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Character development is said to be the most important work ever entrusted to human beings. During the next hour we will explore both our privilege and our responsibility to become Christ-like in character. Join us now for this powerful time of personal renewal as Pastor Stephen Wallace takes us “From Glory to Glory.”

Thank you for choosing to come tonight to turn your eyes upon Jesus. What a privilege to study with you. I praise the Lord for this opportunity. We’ve been making slow but, I hope, sure progress in the study of the most important work ever entrusted to human beings. We’ve been looking at some twos… some two-folds.

First of all, just to kind of bring our thoughts into focus before we have our prayer. We’ve been considering together the twofold mission that Christ was sent on to planet earth by the Father. Encourage me class, what was that twofold mission? To reveal God’s glory to man and what? Restore God’s glory in man. And remember, the restoration is dependent upon the revelation. Only in beholding can we be changed. Did He accomplish that mission successfully? That twofold mission? Yes.

What did He say with His dying breath to the Father? It is finished {Jn 19:30}; mission accomplished. I did it – everything You’ve sent Me to do. I did it, without qualification. And it was a twofold mission. And we could see quite readily how He had accomplished at the point of His death phase one, the revelation phase, but it was a little more challenging to understand how He had accomplished even phase two. But we came to recognize that in two ways He had accomplished even the restoration phase. Now does anyone remember the two ways in which He had fulfilled even phase two?

Number one: He had fully restored God’s glory in man, in that He had done so in Himself as the Representative Man. Amen? {Amen}

Secondly: He had also at the point of His death, indeed by virtue of His death, made full and all-sufficient provision whereby His glory might be restored in us for His sake.

Those were the two ways, remember? He restored God’s glory in Himself for our sake, and He made full and all-sufficient provision whereby His glory might be restored in us for His sake. That’s the two ways. Now, here is another two… another twofold. What is the twofold provision, the all-sufficient twofold provision of grace, whereby His glory might be restored in us for Christ’s sake? What is it? How is it symbolized shortly after that victory cry?

It’s symbolized by the blood and the water that flows from His pierced side. You remember all of that, don’t you? I just need to back up and “re-view” with you the forest. I don’t want to loose sight of the forest for the trees, like they say. And we have been looking at that twofold provision of grace. And last night, our last study, we came to recognize that by the blood we are what, class? Justified. And we sought to understand, we sought to understand just what that means, by asking ourselves what is required of us to be justified. That was a very important study… very important study. We ran a little short on time and we need to develop that a bit further, and then we press on. But before we press on, what must we pause to do? We must to pause to invite God’s Spirit to be with us. Please personally invite God’s Spirit into your heart and as you pray for yourself, remember me please; I covet your prayers.

My Father in heaven, I come in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord my Righteousness. I come rejoicing in the access that my Intercessor affords us. Thank You, that we can come boldly into Your very presence, on account of His worthiness. We freely acknowledge that we are not worthy of an audience with You, but worthy is the Lamb. And Father, we come to give You thanks for the privilege of gathering once again for the purpose of studying Your Word. But Father, we have gathered in vain unless You graciously pour out Your Spirit upon us. Spiritual things are only spiritually discerned. And Father, we want not only to grasp the truth with the intellect, we want to embrace it with the affections, and we want to submit to it with the will that we might experience in our lives its liberating, sanctifying power, more fully than ever before. We want to be more like Jesus for having studied the Word tonight. So by the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of truth, please make that possible. First of all make that possible by supernaturally enabling me to proclaim the truth, and only the truth, the truth as it is in Jesus. And then make it possible as well, by enabling each one here, not only to understand the truth, but most importantly, to choose to stand under the truth – to yield to it, to let it have it’s way in their lives – so that by the truth they might be molded and shaped and fashioned into the likeness of Him who is the Truth. Please Father, make us more like Jesus for having been here is our prayer in His name, amen.

