Justified By an Alien Righteousness

It seems to become more and more obvious with each passing day that the authentic gospel of Jesus Christ is under attack as never before. Of course, as has always been the case, the most severe and biting attacks come not from pagans outside, but from professed Christians. Under the guise of combating “the Heresy of New Calvinism,” some are denying truths that have been held by true believers for centuries. The chief Guru over at “Paul’s Passing Thoughts” (a blog I would never recommend) seems hung up on an idea that was emphasized years ago by a group called “the Australian Forum.” That concept is that the emphasis of the gospel is not on what God is doing in our hearts, but on what he has accomplished objectively in Christ. Additionally, they emphasized the idea that the basis or ground of the believer’s justification before God is not grace (or enablement) that he imparts or infuses to the believer as a result of Christ’s redeeming work, but an alien righteousness that he imputes to (legally puts to the account of) believers. The believer’s justification was objectively accomplished by the redemptive work of Christ.

I was probably in my early twenties before I heard a clear sermon on the doctrine of justification through faith alone, based on the redemptive work of Christ alone. The “gospel” I had heard was “Jesus died for you; if you will just let him come into your heart, he will forgive.” I challenge anyone to find a biblical writer or preacher either telling an unconverted audience “Jesus died for you,” or “If you let Jesus come into your heart, he will save you.” I can save you a bit of time. Don’t bother looking for it, because it isn’t there.

This does not mean God does nothing in the believer; of course, he does. It does mean what he does in the believer in the work of sanctification (an ongoing and internal work of God in which he makes us holy) forms no part of the basis of the believer’s justification(an instantaneous legal declaration in which God declares believers righteous in his sight). The ground of a believer’s justification has nothing at all to do with what God does in the believer.

Another way of stating this truth is to say justification is not through sanctification, instead, sanctification is through justification. This does not mean believers are not required to be obedient because Christ’s obedience and righteousness have been imputed to them. What it means is that believers now have free access to enter God’s presence boldly. People with a guilty conscience don’t worship or obey God. We need to be forgiven before we can be obedient. God’s method of putting sinners right with himself sets believers free from all guilt. No longer must we struggle to be acceptable to God. Everything we do post-conversion that pleases God, we do because we have already been accepted in the Beloved.

How important is this distinction? A person’s eternal destiny depends on it. If you believe even the slightest part of the basis of your right legal standing before God is an internal righteousness you possess personally, that is, by your own obedience, even if you believe that righteousness and obedience has been brought about by grace God has infused to you as a result of Jesus’ death, you are lost and doomed to eternal destruction.

If you have questions about what I have written here, Let’s discuss it. Don’t just make assumptions and then accuse me of heresy


4 Responses to “Justified By an Alien Righteousness”

  1. August 3, 2012 at 12:39 am


    You should check out this article that shows why Imputation is totally unbiblical:


    The definition of Impute you gave does not align with the Bible’s teaching.

    • August 3, 2012 at 2:09 am


      I have read your article and thoroughly disagree with your conclusions as well as with your methods. It is clear you have taken many of your citations out of context. I suppose your approach to the issue is the reason you are a Roman Catholic and I am not and will never be.

      In regard to the the Greek word “logizomai” it should be clear that the word which is an accounting term can be applied to reckoning something to be true of a person or a situation, whether it is actually true of them or not. Paul is to be reckoned to be an Apostle; Onesimus’ debt is to be accounted to be Paul’s debt even though it isn’t. Whether the accounting accords with reality is not the issue. God calls those things that are not as though they were. So it is with the righteousness believers possess before God.

      I agree with you that “imputation” does not refer to an actual “transfer” of righteousness. Jesus did not actually become a sinner by imputation, and we do not actually become righteous by the imputation of his righteousness. God judicially accounts this to be true, though we are ungodly. He justifies the ungodly (See Romans 4:5).
      In regard to the Church Fathers, unlike you I don’t hold any man, writing apart from divine inspiration, to be authoritative. There was at least as much heresy in the Church Fathers as there was truth. I, for one, intend to stick with the Grandfathers.

      Finally, you seemed to want to argue that God’s accepts faith as some kind of meritorious work. The reality is, faith does not arise out of sinful nature. If a person could produce faith on his own, he could probably produce obedience that would please God as well. The Bible teaches that we can produce neither.

      What you have written, though it obviously required a great deal of your time, is clearly contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture. I am going to rest on the righteousness of Christ for my eternal destiny. I would urge you to do the same. Your personal righteousness, however laudable it may be in the sight of other people, will never justify you in God’s presence. Thanks for commenting.

  2. 3 Greg
    June 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    From the above article:
    “If you believe even the slightest part of the basis of your right legal standing before God is an internal righteousness you possess personally, that is, by your own obedience, even if you believe that righteousness and obedience has been brought about by grace God has infused to you as a result of Jesus’ death, you are lost and doomed to eternal destruction.”

    With that being said, Here is what I believe.

    I believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and I believe that my Heavenly Father will not forgive me if I refuse to forgive my fellow man.

    Do you think I am lost and doomed to eternal destruction?

    • June 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm


      Thanks for the question. First, let me comment that what I believe about your eternal state is of no importance whatsoever. All that truly matters is what God thinks of you.

      If I understand your question properly, it is based on my statement that if you trust in your own obedience you are lost and doomed to eternal destruction. The issue you raise concerns justification only in terms of the evidence of its reality. If you are the kind of person who refuses to forgive a repenting brother, you give evidence that you do not have God´s love within you. In other words, forgiven people will be forgiving people.

      The other aspect of this issue is that it deals specifically with our communion or fellowship with God, not our righteous standing before God. If we seeks our Father´s forgiveness seeking to reestablish communinion with him, but refuse to forgive our brother whose transgression could not have offended us as badly as our sins have offended our Father, he will not forgive us and restore us to fellowship.

      The issue about which I have written here is a completely different issue. The issue is not what we do or don´t do. The issue is what we trust to make us right with God. If you trust in your ability to forgive your fellow man as the meritorious basis of your justification before God, then you are not trusting in the work of Christ alone. Believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is not specific enough. The demons certainly believe the same. The real question is whether a person is trusting anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ to save him from his sins.

      I hope this adequately answers your question. Thanks again for stopping by.

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