Calvin Fridays: Divine Imputation

John Calvin 07

For Christ’s righteousness, which as it alone is perfect alone can bear the sight of God, must appear in court on our behalf, and stand surety in judgement. Furnished with this righteousness, we obtain continual forgiveness of sins in faith. Covered with this purity, the sordidness and uncleanness of our imperfections are not ascribed to us but are hidden as if buried that they may not come into God’s judgement, until the hour arrives when, the old man slain and clearly destroyed in us, the divine goodness will receive us into blessed peace with the new Adam. There let us await the Day of the Lord in which, having received incorruptible bodies, we will be carried into the glory of the Heavenly Kingdom.”- John Calvin, Intitutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 14, Section 12.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 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.” -Philippians 3:8-9.

Simply being washed in the blood of Christ cannot protect us from the holiness of God, for it isn’t the forgiven that enter into the presence of God but the righteous. So Christians must not only be forgiven, they must be perfect. Here the riches of justification, the act of being made right with God, continue to dazzle us in brilliance. For by faith, Christians not only receive pardon from their sin because of Christ’s substitutionary death for them on the cross, the very righteousness of Christ, earned in the years of His ministry, is credited to the believer’s account. It is given freely to them by the Father. Thus, before the Father, Christians stand forgiven and righteous, as having obeyed the Law in its entirety because Christ has obeyed it for them. As God looks on Christians, His sinless perfection and righteousness radiating from Him as brilliant rays from the Sun, what stares back at Him is His own righteousness and brilliance, the righteousness and brilliance of Christ, which is wrapped around believers and shelters them from certain death.


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