In our printout we are… well, we didn’t get clear through Lesson 11, so we’re probably on page 26, aren’t we? The basis upon which we are justified, what is it, my dear friends? We must be what? “Doers of the law.” “Only the doers of the law will be justified.” Romans 2:13. And though that sounds a little bit like legalism, I assure you it isn’t – not at that point. When do we get into legalism? We get into legalism when we ourselves try to meet the requirement. But my friends, the requirement must be met in order for us to be justified. God doesn’t justify anyone at the expense of the law. That’s why Scripture says He is just {Zech 9:9} and Justifier {Rom 3:26}. Everything He does honors the law. In fact the greatest compliment that the law was paid, was paid by the life and death of Jesus Christ. He lived that life of perfect obedience and then died that death, made that infinite sacrifice, precisely to uphold and honor God’s law. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} That’s what it took to honor the law and save us at the same time. The greatest compliment ever paid, was Christ crucified, to the law.

So, how is it that we are justified? By faith in the blood, the blood of Jesus, as it represents two things. What are they? Encourage me now. The sacrificial death of Christ and the substitutionary life of Christ. Right? The life is in the blood; but bloodshed represents the death of Christ. So the blood of Christ comprehends both His sacrificial death and His substitutionary life, that life of perfect obedience. How perfect was that life? That was infinitely perfect. Inspiration tells us that Christ revealed an infinitely perfect character. {6T 59.3} Therefore that infinitely perfect life met the infinite standard of God’s law, which is the transcript of God’s character. God’s law, remember in essence when you sum it all up, says: “Be ye therefore perfect,” how perfect? “even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” {Mat 5:48} And you’d really expect that of that which is the transcript of God’s character. Of course it would be an infinite standard. Of course it would require perfection equal to God’s. Do we have such a perfection to offer it, ourselves? No… no. “All of us have sinned and,” what? “come short of the glory.” “…come short of the glory.” {Rom 3:23}

Is that true, even of the most sanctified saint? Oh my dear friends, it certainly is. And the most sanctified saint is the first one to acknowledge it. See, over and over again inspiration tells us that the closer we come to Christ, the more faulty, defective, imperfect, sinful we see ourselves to be. {SC 64.2} Amen? {Amen} Yes. You look at all the godliest men in Scripture, and they are the ones that have the humblest estimation of themselves, and are mostly acutely aware of their shortfall. So I don’t care how sanctified we become, my dear friends, we never have within ourselves that which is adequate to meet the infinite standard and justify us. Where then are we going to find it? Only in Jesus Christ. And it becomes ours by placing our faith in the blood of Christ. Amen?

And when we do that, what does God the Father do for us? I’ve got to read this again. We just rushed through it there in the closing minutes of our last study. Steps to Christ, page 62. It’s on the bottom of page 26, or the bottom third there. “We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us.” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} How did He do this? First of all, what did He do? “He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life.” And who did He live that sinless life for? For you and for me. And then at the end of that sinless life, what did He do? Reading on: “He,” what? “He died for us.” So first of all, He lived a sinless life for us and then He what? He died for us – and now what does He offer? Listen: “And now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness.” Is that a good deal, my friends? {Amen} It doesn’t get better than that. He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. There is a condition though, listen: What is it? “If you give yourself to Him and accept Him as your Savior,” Is that asking too much? Oh my friends, a thousand times no. “If you give yourself to Him and accept Him as your Savior, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are,” what? “accounted righteous.” Now, why does it say “accounted righteous”? Because actually, you’re not. Actually you’re not. On what basis are you accounted righteous? Listen to the next sentence: “Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} Oh praise God for the gospel, amen? {Amen}

You see that character, the character of Christ is the only character that meets the infinite standard. Christ revealed an infinitely perfect character. Would He have a character perfection that would meet the infinite standard? Would He? Yes, of course. Did His character comply with the transcript of God’s character? Yes, of course. Scripture says He was the brightness of His Father’s glory. {Heb 1:3} He says, “If you’ve seen Me you’ve,” what? “you’ve seen the Father.” {Jn 14:9} He alone has a character perfection that meets the infinite standard. And my dear friends, the only way you and I can meet the infinite standard, which we must do if we’re going to be justified, is by faith in the blood of Jesus. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} That infinitely perfect character of Jesus Christ is credited to our account in the record book of heaven. That’s what she means when she says His character stands in place of our character. It’s credited to our account. It’s reckoned as though it were ours. And on that basis we are accounted righteous.

