In what form did Christ's imputation come?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by TannedIrishman, May 17, 2014.

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  1. TannedIrishman

    TannedIrishman Puritan Board Freshman

    An Eastern Orthodox asked this question somewhere

    "Is the imputation between Christ & the sinner a transfer of human righteousness or divine righteousness? If human, would that not be considered Pelagian? And if Divine, why have the Incarnation in the first place?"

    I think Christ had to come to earth because without dying in our place, there would be no way to transfer righteousness in the first place.
     
  2. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    Christ's was a perfect human righteousness which at the Cross was imputed to us. Why did the Saviour have to be God? Because no human being could satisfy the wrath of God. Christ's divine essence and its worth were necessary there. However, what is transferred to us is not His divine righteousness, but His perfect human righteousness which was required by the law. But as already implied, keeping the law perfectly would not satisfy the wrath of God's justice. God also required a sacrifice for sins, and that could not have been just anyone, even if in perfect state, it had to be God Himself because God is holy and the Holy one was offended.
     
  3. TannedIrishman

    TannedIrishman Puritan Board Freshman

    What about Romans 3 where it says "the righteousness of God is now revealed" and in Corinthians where it says "that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."


    Josh,
    Practically-A-Presbyterian

    A simply-complex Jesus follower from Ireland who likes pancakes and can play the triangle.
    Check out my blog "Creverlasting: Where Creativity and Life Never End." http://yoshuascribes.wordpress.com

    "Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
    My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
    (Psalm 73:25-26)
     
  4. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    Let me clarify and actually correct myself. Because of our union with Christ through faith we share not only His human righteousness but the divine also, BUT only as far as our justification is concerned. We need His human righteousness to fulfil the law for us and we need His divine essence (including His divine righteousness) to validate the sacrifice for our sins. As regards our sanctification, we have no share in God's holy nature which includes His divine righteousness -- that would be to cross the line between the creature and the Creator. We will be as close to God as possible in every respect, but we will never become God.
     
  5. TannedIrishman

    TannedIrishman Puritan Board Freshman

    What's the difference between Christ's human obedience and his divine?


    Josh,
    Practically-A-Presbyterian

    A simply-complex Jesus follower from Ireland who likes pancakes and can play the triangle.
    Check out my blog "Creverlasting: Where Creativity and Life Never End." http://yoshuascribes.wordpress.com

    "Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
    My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
    (Psalm 73:25-26)
     
  6. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I would have said, "the righteousness of the Person," wherein each nature performs the role proper to itself. See LC 38-40 below. I have rendered in bold a phrase I consider especially pertinent to this question.

     
  7. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    Unlike us or anyone who has ever lived, Christ had two distinct natures, yet He was one person (that is also why we can say God died on the Cross). His human obedience would be His obedience as concerns His human nature, and His divine obedience would be His obedience as concerns His divine nature.
     
  8. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    That's correct as we need both His human and divine righteousness.
     
  9. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    That's what I was thinking, too... that it is Christ's righteousness imputed to us more than it is an impersonal human or divine righteousness. I suspect we might go batty trying to separate the human from the divine, when it simply is both because it comes from the person.

    That's my immediate thought, anyway. But it's not a question I've studied in any detail and I'm open to hearing from a scholar who has.
     
  10. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    Sinclair Ferguson has stated that, when we discuss the two natures of Christ in the hypostatic union, we walk a razors edge between orthodoxy and heresy. If we assign suffering to the divine nature, we will find ourselves in Patripassionism or Theopaschitism, both which are heresy. There is a very good discussion on this between Dr.'s Ferguson, Duncan, and Sproul in the conference series A Portrait of God A Portrait of God: 2004 National Conference Conference by Various Teachers from Ligonier Ministries in either Q&A #2 or #3.... I don't remember. Chalcedon is the safe road..........
     
  11. TannedIrishman

    TannedIrishman Puritan Board Freshman

    The way I see it is that was in a covenant with God where by obedience to His command, Adam would live, but by disobedience he would die. It was the result of disobedience to this that Adam committed and act of unrighteousness (1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law) and have a fallen nature (Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?) and must die (Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die).

    So Christ, as the second Adam, must undo what was done, and solve each of the 3 problems that resulted from the violation of God's Covenant (which was created and began to be at some point in time). If sin is transgression of the law, notice the comparison here (2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him) in the same way that he was made sin, we are made righteous. And if sin is transgression of the law, the righteousness as used here, is always doing what is right. Note that before we could be made righteous, he needed to be made sin, so whatever our disagreements may be on the nature of the righteousness, the death and sin first needed to be taken cared of. This transfer here is by imputation and substitution as we see in in Isaiah 53:6 "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." The idea the of the transfer if guilt is not foreign to the scriptures, and is basically the idea behind all propitious sacrifice, and is clearly depicted in the Old Testament by the laying of hands on the guilt offering, transferring guilt to it.

    The necessity of the death and the life are shown in this passage:

    (Romans 5 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.)

    Atonement then is both the removal of wrath but also in a real sense salvation by His works (note that in the Levitical sacrifice, the lamb had to be pure).

