Rom. 4:1-25; Gen. 15:6; James 2:23; Gal.3:6
1. Imputed Righteousness is clearly taught in the passages we have read. That is not an issue.
2. The question is whether such imputation of Righteousness is mediate or immediate–by means or on conditions or without means and unconditionally. Same as studying operation of the Spirit.
3. It will by my purpose to show that the sinner who has faith in Christ is declared righteous by our Maker. This will involve the study of the two words which make up the subject: Imputed and Righteousness.
4. I also would like to introduce some historical material which should give a good background for such a study.
I. A STATEMENT OF THE ISSUE:
A. The question deals with an age-old problem that even perplexed the patriarch Job.
1. In reply to Bildad, Job admits the truth of what he said, but asks, “How can a man be in the right before (with) God?” (Job. 9:2).
2. God who is perfect in wisdom and absolute in strength and overwhelming in argument, (see verses 3-12) versus man who is weak, ignorant and who may say, “though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me,” (Job. 9:20) is an unequal contest.
3. Job argues that there is no “umpire” NASB (Job 9:33) or third party between man and God and so Job feels unequal to the task of trying to be right and guiltless before God.
B. Since the entrance of sin into the world, humanity needs justification and righteousness and he has not the power to get it without God’s help.
1. The human race, without help, can do nothing about either sin or a right relation to God.
a. Expressed by Jeremiah: “I know O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself; nor is it in man who walks to direct his steps.: (Jer. 10:23).
b. An impassioned expression of the futility of a man in sin with no knowledge of how to find remedy, Isaiah leads us in the appeal: “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like filthy garments and all of us wither like a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” (Isa. 64:6).
2. But God has made the way possible, through His Son’s death. (Read Romans 3:21-26).
a. It is conditional or mediate–rather than unconditional and immediate.
(1) Note I John 3:7 — “Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”
(2) God only imputes righteousness to those who have faith in His Son. “that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:26).
b. Thus this is faith that obeys that God requires.
(1) “According to James faith without works is dead; according to Paul faith is all-sufficient for salvation. But what does James mean by faith? The answer is perfectly plain. The faith which James is condemning is a mere intellectual assent which has no effect upon conduct. The demons also, he says, have that sort of faith, and yet evidently they are not saved (James 2:19). What Paul means by faith is something entirely different; it is not a mere intellectual assent to certain propositions, but an attitude of the entire man by which the whole life is instructed to Christ. In other words, the faith that James is condemning is not the faith that Paul is commending.
“The solution of the whole problem is provided by Paul himself in a single phrase. In Ga. 5:6, he says, ‘For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love.’ ‘Faith working through love’ is the key to an understanding both of Paul and of James. The faith about which Paul has been speaking is not the idle faith which James condemns, but a faith that works. It works itself out through love. And what love is Paul explains in the whole last division of Galatians. It is no mere emotion, but the actual fulfilling of the whole moral law. ‘For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself’ (Gal.5:14). Paul is fully as severe as James against a faith that permits men to continue in sin. The faith about which he is speaking is a faith that receives the Spirit who gives men power to lead a holy life.”
-Machen’s Notes on Gal. p.220-221
(2) The faith Paul has in mind in Rom. 3:26 is an obedient faith.
C. This faith is imputed or reckoned or accounted unto or for or as righteousness.
1. Note the use of the Greek preposition, EIS.
a. NASB unfortunately translated it here “as.” Also the NIV
(1) AV and ASV and NKJV all “for.”
(2) Of special interest to me is the German editions:
(a) Martin Luther (1975) “und das ist ihm als Gerechtigkeit angerechtet.”
(b) But the Zwingli: “Abraham aber glaubte Gott, und es wurde ihm zur Gerechtigkeit angerechnet.”
(c) Eberfelder: “Denn was sagt die Schrift? Abraham aber glaubte Gott, und es wurde item zur Gerechtigkeit gerechnet.”
b. In the passage of Rom. 4, Paul shows that the believer shows his faith and that his faith is (eis), i.e., ‘unto’ or in order to righteousness.