No wonder David says in Psalm 3:3: “But You, O Lord are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.” What is Jesus? He’s our glory! Amen? {Amen} You don’t have a glory sufficient to meet the infinite standard in yourself, but you have it in Jesus; rejoice in that. Rejoice in that. Review and Herald, July 11, 1912: “Christ came to this world to live a life of perfect obedience to the laws of God’s kingdom. He came to uplift and ennoble human beings, to work out an enduring righteousness for them. … In Him…” Where my friends? “In Him are found all the excellencies necessary to absolute perfection of character.” What does the law require? Absolute perfection of character. Where are you going to find it? In yourself? Where are you going to find it? In Him! And the title of tonight’s lesson is: “The Righteousness Of God…” where, my friends? “In Him.” {2 Cor 5:21} In Him is where you have a righteousness that will justify you. Yes indeed, in Him. On the next page, page 27, just shortly before Lesson 12: Volume 9 of Manuscript Releases, page 319; do you see it? “Nothing, nothing but the righteousness of Christ can entitle us to the blessings reserved for the redeemed.” What’s the only thing that will entitle us to eternal life? The righteousness of Christ, my dear friends.

But watch closely now, follow. The righteousness of Christ credited to our account gives us a title to heaven. But my friends, if we are ever going to get into heaven, we need not only a title, we need a what? A fitness. Oh, we’re making a very important transition here. Please understand this. If we are going to get into heaven, we not only have to be accounted righteous, by the imputed righteousness of Christ, we must be made holy by the imparted righteousness of Christ. And I just used some terms there that may not be all that familiar to you, but we will be explaining them, so don’t worry. You see, please understand, that Christ went through the agony of Calvary not only to account us righteous, but also to make us holy. Are you following this? In other words, we can put it this way: At infinite cost He made provision whereby we might not only be justified, but what? Sanctified. By the blood we are justified; by the water we are sanctified. That’s why we see flowing from the pierced side of Christ not only blood, but what else? Water! Because my dear friends, we not only need the blood in order to be justified, we need the water in order to be sanctified.

Now, what we must do tonight is inseparably join those two. I want to consider with you the water and what it represents, but before we push on to do that, we have to make sure that we all understand that though these two provisions can and must be distinguished, they can never be what? Separated. I want to repeat that: Though they can and must be distinguished, they can never be what? Separated. This is a package deal. And the same faith, hear me now, the same faith that accepts the blood unto justification will also accept the water unto sanctification. The same grace that gives us a title to heaven, will also give us a fitness for heaven. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} And those provisions cannot be separated. They cannot be separated.

Now, tonight’s study is entitled: “The Righteousness Of God In Him.” And that title is taken from 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God,” where? “in Him.” What kind of righteousness do we need in order to be justified? The righteousness of God. “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect,” {Mat 5:48} is the requirement of the law, and, “Only the doers of the law will be justified.” {Rom 2:13} So you’ve got to have the righteousness of God, amen? Where do you have it? In yourself? No, in Him! Amen? “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Listen to this remarkable statement, Selected Messages, Volume 1, page 396: “By His perfect obedience He has satisfied the claims of the law, and my only hope is found in looking to Him as my Substitute and Surety who obeyed the law perfectly for me. By faith in His merits, I am free from the condemnation of the law. He clothes me with His righteousness, which answers all the demands of the law. I am complete in Him who brings in everlasting righteousness.” Wow, that’s a powerful gospel truth, powerfully stated. Oh, my dear friends, please whenever you hear someone try to accuse the Lord’s end-time messenger of being a legalist, you just ignore those accusations. And you might share some statements like these. Anything but a legalist; do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} No hint of righteousness by works here, none.

