true vine may die and be sundered and burned.

This is a complete answer to the words of Rev. John Darby to the writer, that “believers are parts of the glorified Person of Jesus Christ, who does not walk about in Heaven dropping His fingers and toes by self-mutilation, but retains every part and particle of His body for ever.” The revised version, in Eph. v. 30, omits “of His flesh and of His bones,” and thus removes a seeming proof-text for the incorporation theory.

3. This paper would not be complete if we did not refer to the objective use, by St. Paul, of the phrase “in Christ,” as representing, not a peculiar union of the believing subject, but the blessings of redemption included in Jesus. In this Apostle’s writings, the idiom, “in Christ,” has a Godward, or objective meaning, when he describes the provisions for salvation embodied in the Person and work of the Son, and a manward, or subjective meaning, when he speaks of the believer as appropriating those provisions. As a specimen of the objective use, we quote Rom. vi. 23: “But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (R. V.). See also Rom. viii. 2, 39; 1 Cor. i. 4 (R. V.); 2 Cor. v. 19; Gal. ii. 4, iii. 14 (R. V.); Eph. i. 3, ii. 6. 7 (R. V.), iii. 11, iv. 32 (R. V.); Phil. ii. 5; 2 Tim ii. 10. In all these passages Jesus Christ is presented as God’s treasury of grace and salvation. In examining these texts the reader will be impressed with the superior precision of the revisors in their translation of the preposition “en,” in. There are instances in which this Pauline idiom embraces both the subjective and the objective, notably Rom. vi. 11, “Alive unto God in Christ Jesus” (R. V.). Here the believer appropriates the life that exists in Jesus.

Writers in classical Greek exemplify only the objective use of “en.” Thus Sophocles: “I in deed am saved wholly in thee”; Hesiod: “Whether Athens shall be enslaved or freed is now in thee”; says Homer: “Complete victory in the immortal gods.”

But St. Paul’s use of “in,” as expressing the activity of the subject appropriating Christ, from the very nature of the case, has no verbal parallels in profane Greek.

In conclusion, we aver that it is just as reasonable to interpret 1 John v. 19, “The whole world lieth in the evil one” (R. V.), as meaning that the whole world is in itself inherently saintly, but by imputation is wicked in the evil one, as it is to say that the best estate of believers on earth is to be inherently impure, while by imputation they are spotless in Christ. According to the testimony of that cosmopolitan evangelist, Wm. Taylor, imputed holiness, enrobing cherished vileness, is a favorite fiction of the pagans of India. A fakir in his presence professing spotless holiness, was rebuked by the crowd as a liar, a cheat, and an adulterer. Admitting the truth of these charges, the fakir triumphantly exclaimed: “I am vile in myself, but perfectly holy in Vishnu.”

To be holy with a retention of the old man, would be an untruth and a flat contradiction (Meyer on Eph. iv. 21.)


Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/08/2011 at 3:12 PM

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