“…on the basis of his faith, he may forgive his sins and thus constitute him a righteous person.” – R.L. Whiteside.
Elogisthe auto eis dikaiosunen (Rom. 4:3).
Elogisthe to Abraam he pistis eis dikaiosunen vs. 9
Elogisthe auto eis dikaiosunen – vs 2
c. Faith that obeys is in order to righteousness and is no work of merit.
2. There is a negative aspect:
a. To impute righteousness to the believer is the same as removing his unrighteousness.
b. The conditional nature seen in this is clear. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).
3. The phrase “impute righteousness” is the same as God saying, “I justify man.
a. “The phrase ‘to reckon faith for righteousness’ is a periphrasis for ‘to justify’.” – Hastings
b. “To justify means in Pauline phraseology, to regard and treat one as righteous; to confer the gift of righteousness: in other words, to declare one accepted with God.” Ibid. Vol. IV,p.283
c. “To justify a person is to declare him free from guilt. Law cannot declare a person just, or free from guilt, if he had violated it in only one point. Justification by law was impossible, for all sinned. But apart from the law, a plan of righteousness had been revealed. The apostle tells us that this justification is free; and he further emphasizes the fact that it is free by adding that it is by grace. It is bestowed gratuitously. It is not arrived at by merit, but comes by grace. And it is by faith. By the term ‘faith’ Paul means all that is implied in accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, Prophet, Priest, and King.” – Whiteside
II. THE VIEWS MEN HAVE TAKEN: (Chart)
A. Catholicism: See notes on “Infused Righteousness or Virtues”
B. Calvinism: Quote Calvin, Warfield, Billy Graham.
C. Some brethren: Quote Fudge, “A Journey Toward Jesus”, p. 6,7.
D. The Biblical view is that we are declared righteous on the basis of our faith in Christ non-transferable righteousness.
III. THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:
A. The Pelagian Theory:
1. “The Pelagians denied the equity and, therefore, under the government of God, the possibility of the involvement of one free agent in the acts of another; they utterly denied, therefore, that men either suffer harm from Adam’s sin or profit by Christ’s merits. By their examples only, they said, can either Adam or Christ affect us; and by free imitation of them alone can we share in their merits or demerits.” -Biblical and Theo. Studies, Warfield, p.264
2. “Other troubles from the West, invaded the church in this century, and continued down through subsequent ages. Pelagius and Coelestius the form a Briton, and the latter an Irishman, both monks living at Rome, and in high reputation for their virtues and piety, conceived that the doctrines of Christians concerning the innate depravity of man and the necessity of internal divine grace in order to the illumination and renovation of the soul, tended to discourage human efforts, and were a great impediment to the progress of holiness, and of course ought to be rooted out of the church. They therefore taught, that what was commonly inculcated and believed, respecting a corruption of human nature derived to us from our first parents, was not true; that the parents of the human race sinned only for themselves, and not for their posterity; that men are now born as pure and innocent, as Adam was when God created him; that men therefore can, by their natural power, renovate themselves, and reach the highest degree of holiness; that external grace is indeed needful, to excite men to efforts; but that they have no need of any internal divine grace. These doctrines and those connected with them, the above-mentioned monks secretly disseminated at Rome. But in the year 410, on account of the invasion of the Goths, they retired from Rome, and going first to Sicily and thence to Africa, they more openly advanced their opinions. From Africa, Pelagius went to Egypt; but Coelestius continued at Carthage, and solicited a place among the presbyters of that city. But his novel opinions being detected, he was condemned in a council at Carthage A.D. 412; and leaving the country, he went to Asia. From this time, Augustine the famous bishop of Hippo, began to assail with his pen the doctrines of Pelagius and Coelestius; and to him chiefly belongs the praise of suppressing this sect at its very birth.” – Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, Ancient and Modern, Vol. I, 370-372
John Lawrence Von Mosheim.
