We will never be justified or accepted as righteous before God unless we stand before Him with Christ’s perfect righteousness as our own. That is the only righteousness God will ever recognize, so how can we receive Christ’s perfect righteousness?
The heavenly Father imputes it to us through our faith. “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works . . .” (Romans 4:6). Paul quotes David as saying, “The richest, most blessed, most peaceful man on earth is the one who understands he has a perfect righteousness imputed to him — without works!”
“[Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God . . . And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed” (Romans 4: 20-24).
This righteousness has to be imputed to us. It is not ours by infusion. In other words, God doesn’t just pour it into us. No, it is never our righteousness, nothing we have done or accomplished. It is always His righteousness, imputed to us, credited to our account.
The word impute means “to regard or esteem, to consider, to attribute to a person something he does not have, to reckon or credit to one’s account.” When Jesus imputes His righteousness to us, God looks upon it as our very own. No, we did not earn it. Christ did it all and He credits it to our account.
This imputation comes by faith alone. We can’t work for it or merit it in any way. Rather, because of our faith in Jesus and His redeeming work, the Lord credits the righteousness of Christ to us and we are reckoned as perfect in Him. By confessing our sins and having faith in Him, we stand before God with an imputed righteousness. And it is a perfect righteousness that is of faith and not of works:
- “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace” (Romans 4:16).
- “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10).
- “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no [distinction]” (Romans 3:22).