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Galatians 2:15 by Robert Dean
Series:Galatians (1998)
Duration:56 mins 49 secs

Imputations: Key to Justification; Gal. 2:16


Galatians 2:16 NASB "nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified."


We can understand that justification means that God declares us to be absolutely righteous, but while that is good and it gives a bearing on the subject there is so much more to it than that. Justification is built on another doctrine: the doctrine of imputation. Imputation means to reckon something or to credit something to someone's account. The Greek word is logizomai [logizomai] which has to do with an acco0untinmg term where you would credit something to someone's account. To really understand justification we must first understand imputation. To understand imputation (there are seven different imputations in the Scripture) we have to decide which imputations apply. In understanding the doctrine of justification we see that there are three: the imputation of Adam's original sin to the individual, the imputation of our sins to the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, and the imputation of His righteousness to every believer at the moment of faith alone in Christ alone. Three imputations apply in the doctrine of justification and they all relate to righteousness. Justification itself comes from the Greek word dikaioo [dikaiow]. It is a legal term, not an experiential term, and it has to do with what takes place in the courtroom of justice; specifically the Supreme Court of heaven in relationship to a creature who is fallen and condemned by sin. The imputation is the imputation of righteousness, the Greek word dikaiosune [dikaiosunh], and that has to do with righteousness or justice. But imputation is built on something else. To understand what is imputed to the believer, which is the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, we have to understand some things about the righteousness of God.

Romans 1:16, 17 NASB "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it {the} righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'BUT THE RIGHTEOUS {man} SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.'" This gives us the phrase dikaiosune tou theou [dikaiosunh tou qeou], "righteousness of God." That is what is imputed to the believer, specifically the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Imputation is then built on an understanding of the righteousness and the justice of God which we have come to understand in conjunction with divine love as the integrity of God.

Remember, justice is the guardian of divine integrity. God cannot compromise His perfect standard of absolute righteousness, therefore divine justice is the point of contact between God and man, and justice and righteousness have to be satisfied before God can personally love man again. This means that the solution to human sin had to be first and foremost a solution which satisfies the judicial demands of God based on His righteousness. This is very important; it is setting a legal context for understanding salvation. Because the problem is judicial the solution has to be judicial. Because the problem has to do with the righteousness of God the solution has to deal with the righteousness of God. The solution has to satisfy the righteous demands of God.

  God's love and creatures (cont.)

7.  With the loss of rapport with God divine love was no longer the point of contact between man and God.

8.   Therefore the love of God express toward sinful, fallen, unregenerate mankind is impersonal and unconditional. John 3:16—impersonal love in God emphasises the perfect and absolute qualities of God rather than the failures of man. Divine impersonal love does not require compatibility, intimacy, friendliness or attraction with man in order to be sustained; it is based solely and exclusively on the stability of God's own character.

9.  Once a person is regenerate then God loves him personally because now it is based on the imputed righteousness of Christ.

10.  In the post-fall world (since Adam's fall) justice always precedes love. God's justice has to be satisfied before His personal love is free to be exercised on our behalf. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and because we have the imputed righteousness of Christ we are the beneficiaries of God's personal love and we can have harmonious rapport with God in the spiritual life. After salvation His love becomes our point of reference.

11.  Because divine justice is satisfied man can have a relationship with God. Justice precedes love. Love motivates but justice has to be satisfied before God can exercise personal love towards man.

12.  This also means that God is never impressed with our good deeds. The issue is not our works. After salvation we can never earn divine approval or blessing; we already have it. It is ours at the moment of salvation because we possess the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. So then we are able to say that what the righteousness of God approves the justice of God blesses through the love of God and expressed through the grace of God.

The grace of God

1.  Grace is God's policy toward mankind. It is the policy of God's integrity in bestowing unmerited favour on sinful humanity. In a simplified way grace means undeserved favour, undeserved merit; something we have not earned or deserved. In eternity past God the Father decided that His policy toward man would be exclusively based on grace because there was nothing that fallen man could ever do to obtain His approval or His merit.

2.  Grace is not only the basis for salvation it the basis for the spiritual life. The basic categories of grace are: a) Common grace—those acts of divine benevolence which is common to all mankind, including the natural bounties of the earth, the restraint of sin by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit's function as a human spirit in the unbeliever at the point of gospel hearing so that they can understand the nature of the gospel; b) Efficacious grace—that grace which is effective for salvation. This is a specific ministry of God the Holy Spirit who acknowledges and transforms the faith of a spiritually dead person and makes it effective for salvation. Without the work of the Holy Spirit the volition of an unbeliever would never result in eternal life; c) Saving grace—that aspect of grace which relates to providing everything necessary to bring the believer into a permanent relationship with God the Father. It expends to all the works of God that brings about a permanent relationship with God; d) Logistical grace—this has to do with basic grace blessings in providing physical and spiritual sustenance in the life of the believer. Logistical grace is indispensable in fulfilling the plan of God. It means that God is going to bless us logistically regardless of obedience or disobedience; e) Greater grace—there are various stages of greater grace blessings, according to James chapter four. Greater grace blessings are those that go to the growing and maturing believer, not because he is obedient but because as he learns doctrine and as he grows to maturity he develops a capacity for utilizing those blessings that God has for him. These blessings are contingent upon the believer's spiritual growth. God is not going to bless us beyond our capacity. They are already given to us but we are going to have to grow to a certain level of maturity in order to utilise them. Until then God holds them in reserve.  

3.  No one has any special privileges or position with God. Remember the justice of God is absolutely impartial and the blessing of God from the justice of God is based on the perfect righteousness of Christ which is the same for every single believer. Romans 2:11 NASB "For there is no partiality with God."