B. The Socinians:
1. Historically the Socinians denied the three Persons of God, and in the 17th century denied the sacrifice of Christ as an offering for our sins. They argued, “it is inane to speak of the transference of either merit or demerit from one person to another; we can be bad with another’s badness, or good with another’s goodness, as little as we can be white with another’s whiteness.” – Warfield, p. 266.
2. It is unfair to link opposition to the immediate and unconditional imputation theories of Calvinism to Socinians, for they were too heretical in other matters.
C. The Arminians:
1. The same can almost be said of these. although they were not so far off.
2. ‘The doctrines of Christianity were disfigured among the Reformed just as among the Lutherans, by the Peripatetic or rather the Scholastic paint. The entire subjugation of these doctrines to the empire of Aristotle, and their reduction to the form of a peripatetic science, was first resisted by the Arminians; who followed a more simple mode of teaching, and inveighed loudly against such divines as subjected the doctrines relating to man’s salvation to the artificial distinctions and phraseology of the schools.”
– Mosheim, Vol.III, p. 399
3. They denied, “the imputation of our sins to Christ or of His righteousness to us. – Warfield, p. 267
D. The Council of Trent:
1. For those who have studied church history, this council was the important step in the “counter-reformation.”
2. It established the Catholic idea of “infused Virtue.”
“Man cannot be justified without God’s prevenient grace, though he has free will sufficient to cooperate with or reject the gift. And in justification, man receives not merely remission of sins, but ‘all these infused at once, faith, hope and charity.’ His growth in these Christian virtues — ‘the increase of justification received’–is aided by the observance ‘of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith cooperating with good works.’ These good works, which increase justification, have merit which deserves eternal life; and they are truly man’s, though only in the sense that divine grace enables him to do them. Thus, while saying much with which a Protestant would agree, the decree (of the council of Trent, DRS) practically allowed full room for a system of work righteousness.” – The Epochs of Church History, The Reformation, page 397-398.
IV. DEFINITION OF TERMS INVOLVED:
A. Impute: (Reckon, Count)
a. K. Wuest: “‘Counted’ is logizomai. It was used in early secular documents; ‘put down to one’s account, let my revenues be placed on deposit at the storehouse; I now give orders generally with regard to all payments actually made or credited t to the government.’ Thus, God put to Abraham’s account, placed on deposit for him, credited to him, righteousness. The actual payment had not been made, the actual bestowal of righteousness had not been consummated, and for the reason that our Lord had not yet paid the penalty of man’s sin and had not yet been raised from the dead. Abraham possessed righteousness in the same manner as a person would possess a sum of money placed in his account in a bank. Since the resurrection Old Testament saints share with New Testament believers the possession of Christ as the righteousness in which they stand, guiltless and righteous for time and for eternity.” Loc. Cit., Romans.
b. “The word impute is familiar and unambiguous. To impute is to ascribe to, to reckon to, to lay to one’s charge. When we say we impute a good or bad motive to a man, or that a good or evil action is imputed to him, no one misunderstands our meaning. Philemon had no doubt what Paul meant when he told him to impute to him the debt of Onesimus. ‘Let not my Lord impute iniquity unto me.’ (1 Sam. xxii.15.) ‘Neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it.’ (Lev. vii.18). ‘Blood shal1 be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood.’ (Lev. xvii.4). ‘Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.’ (Psa. xxxii.2.) ‘Unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.’ (Rom.iv.6.) God is ‘in Christ not imputing their trespasses unto them.’ (2 Cor.v.l9.)”
