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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Purpose of the Great Tribulation, #3
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)
We have lost sight of this important scriptural doctrine (the fact that the Church is to be made perfect) because of our overemphasis on imputed (ascribed) righteousness. The minds of the believers are confused in the area of righteousness. They cannot distinguish between ascribed righteousness and actual righteousness, often stating that we are perfect now because of Christ's perfection.
The extraordinary grip the idea of imputed righteousness has on the minds of Christians can be noted in a popular edition of the Scriptures that has Isaiah declaring the "imputed righteousness" of Jerusalem will go forth as brightness and be seen by the nations (Isaiah 62:1,2).
We cannot find a basis in the Hebrew text for the adjective imputed in Isaiah, Chapter 62. It is doubtful there is a basis in the original language because an imputed (ascribed) righteousness cannot go forth as brightness and be seen by the nations. Imputed righteousness is a legal posture, not godly behavior that can be seen by the nations (compare I Peter 2:12).
A current Jewish translation of Isaiah reveals no shade of meaning whatever suggesting that the righteousness of Jerusalem will be that which is ascribed apart from actual righteousness of behavior.
It appears that God's people have been deceived by an unsound scholarship.
The fact that the adjective imputed has been added to the text of a modern translation reveals the strength of the bias operating in the mind of the editor. It is clear we are in need of a restoration of understanding concerning the role of righteous, holy, obedient conduct in the Divine salvation.
It is true that the believer who is walking in God's will, who is trusting in Christ, is without condemnation in God's sight at that level of his development. But the Holy Spirit continually is guiding him into an increase in righteous, holy, and obedient behavior.
Imputed righteousness and imputed perfection cease to apply when the Christian is walking in the flesh and not following the Spirit of God. It is only as we are walking in the light of God's Presence and will, having holy fellowship with God, that the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus is cleansing us from all sin (I John 1:7).
If the only, or primary, righteousness that comes to us through Christ were that which is imputed, the bulk of the New Testament writings would be meaningless. The New Testament writings have to do with godly behavior.
Will the new Jerusalem be holy primarily by imputation (assigned righteousness)? Will the pilgrim enter the new Jerusalem expecting to find godliness, only to meet fornicators, liars, thieves, the profane, the self-seeking—the members of a typical Christian church? Is the city holy only because of the assigned righteousness of Christ's holiness and righteousness?
The truth is, the new Jerusalem actually is a holy city and its inhabitants are "all righteous" (Isaiah 60:21). They are not righteous on the basis that Christ's righteousness is ascribed to them, they are righteous because Christ is in them and their former personalities have died on the cross. The Life of Jesus is being revealed in their thoughts, motives, attitudes, words, and deeds.
What an area of confusion this is today!
To be continued.