The crediting by God to believers with righteousness on account of Jesus Christ. Paul argues that Abraham did nothing which earned him the status of being righteous in the sight of God. Rather, Abraham believed the promise of God, and for that reason was granted the status of being righteous before God. Likewise, all who trust in Jesus Christ have righteousness imputed to them—that is, reckoned as if it was theirs. Imputation should not be confused with impartation. Believers are not made right ethically (impartation), but put right relationally (imputation). What God changes is not the character of believers but their legal standing before him. From this new position, believers are called to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in sanctification so that their character increasingly reflects their new standing.
Dictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index copyright Martin H. Manser, 2009. As Editor, Martin Manser wishes to thank all those who compiled or edited the NIV Thematic Study Bible, on which this work is based.
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