“The meaning of these and similar passages of Scripture has never been disputed. Every one understands them. We use the word impute in its simple admitted sense, when we say that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer for his justification.” -Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, p. 144 Charles Hodge
a. Olshausen: “Whatsoever is reckoned or imputed to a person, that the person cannot himself possess (Rom. ii.26,…uncircumcision is counted for cir.) but he is looked upon and treated as if he had it.”
b. Godet: “It is possible to put to one’s account what he possesses or what he does not possess. In the first case it is a simple act of justice; in the second, it is a matter of grace. The latter is Abraham’s case, since God reckons his faith to him for what it is not: for righteousness.”
c. Meyer: See note
1. Keil & Delitzech: “…righteousness, as a human characteristic, is correspondence to the will of God in character and conduct, or a state answering to the divine purpose of a man’s being. This was the state in which man was first created in the image of God; but it was lost by sin, through which he placed himself in opposition to the will of God and to his own divinely appointed destiny, and could only be restored by God. when the human race had universally corrupted its way, Noah alone was found righteous before God (vii. 1), because he was blameless and walked with God. (vi. 9). This righteousness Abram acquired through his unconditional trust in the Lord, his undoubting faith in His promise, and his ready obedience to His word. This state of mind, which is expressed in the words was reckoned to him as righteousness, so that God treated him, as a righteous man, and formed such a relationship with him, that he was placed in living fellowship with God. The foundation of this relationship was laid in the manner described in ver 7-11”
– Clarkes Foreign Theological Library, 3rd Series, Keil & Delitzsch on the Pentateuch, Vol. I. en loc.
2. Cremer: “denotes the act of pronouncing righteous, justification, acquittal; its precise meaning is determined by that of the verb dikaioo, to justify…for the most part absolutely–to settle or decree what is right, to recognize as right, to reckon as right…to recognize, to set forth, as righteous, to justify…as used by Paul, denotes nothing else than the judicial act of God, whereby man is pronounced free from guilt and punishment, and is thus recognized or represented as a righteous man.” – Lexicon, p. 195ff.
3. Robinson: “to declare righteous” p. 185. “of character, conduct, and the like, the being just as one should be, i.e. rectitude, uprightness, righteousness, virtue.” Ibid. p. 184.
4. Used in opposition to iniquity. “Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity.” (Hb 1:9).
5. Thirty four things the N.T. Teaches about Righteousness:
a. Hunger and thirst after. Mt. 5:6
b. Be persecuted for. Mt. 5:10
c. Ours to exceed scribes & Pharisees. 5:20
d. Seek kingdom and God’s R. first. 6:33
e. John came in way of R. 21:23
f. Work Righteousness. Acts 10:35
g. Revealed in Gospel. Rom. 1:17
h. Declared by God. Rom. 3:25
i. Faith counted for. Rom. 4:3,5 et. al.
j. Obedience unto (eis)R. Rom. 6:16
k. Become servant of R. Rom. 6:18
1. attain a R. of Faith. Rom. 9:30
m. Submit to God’s, lose ours Rom. 10:1-3
n. Moses describes a R. of law. Rom. 10:5
o. A R. of faith. 10:6
p. Believe unto (eis) R. Rom. 10:10
q. Comes not by Law. Gal. 2:21
r. Put on new man created in R. Eph. 4:24
s. Breast plate of. Eph. 6:14
t. Fruits of R. Phil. 1:11
u. Have not our own. Tit. 3:5; Phil. 3:9
v. Follow after I Tim.6:11; 2 Tm. 2:22
w. Word instructs in. 2 Tim. 3:16; Hb. 5:13
x. Crown of R. 2 Tim. 4:8
y. OT. worthies wrought R. & rec Prom. Hbll:33
z. Do Righteousness. I John 2:29, 3:7,10.
(a) Suffer for. I Pet. 3:14
(b) Live unto R. I Pet. 2:24 and much more .
V. THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM (Rom. 4:1-8)
A. Having shown in chap. 3 that men are not declared just by law or morality directed by any kind of law–that justification is on the basis of gospel faith (1:17), Paul now brings up the case of Abraham.