Colossians 2:9 speaks about our being complete in Him in these terms: “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” You see, in Christ we have the righteousness of God because all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Him, how? bodily, bodily! And we are complete in Him; we are complete in Him. Now, please understand though, that if we are in Christ, then Christ must also be in us. Did you follow that? That’s a very important concept. It is impossible for us to be, by faith, in Christ unless we also allow Christ, by faith, to be in us. You see, this is why justification and sanctification are what? Inseparable. In Christ we are justified. Christ in me, we are what? Sanctified. “Christ in you, the hope of,” what? “glory.”{Col 1:27} Oh, have you heard that word before? Use your key. How is it that we are changed from glory to glory? It’s by the spirit of Christ dwelling in us. And that is what sanctifies us, my dear friends. That is what prepares us for citizenship in heaven. We gain a moral fitness, a suitability to live there by the work of the Holy Spirit transforming us by the renewing of our minds. {Rom 12:2} This is just as essential, if we’re ever going to actually get into heaven, as is justification. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} Sanctification is just as essential, if we’re ever going to get into heaven, as is justification. If you’re ever going to get into heaven, you need a moral fitness just as much as you need a legal right or title. This is why it’s a package deal. You can’t separate these two.

Notice how they’re tied together by that statement we read earlier. Steps to Christ {62}, and I want to take you to the very next sentence, in the next paragraph. Bottom of page 27: “If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Savior, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are” what? “accounted righteous;” on what basis? “Christ’s character stands in place of your character and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.” That’s what we have read so far, but notice the next sentence! “More than this, Christ changes the heart…” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} You see, God through Jesus Christ, is interested not only in changing our legal standing, He’s interested in changing our moral state. Are you with me? He wants, in other words, not only to account us righteous, He wants to make us holy. He wants not only to give us a title to heaven, He wants to help us develop a what? a fitness for heaven. Are we all together on this? That’s why we have that remarkable little sentence. “More than this, Christ,” what? “changes the heart.” Christ changes the heart.

My dear friends, please work with me now on the inseparable nature of justification and sanctification. And the statement that I want to grapple with tonight, with you, is so profound, it’s so protective, it’s so balanced, and it will keep us, if we let it, it will keep us out of both ditches, on either side of the straight and narrow path of truth that leads to the Kingdom. Now what am I talking about? You know that there is a straight and narrow path of truth, that leads to the Kingdom, don’t you. The Bible speaks of this. {Mat 7:14} But please, be warned that there are deep ditches on both sides, and very slippery banks that fall into them. And it is oh, so easy and we are oh, so prone to slither off into one ditch or the other. And we are having one incredibly challenging time, as a people, staying on the straight and narrow.

What are these two ditches that I’m warning you about? What’s this ditch over here, bless your hearts, you folks? What ditch are you in over here? What’s it called? It’s over on the right, my right. What’s it called? It’s the radical right; it’s called legalism. Are you with me? Legalism. What’s this ditch over here called? It’s the liberal left. It’s called theologically, antinomianism; Don’t let that scare you. “Anti” is simply the prefix that means “against.” “Nomos” is the Greek word for “law.” So what do you suppose an “antinomian” is? An “antinomianist” is? One who is against the law.

“Antinomianism” basically teaches that Christ did away with the law at the cross, and we now no longer have to be concerned about obedience because the law is history. It goes very closely with once saved, always saved. Legalism, what’s the legalism problem? Well, the legalist wants to earn his or her salvation, and so they want their obedience to be meritorious. After all, it’s been so tough to make themselves obey. And by the way, if you’re not motivated by love, obedience is really a chore. Are you hearing me, legalists? You’ve got to grit your teeth and make yourself comply and you’re going to do it if it kills you because “I’ve got to get to heaven.” And there’s just no joy in that kind of experience, but they’re going to do it because they’ve got to earn enough points to get there. See, it’s a pride thing; it’s a pride thing. Let me really simplify it for you, okay? Legalism, bottom line: the legalist wants to get to heaven by his or her obedience, by their obedience. That’s what the legalist wants to get to heaven by – their obedience. Are you with me? Bottom line, the antinomian wants to get to heaven without their obedience. Is that simple enough? Are we all together? The antinomian wants to get to heaven, what? without their obedience. The legalist wants to get to heaven by their obedience. And you know it’s fascinating, as you look at these two groups, and by the way… in this beloved church of ours, our most intense conflicts are inevitably between the legalists and the antinomians. And any pastor here knows what I’m talking about. And they are at each other’s throats. And in the process of trying to counter- balance the other, they dig themselves deeper into their own ditch. It’s scary; you see it all the time, all the time.

