John Piper – Righteousness Imputed by Faith

19 Aug

4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

This leads to the second crucial thing to notice about the connection between verses 5 and 6—namely, the parallel between God’s act of justifying in verse 5 and God’s act of crediting or imputing righteousness in verse 6. We have seen that “the ungodly” in verse 5 parallels “apart from works” in verse 6. It is natural then to take the phrase, “justify the ungodly” to be parallel with “credit righteousness apart from works.”

Therefore Paul thinks of justification of the ungodly in terms of a positive imputation of righteousness apart from works. And this righteousness is the direct object of the verb “credit/impute” (“[God] credits righteousness,” λογίζεται δικαιοσύνην χωρίς ἔργων, logizetai dikaiosunēn chōris ergōn, 4:6). Thus he is not using the same wording or grammar as in verse 5 where “faith is imputed for righteousness,” but rather he is saying that righteousness (an objective reality outside us) is imputed to us. Justification in Paul’s mind is God’s imputing righteousness to us “by faith” rather than faith being treated as righteousness within us.

~John Piper~

Counted Righteous in Christ: Should We Abandon the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness? (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2002), 58.

Books by John Piper

Kindle Books

John Piper Books on Logos Bible Software

Other Piper Quotes at the Cross Quoter

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