B. The Jews put so much stress on their ancestry which they proudly affirm to have started with Abraham. Note: John B:33 – “We are Abraham’s seed and have never yet been in bondaqe to any man…”
1. Circumcision was a seal of the fact that God credited to Abraham righteousness on the basis of the kind of faith Abraham showed. (Rom. 4:11)
a. It was before he was circumcised that he showed faith.
b. Therefore, the righteousness which God imputes to all men is based on faith tkat is like that of Abraham and not the law or the seal of circumcision.
2. Text does not say that God reckoned righteousness to Abraham because of his faith . . .”
a. God reckons to man only what man has or should have.
b. Abraham believed God and it was put down to his account that he was righteous in God’s sight.
3. Text does not say “Abraham’s faith was counted as a substitute for righteousness.
a. Rather it was “for” (eis) righteousness.
(1) Notice these identical expressions where eis dikaiosunen is used:
pisteuestai eis dikaiosunan” Ro.10:10
“hupakoes eis dikaiosungn.’ Ro.6:16.
4. No passage in all the Bible teaches that the righteousness or character of another is transferred, attributed to, accounted a or imputed to another person.
a. Meyer: “Faith is not actual righteousness, but, in view of the provision made by the grace of God for the forgiveness of sins, it is accounted as if it were: compare ii. 26, where the uncircumcision of the Gentile, in the supposed case, is reckoned as circumcision, though actually it is not circumcision. Faith, in the Christian system, is thus accepted of God in the place of the perfect righteousness which, on the legal method, was required for justification; and the man who believes is declared right before the Divine tribunal–all obstacles on the governmental side having been removed by the sacrifice of Christ (see iii. 24-26). It may be noticed, also, that in no passage in Paul’s writings, or in other parts of the N.T. where logidzesthai eis, or the verb alone is used is there a declaration that anything belonging to one person is imputed, accounted, or reckoned to another (the use of the kindred verb elloga (Philem. 18) constituting no proper exception), or a formal statement that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to believers. It is the believer’s own faith–as it was in the case of Abraham–which is reckoned to him.”
-Wm. P. Dickson, American Ed. and translator of Meyer.
b. Meyer’s own view: “Even in the pisteuein Theo (believed God) on the part of Abraham Paul has rightly discerned nothing substantial! different from the Christian pistis (Cp. Delitzsch), since Abraham’s faith had reference to the divine promise, and indeed to t promise which he, the man trusted by God and enlightened by God, recognized as that which embraced in it the future Messiah. Jn viii. 56).”
5. Macknight’s view: “In judging Abraham, God placed on the one side of the account his duties, and on the other his performances. And on the side of his performances he will place his faith, and by mere favour will value it as equal to a complete performance of his duties, and reward him as if he were a righteous person. But neither here, nor in Gal. iii. 6 is it said that Christ’s righteousness was counted to Abraham. In both passages the expression is, ‘Abraham believed God, and it, (viz., his believing God), was counted to him for righteousness:’ and ver. 9 of this chapter, ‘We affirm faith was counted to Abraham for righteousness.’ Also Gen. xv. 6, ‘And he believed God and he counted it to him for righteousness.’ See Rom. iv. 22,23,24. Farther, as it is nowhere said in Scripture, that Christ’s righteousness was imputed to Abraham, so neither is it said anywhere, that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to believers. In short, the uniform doctrine of the scripture is, that the believer’s ‘faith is counted to him for righteousness,’ by the mere grace or favour of God through Jesus Christ; that is, on account of what Christ hath done to procure that favour for them. This is very different from the doctrine of those who hold, that by having faith imputed or counted for righteousness, the believer becomes perfectly righteous; whether they mean thereby that faith is itself a perfect righteousness, or that it is the instrument of conveying to the believer the perfect righteousness of another. With respect to the first, it is not true that faith is a perfect righteousness; for if it were, justification would not be a free gift, but a debt. And with respect to the second supposition, although the perfect righteousness of another were conveyed to a sinner by faith, it would not make him perfectly righteous; because it is beyond the power of Omnipotence itself, by any means whatever, by making persons not to have sinned, who actually hath sinned. And yet, unless this is done, no believer can be perfectly righteous. On account of the perfect righteousness of another, God indeed may treat one as if he were perfectly righteous, but that is all. Nor does the Scripture carry the matter further.”
