The Righteous Fulfillment of the Law
Paul states that what the law could not do (make us righteous), God did
through the sending of his Son. That the righteous requirement of the
law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but
according to the Spirit.
In what way has God fulfilled the righteous requirement of the Law in
I. There are two distinct teachings concerning the idea of the
imputation of righteousness.
A. There are those (Calvinist) who believe regardless of what you
do as a Christian, once you have been baptized into Christ, the perfect
life of Christ is imputed to you. In other words you are righteous
because he was righteous. Christ’s righteousness has been laid to your
account. The scriptures do not teach this although they are twisted to
attempt to say this. Romans 3:25, Romans 5:18; 2 Cor. 5:21; Tit. 3:5
1. The problem with this doctrine that originated with John
Calvin is that it denies man has any responsibility before God to obey.
Romans 6 would refute this. We are servants of righteousness. Titus
2:11-12—God’s grace has appeared to all men but not his salvation. It
is dependent on our obedient to him.
2. This Calvinistic teaching would actually deny the
imputation of righteousness. To impute comes for logizomai and
means to reckon. The word that means to put down to ones credit
(ellogao) is only used twice in the scriptures (Romans 5:13; Philemon
18) and in neither case is the writer speaking about imputing
righteousness to another.
3. The doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ to our lives is wrong because it places salvation in the perfection
of his life not in the perfection of his death! It is the shedding of his
blood that brings salvation. (Matt. 26:26)
B. Most brethren In the conservative fellowship believe that faith
is reckoned as righteousness when we are obedient to all of God’s law.
This amounts to perfect law keeping= righteousness. Romans 5:17-21;
In an article in Truth Magazine, November 27, 1980, brother Marshall
Patton wrote the following:
Righteousness simply means without guilt, and it is a gift of God to the
sinner upon the condition of an obedient faith. … the Bible teaches
righteousness is a gift from God, not upon the basis of meritorious
works…but upon the basis of obedience to conditions whereby faith is
perfected (Romans 4:3; James 2:21-24)
This seems to be somewhat contradictory. Obedience is essential for
righteousness, according to our brother, but it is not meritorious works,
righteousness itself is a gift from God.
1. The problem with this doctrine is righteousness being a
gift is a summation of the process in one word. Righteousness is an
action, it is the act of doing what is right. What is right is faith! Eph. 2:8
2. Abraham had righteousness imputed (reckoned) to him
when he believed before he did anything (Romans 4:9-10) God knew
he would follow through.
II. The problem with these two explanations of the doctrine of
imputation is that they both are wrong!!!
A. Romans 8:3-4- What the law could not do. If righteousness
comes because of faithful obedience to law, then righteousness could
have been had by the law. But man cannot keep law perfectly. The
moment you violate one law, you become a lawbreaker (unrighteous).
(James 2:10; Rom. 2:25; Gal. 5:3) Righteousness does not come by the
law (Galatians 2:21) Justification does not come by keeping law
B. Jesus kept the law perfectly, thus fulfilling the requirement of
law (that it be kept). Therefore, he could die as the perfect sacrifice for
sin because he was without spot or blemish.
C. We are made righteous because of faith in his righteous
sacrifice. It is his blood that atones our sins and continues to remove
D. This, however, is conditional on us walking in the Spirit
E. It is His grace that is the gift. Righteousness comes when we
believe God and follow his teachings. Therefore God reckons us to be
righteous even when we are sinful. 1 John 1:7. This happens because
we are walking with him and God covers our sins. This does not mean
that we can continue in sin that grace amount multiply (Romans 6:1),
but that as we walk with him and learn of him we become more like
Conclusion: The judicious requirement of the law is that we all die for
our sins. But Christ has satisfied this requirement, being sin for us or in
our place, took the penalty for us. We, therefore, are able to be
righteous because of the sacrifice of his blood in atonement for our sin.
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Heb. 9:22)
Therefore it is not His righteous life that creates in us righteousness,
but his righteousness made him the perfect sacrifice for sin. Thus in his
blood we obtain righteousness when our faith brings us to walk in the