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John Piper – Righteousness Not Our Own

30 Sep

I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish in order that I might gain Christ, (9) and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.

When Paul says that he aims to be found “in [Christ], not having a righteousness of my own,” does he mean that the righteousness he hopes to have in Christ is the righteousness that consists in his own faith? That is highly unlikely, because the righteousness that he aims to have is his by virtue of being “in Christ” (ἐν αὐτῷ, en autō) and is said to be “through faith” (διὰ πίστεως, dia pisteōs) and “based on faith” (ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει, epi tē pistei). The conceptual framework here is not that faith is our righteousness, but that, because of faith, we are united to Christ in whom we have a righteousness “from God” (τὴν ἐκ θεοῦ, tēn ek theou). This too supports our earlier conclusion that imputed righteousness is not “righteousness that consists in our faith,” but rather an external “righteousness credited to us because of our faith.”

~John Piper~




Counted Righteous in Christ: Should We Abandon the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness? (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2002), 62-63.

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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.

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Kevin Deyoung – How Can We be Counted Righteous?

30 May

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21 NIV). The parallelism in this passage does not work unless there is a double imputation. Just as God reckoned the sinless Christ as a sinner by imputing to Him our sin, so God reckons us righteous in Christ because the sinlessness of the Lord Jesus has been imputed to us. Jesus was not punished because He actually possessed sin in Himself, just as we are not justified because we actually possess righteousness in ourselves. Rather, both things happen by imputation. Imputation means instead of holding $500 in your hand, someone else wires it to your account. The money is not actually in your physical possession, but it is legally and truthfully considered to be yours. This is what imputation is all about, God counting to us a perfect life of obedience richer than we’ve ever lived. Thus He grants us a perfect righteousness we have no chance to ever achieve.

~Kevin DeYoung~


The Good News We Almost Forgot (Chicago, IL; Moody Publishers; 2010) p.109

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