– Apostolic Epistles.
6. An Honest admission by a Baptist scholar:
“But the scriptures do not in explicit phrase speak of imputing Christ’s righteousness to the believer, and probably all that is meant by this expression is that we, believing and trusting in him, are justified and saved through and on the ground of the merits of his righteousness.”
– Commentary on the Ep. to Romans, by Albert N. Arnold & D.B. Ford in American Commentary Series. (Under the editorship of Alveh Hovey.
1. Great theme from the scriptures, but one that has been misused and the extremes that have risen out of these abuses have led to much sin, indifference and division among those professing to follow Christ.
2. Christ is to us righteousness, when we appropriate that to our selves by complying from the heart to those absolute conditions He demands. (I Cor. 1:30). We are saved by His resurrected life when we obey Him and cast our entire future to the path of faith that finally leads to eternal portals into a glory that will bewilder the mind of the greatest on earth.
Psa. 118:19-20: “Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous will enter through it.”
From Keil & Deilitsch
“In what way did Abram make known his faith in Jehovah? And in what way did Jehovah count it to him as righteousness? The reply to both questions must not be sought in the New Testament, but must be given or indicated in the context. What reply did Abram make on receiving the promise, or what did he do in consequence? When God, to confirm the promise, declared Himself to be Jehovah, who brought him out of Ur of the Chaldees to give him that land as a possession, Abram replied, ‘Lord, whereby shall I know that I shall possess it?’ God then directed him to ‘fetch a heifer of three years old,’ etc.; and Abram fetched the animals required, and arranged them (as we may certainly suppose, though it is not expressly stated) as God commanded him, Abram gave a practical proof that he believed Jehovah; and what God did with the animals so arranged was a practical declaration on the part of Jehovah, that He reckoned this faith to Abram as righteousness. The significance of the divine act is, finally summed up in ver. 18, in the words, ‘On that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram.’ Consequently Jehovah reckoned Abram’s faith to him as righteousness, by making a covenant with him, by taking Abram into covenant fellowship with Himself. from to continue and preserve, to be firm and to confirm, in Hiphil to trust, believe (pisteuein), expresses ‘that state of mind which is sure of its object, and relies firmly upon it;’ and as denoting conduct towards God, as ‘a firm, inward, personal, self-surrendering reliance upon a personal being, especially upon the source of all being.’ it is construed sometimes with (e.g. Deut. ix.23), but more frequently with (Num. xiv.ll, xx.12; Deut. i.32), ‘to believe the Lord,’ and ‘to believe on the Lord,’ to trust in Him, –pisteuein eis ton Theon, as the apostle has more correctly rendered the episteusen—to Theo of the LXX. (via. Rom. iv.5). Faith there is not merely assensus, but fiducia also, unconditional trust in the Lord and His word, even where the natural course of events furnishes no ground for hope or expectation. This faith Abram manifested, as the apostle has shown in Rom. iv.; and this faith God reckoned to him as righteousness by the actual conclusion of a covenant with him. , righteousness, as a human characteristic, is correspondence to the will of God both in character and conduct, or a state answering to the divine purpose of a man’s being. This was the state in which man was first created in the image of God; but it was lost by sin, through which he placed himself in opposition to the will of God and to his own divinely appointed destiny, and could only be restored by God. When the human race had universally corrupted its way, Noah alone was found righteous before God (vii.l), because he was blameless and walked with God (vi.9). This righteousness Abram acquired through his unconditional trust in the Lord, his undoubting faith in His promise, and his ready obedience to His words __________ was reckoned to him as righteousness, so that God treated him as a righteous man, and formed such a relationship with him, that he was placed in living fellowship with God. The foundation of this relationship was laid in the manner described in ver. 7-11.”