    But that leaves the transformation and Glorification of the fallen human, into the image of Christ. The believer is united to Christ and upon regeneration is made a new creature, by the same divine power of the Ressurection. It's the Ressurection life that the believer has. And this life is Divine in origin as scripture says 1 Peter 1:23 "for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God." And Christ being the Word of God and eternal life manifested in the flesh, it is in His life that we partake John 6:57 "Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me."

    The death and active obedience though the result of a covenant that was created and violated, are eternally significant. They remove the obstacles necessary so that the transformation of fallen man, into a new righteous nature may take place. But the righteousness of Christ human obedience, just by virtue of being human because it results from fulfilling a covenant that humans were under, is not something small. For it's by this that we read Phillipians 2:7-8 "but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming **obedient** to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 **Therefore** God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name."

    Christ's eternal exaltation by resurrection, ascension and enthronement, are by virtue of this "human righteousness" so to speak. His Divine righteousness, being under no covenant or authority, is simply who he is as God. His human righteousness is both passive, by virtue of a sinless human nature and an active one, by virtue of his obedience.

    So all that say, I'm not sure if I've answered the question on the relation between us and His divine nature, but as I said, a person does not exist apart from a nature, so His Divine is still crucial to all this, I just can't exact point to how (I've not really thought much on these things, I've only recently got sort of a grasp on the nature of the active obedience). Maybe Hebrews 9:14 can shed light, I'm not sure "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the **eternal Spirit** offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!"

    Either way, I don't see an issue, and this is why the difference between sanctification and justification are crucial to understand in Protestant thinking. They are of course related but there is a distinction.

    That's my take on it anyways :)
     
  12. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Yes, from Chalcedon we can determine via negativa what the union of the divine and the human was not.

    The hypostatic union is not:

    1. a denial that Christ was truly God (Ebionites, Elkasites, Arians);
    2. a dissimilar or different substance (anomoios) with the Father (semi-Arianism);
    3. a denial that Christ had a genuine human soul (Apollinarians);
    4. a denial of a distinct person in the Trinity (Dynamic Monarchianism);
    5. God acting merely in the forms of the Son and Spirit (Modalistic Monarchianism/Sabellianism/United Pentecostal Church);
    6. a mixture or change when the two natures were united (Eutychianism/Monophysitism);
    7. two distinct persons (Nestorianism);
    8. a denial of the true humanity of Christ (docetism);
    9. a view that God the Son laid aside all or some of His divine attributes (kenoticism);
    10. a view that there was a communication of the attributes between the divine and human natures (Lutheranism, with respect to the Lord's Supper); and
    11. a view that Jesus existed independently as a human before God entered His body (Adoptionism).
     
  13. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    George Smeaton, The Doctrine of the Atonement as taught by the Apostles, 111-112:

    Attempts have been made, however, to explain the phrase in a mystic way, by referring it to Christ's essential righteousness as a divine person. This notion, propounded by Osiander, and restored by some men of mystic tendencies, separates the one indivisible work of Christ into two parts, allowing pardon to be procured by Christ's atoning blood, but maintaining that righteousness is the communication of Christ's essential attribute. That argues a complete misconception of Christ's mediatorial work, which was meant to bring in what was due from man as a creature, and has everything in common with what the first man should have produced. The essential righteousness belongs to God as God, and to the Son of God as a divine person. But the righteousness of which the apostle speaks is that which was required from man as man, and which a Mediator, as our substitute, brought in to meet our wants; and though this could be brought in only by a God-man, uniting the two natures in one person, the whole is properly a created, not an uncreated, a human, not a divine righteousness. The supreme Lawgiver did not demand the essential righteousness of God, but what was proper to a creature made in the likeness and image of God. And it consists in action, not in the mere possession of a perfect nature. Adam had the pure nature, but failed in rendering the righteousness. But neither is it mere outward action or outward deed, but a perfect nature acting itself out, or approving itself to the Lawgiver by a compliance with the law in the sphere of tried obedience.

    We have only to examine the language of Scripture to see that the righteousness of God of which Paul so often speaks is not His essential righteousness: for God does not demand from man His own essential righteousness, but that which is competent to a creature; and the righteousness of created beings corresponds to the thought of God and the will of God, from whom they derive their origin. The creature's destiny is to bear the impress of the divine perfections in its sphere. Such would have been Adam's righteousness had it been verified (v. 12); that which the creature owes to the Creator, not that which the Creator Himself possesses. This will appear from the general phraseology of Scripture (Rom. x. 3).
     
  14. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Looks like we're all thinking along the same lines!

    Since Christ is fully divine and fully human, I would say that His righteousness is fully divine and fully human.

    As Calvin wrote,

    (Institutes, III.i.1).
     
  15. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Christ undoubtedly has both a divine and human righteousness. However, it is human righteousness, righteousness of the law, His perfect obedience and full satisfaction, that is imputed to believers for their justification. We must reject the idea that His divine righteousness is imputed. That righteousness belongs to the Lawgiver.
     
  16. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I agree and would note that Christ's divine nature was necessary for the obtaining of human righteousness because it kept the human nature from original sin, from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and gave worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession.
     
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