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What is imputed righteousness? Why does Christ's righteousness need to be imputed to us?

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Christ's righteousness refers to His perfect state of being. His perfection is necessary because sin separates people from God. Imputed is a form of the word imputation that means to designate an action as reckoned or given to a person. In other words, the righteousness of Jesus is given to us when we believe in order to make us right before God.

Why is this important? Romans 3:23 notes, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." No one is good enough to stand before God based on his or her own righteous actions. In fact, sin separates us from God. Romans 6:23 teaches, "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

If we all sin, cannot be right before God on our own, and the consequence of our sin is death and eternal separation from God in hell, our only hope is an outside source that will make us right. This is why the righteousness of Jesus is needed. When we believe in Jesus, we confess our sins and receive His forgiveness: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Romans 4 is sometimes referred to as the imputation chapter as it speaks about this issue in detail. In referring to Abraham's faith, Paul notes, "That is why his faith was 'counted to him as righteousness.' But the words 'it was counted to him' were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification" (Romans 4:22-25). The righteousness of Christ is given to us who believe to change our lives and make us right before God.

Second Corinthians 5:21 puts it this way, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus paid for our sins through His death on the cross so we could become the righteousness of God. This righteousness comes from Jesus, offering us a way to have access to a perfect God for all eternity.

In Galatians 2:20, the apostle Paul proclaimed the importance of this righteousness in our lives today: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Jesus gave Himself for us; in response, we are called to live our lives for Him. He changes our lives through His grace and offers us a life that is new and forgiven.

Related Truth:

What does righteousness mean?

What is justification according to the Bible?

What is sanctification?

What is glorification according to the Bible?

How is Jesus' sacrifice propitiation for our sins?

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