– Clarkes Foreign Theological Library, 3rd Series, Keil and Delitzsch on the Pentateuch, Vol. I.
Infused: “to put (qualities, etc.) in, as by pouring; instill; impart. to fill; pervade; imbue, inspire.”
Impute: “to attribute (something, especially a crime or fault) to another; charge with, ascribe to. 2. In theology, to ascribe (good or evil) to a person as coming from another.”
Infused Righteousness: Justification implies a state in which the sinner, by reason of the redemption in Christ, is acceptable to God. Some teach that God makes the sinner righteous by infusing the righteousness of Christ into him
“The grace of God is that supernatural assistance which He imparts to us, through the merits of Jesus Christ, for our salvation. It is called supernatural, because no one by his own natural ability can acquire it…The grace of God is obtained chiefly by prayer and the sacraments…A sacrament is a visible sign instituted by Christ by which grace is conveyed to our souls.” – Faith of our Fathers, n. 218
This is INFUSED RIGHTEOUSNESS
“But how, precisely, does Christ become my Redeemer? How can I personally get into contact with the efficacy of His suffering and death? When He died, I myself did not exist: neither my soul, nor my sin, nor my strange craving for felicity. How, then, are His merits to be applied to me individually? How is the very depth of His humiliation to become for me personally the starting point of my ascent? How do I reach my own happiness? The answer is that by means of faith and the sacraments, the efficacy of Christ’s redemptive suffering is conveyed to me; through these realities a bond is forged between myself and Christ in God.”
A Handbook of the Catholic Faith, page 246.
“And justification, being thus contrasted with condemnation, must mean pardon for sins committed and deliverance from condemnation incurred: such pardon and deliverance are implied in imputed righteousness, but not in infused or imparted righteousness. St. Paul’s teaching, therefore, appears to be that the justification of the sinner is effected by the imputing to him the righteousness of Christ ” Benham, Dictionary of the Bible.
INFUSED VIRTUES (Catholic Theology):
SECTION I. THE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES Of Catholicism).
Article 1. The Theological Virtues in General
(508) What is a theological virtue?
A theological virtue is one whose immediate object is man’s supernatural end–namely God, to whom it directly leads him.
(509) How many theological virtues are there?
There are three theological virtues–faith, hope and charity.
(510) Can the theological virtues be acquired by our natural acts?
The theological virtues cannot be acquired by our merely natural acts, for of their very nature they are supernatural; consequently God alone infused them together with His sanctifying grace.
(511) When are theological virtues infused?
Theological virtues are infused into a person at the moment when he acquires justification and the remission of his sins, whether by the Sacrament of Baptism or by an act of contrition accompanied by a desire to receive that Sacrament.
(512) Are the theological virtues necessary for salvation?
The theological virtues are absolutely necessary for salvation, for without them the right direction of mind and will towards our supernatural end is impossible.
(513) Which is the greatest of the theological virtues?
The greatest of the theological virtues is charity, which is “the perfection of the law” and will not cease even in Heaven.
(514) When are we bound to make acts of faith, hope and charity?
We are bound to make at least implicit acts of faith, hope, and charity often during life, especially when after attaining the use of reason we have sufficient knowledge of Divine Revelation; more particularly, too, when such acts are requisite in order to fulfill some obligation or to overcome temptation, also when in danger of death.
“Hence in justification itself a person, together with the remission of his sins, receives simultaneously infused into him through Jesus Christ–into whom he is engrafted–all the following: faith, hope and charity. For faith, unless there be added to it hope and charity, does not perfectly unite a person with Christ, nor does it make him a living member of His Body; whence it is most truly said that faith without works is dead and unprofitable.”
-Council of Trent, Sess. vi. Decretum de Justification. ch. vii.