I do not think that many professing Christians are familiar with the doctrine of imputation as it pertains to the righteousness of Christ. If one was to ask the average "church-goer" what was something that Christ did for them, they would probably say, "He died for my sins." Undoubtedly, this is an accurate answer, even though the depths and the riches of the atonement may not be understood by such and individual.
The point I wish to bring up in this segment is that Christ not only died for the sins of His people (Matthew 1:21), but He also lived for His people. The death of Christ, apart from the perfect, sinless life of Christ, would have just been the death of another martyr (such as like Stephen at the end of Acts 7). The death of Christ, apart from the perfect life of Christ would not do what we know the Bible teaches it does for us today.
Yahweh's righteousness is found in His law, His perfect law (Psalm 19:7). Thus, to be righteous in the sight of Yahweh means that you adhere to His commandments; all of His commandments. The problem is that we have all fallen short of this glory of the Almighty (Romans 3:23) and thus we fall short in having within ourselves a righteousness that allows us to stand in the presence of a holy Creator. If we cannot be justified (declared righteous) by our own righteousness, then what are we to do? This is where the doctrine of imputation comes into play.
There are many passages to comment on, and I plan on doing so in posts to come, but I would just like to center in on 2 Corinthians 5:20-21. In this passage we read:
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, [the Almighty] making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to [the Almighty]. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of [the Almighty]. (ESV)
Here we have the Father making the Son to be sin for our sake. The one who knew no sin, would be made sin for us. What does it mean that the Son knew no sin? Surely He knew that sin was the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Surely He knew that to violate His Father's will was to commit, in the words of one scholar, "cosmic treason." What we must realize is that the phrase "who knew no sin" refers to the perfect life of Christ. The Son of the Father was without blemish, perfect; just as the Passover lamb (a type of Christ) had been for hundreds of year prior to Christ's crucifixion at Calvary. The Son "knew no sin," but for our sake the Father made him to be sin. How did this happen? The Father laid upon the Son the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). Our sins were placed onto Yeshua the Messiah.
This does not mean that Yeshua was morally a sinner, but rather that Yahweh credited our sins to the person of the Son. The Son bore our sins, and thus suffered the penalty in our behalf, and if this is how Yeshua bore our sins, then this must be how we as believers bear his righteousness. The second part of 2 Corinthians 5:21 states, "so that in him we might become the righteousness of [the Almighty]." Our being in right standing with the Father is a reality if we are "in him," that is, "in Christ." Just as our sins are credited to the Son's account, His perfect righteousness must be credited to our account. This is the truth of the Gospel. This is a truth that many people are missing today. Yet, this is certainly a truth found in sacred Scripture.
In the gospel according to John, Yeshua the Messiah explains to the Samaritan woman that the true worshipers of the Almighty worship Him in spirit and in truth. Have you ever thought about what it actually means to worship Yahweh in truth?
Most people join a particular church because it makes them feel comfortable, or because they like the personality of the members, or maybe the pastor. Some even say that certain forms or modes of "worship" work for them, therefore they are satisfied with worshiping in that certain way. However, we must recognize that our worship needs to follow the divine revelation set forth in the written word of the Creator. If we do not worship Him on His terms, we are really not worshiping Him at all.
Matthew 15 comes to mind here. In the beginning of this chapter we have the Pharisees confronting Yeshua about His disciples. They were wondering why these disciples did not wash their hands before eating. These men were not speaking of hygiene or mere cleanliness principles, but rather a traditional, ritualistic act, noted by the phrase in the chapter, the "tradition of the elders." This is what was being "transgressed" by Yeshua's disciples. Yeshua responds to them by asking, "Why do you transgress the commandment of the Almighty for the sake of keeping your tradition?" He goes on to explain to them that when a person teaches a doctrine of men as a commandment given by the Almighty, their worship is in vain. Thus, the worship the person thinks he is giving to the heavenly Father, is useless and worthless in the sight of Yahweh. This is what the phrase "vain worship" literally means.
I've seen this various times in my life at particular churches. There are standards (non-Biblical standards) that are set for the people to abide by, and if these rules are broken the people are looked down upon enormously. This is nothing more than modern day Pharisee teaching, and doesn't place the emphasis of the Christian life where it belongs - on the standards found in Scripture.
I heard a story recently about a man who taught various grades of school, and he required many papers or reports to be written during his teaching career. This man would lay down certain stipulations for the report: it must be type written, double-spaced, title on top, name to the right side of the top of the page, and a bibliography attached, etc. He remarked that just about every time he would give such an assignment there was someone who would hand in a couple of pages that had been written in pencil, with no title, no bibliography, etc. Obviously the teacher could not accept the paper because they had not followed the instructions. Is Yahweh more lenient than a school teacher? Do you believe Yahweh accepts worship that violates His instructions?
We need to be careful about how we worship the Father, not making attempts to add to or take away from what He has prescribed. After all, we should be seeking to please Him.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.