But you know, in spite of the fact they’re at each other’s throats, it’s remarkable that there’s a lot of similarity between the two of them. There really is. What do I mean? Well, self, self is common, very much, to both. The legalist, what’s their “self” problem? Well, they are interested in self-glorification. They want to be able to take credit for their salvation, so they have invented a false gospel, that allows them to earn their salvation, and they can thereby take credit for it. It’s an ego thing, self-glorification. What’s the “self” problem over here with the antinomians? …you dear folk in this ditch. And of course you know I’m not judging you, just for the sake of illustration. What’s the “self” problem over here? It’s self-gratification. It’s self what? -gratification. These folks want to go on indulging in their favorite sins. Are you with me? They don’t want to let go, and so what have they done? They have invented a false gospel that allows them to think that they’re saved, while they go right on sinning. Did you hear that? That’s true, that’s true.

There is another issue that’s common: pride, pride. These folks are proud of what they do to get to heaven. These folks are proud of what they don’t do to get to heaven. Yes, this is true. And you know, my dear friends, I’m here to tell you tonight that the devil couldn’t care less which ditch you’re in. All he’s worried about is keeping you off the straight and narrow. And I’m also here to tell you that there are not many on the straight and narrow. But I’m here to tell you that it’s high time we get out of our ditches and get on the straight and narrow. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} Oh brother, sister, we are closing in on the finish line, and we can no longer be wallowing in either ditch. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} We have got to get out of these ditches, and get on the straight and narrow and follow Jesus, if we’re ever going to make it into the kingdom. And it’s particularly important for us to get out of these ditches as we approach the finish line. Why? Well, because we will see happen again what happened once before, in the time of Christ.

Have you ever heard of the Sadducees and the Pharisees? In the time of Christ, who were at each other’s throats? The Sadducees and the Pharisees. All the bitterest controversies were between the Sadducees and the Pharisees. And that was simply the old-fashion version of the legalists and the antinomians. By the way, if we had the time it would be fascinating to share with you how the antinomians of today are very directly a modern version of the Sadducees of old. It’s fascinating… fascinating. But we don’t have the time. Now, they were at each others throats until it came to doing what? Getting rid of Jesus Christ, whose straight and narrow walk was a condemnation to both. Are you hearing me? And they hated Him because of it. And their common hatred for Jesus Christ caused them to conspire together. They dropped their differences when it came to getting rid of Jesus. Are you hearing me?

And my dear friends, we’re going to see that again. In fact we are seeing that again. Have you ever heard of Roman Catholicism and apostate Protestantism reaching over the chasm that once divided them and joining hands? For the purpose of what? Getting rid, this time, of the bride of Christ. Do I hear an “amen”? We are seeing that right now, my dear friends. It’s one of the surest signs of the times. Those deep divisions are now being mended between Roman Catholicism and apostate Protestantism. And by the way, what’s the third component? Spiritualism. That’s the unholy trinity that will oppose vehemently the bride of Christ and try to crucify her, just as the Sadducees and Pharisees under the demonic influence of the powers of evil crucified Christ. Nothing’s new under the sun, is it? Precisely for this reason it is absolutely imperative that we get out and stay out of either ditch. Amen? {Amen} We get out and stay out of either ditch.

And it is frightening, I have to say this, my dear friends, I hesitate to do it, because I don’t want to even give the impression that I have anything against this beloved church, but as much as I love this church I have to be very candid regarding its condition. But there are many within this own beloved church of ours that are unwittingly kindred spirit with either Roman Catholicism or apostate Protestantism… because they are either in the ditch of legalism or in the ditch of cheap grace. Oh brother, sister, we need to get out of our ditches. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} We need to get out of our ditches.

Now, that’s why we need to take a close look at this remarkable statement. It is so protective, it is so balanced, and it will keep us on the straight and narrow if we will come to understand it. Work with me on it. It’s found in the book Faith I Live By, page 116. You see it there on the top of page 28. It’s also found in Messages to Young People, page 35. If you have one of those two, you can find it. Or you can read it from your printout. Let me read it to you, and then we’ll come back and work with it. “The righteousness by which we are justified is,” what class? “imputed; The righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our TITLE to heaven, the second is our,” what? “FITNESS for heaven.” That is so profound. That is so balanced. That is so protective. If you and I can simply understand that truth, it will help us tremendously to stay on the straight and narrow path and out of both ditches. Work with me on this; please try to understand this. Please notice that both our title and our fitness are found in the righteousness of Christ.

Desire of Ages, page 300 “The proud heart strives to earn salvation; but both our TITLE to heaven and our FITNESS for it are found,” where? “in the righteousness of Christ.” But please note carefully; note carefully: The righteousness of Christ is given to us in a different way so as to entitle us to heaven, than it is so as to make us fit for heaven. Did you notice that? How is the righteousness of Christ given to us so as to justify us? …give us a title to heaven? It is what? Imputed. How is the righteousness of Christ given to us so as to sanctify us? …give us a fitness for heaven? It is what? Imparted. Okay? Are we clear? To be justified we must have the imputed righteousness of Christ and that is our title to heaven. To be sanctified we must have the what? Imparted righteousness of Christ and that is our fitness for heaven. Now these two provisions of grace must be clearly distinguished but they must never be, what class? Separated! …never be separated.

Okay, let’s make sure we understand this. First of all, the righteousness by which we are justified is imputed. What does it mean to be justified? Hopefully you understand that because we’ve already studied it. I’ve given you some definitions here, very concise: Justify: to pardon, to declare, or account righteous. Okay? That’s what it means to be justified. The righteousness by which we are sanctified is, what? Imparted. What does it mean to be sanctified? To be sanctified essentially is to be made holy, to make holy… to restore into the likeness of God. Okay? Now, please look with me at these words impute and impart. When you impute something, how do you give it to someone? When you impute something, how do you give it to someone? Definition: To credit or reckon to the account of one that which rightly belongs to another. By the way, I took that out of a dictionary that Ellen White had in her library. I wanted to see what she might have looked up as a definition, and I found this. “To credit or reckon to the account of one that which rightly belongs to another.” That’s what it means to impute. Are you following this? Imputation then is something that is objective, it’s outside of us. It is credited to our account.

Imputation is what Ellen White was talking about in Steps to Christ, 62, when she said: “His character stands in place of our character.” Where is that done? That’s done in the record book of heaven. It’s credited to us; it’s reckoned as though it were ours. Okay? Now, that gives us a title to heaven – justification. Imputed righteousness gives us a title to heaven. What’s a title? “It’s a legal right of possession precisely, just claim or right. That which grants legal right of possession.”

You know that if in a moment of weakness you want to buy a new car, but you don’t have the money, you go down to the bank and you take out a loan. Which they are perfectly happy to give you for a certain predetermined interest rate and also just to make sure they get their money, what do they do? They keep the title. Now in the old days they used to actually keep it. Now they just put a lien on it. But in the old days they used to actually keep the title. And you didn’t get your title, that document that says that you legally own that car, until when? You had paid off the loan in full. Then the bank gave you the title, and you had a document that says that car is your car.

Now, justification, the imputed righteousness of Christ, gives us a title to eternal life, to heaven. But my dear friends, who has paid for that in full? Is it us? No, it’s Jesus Christ’s life and death that has bought eternal life for us. Amen? {Amen} This is precisely why, though the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is what? Eternal life. {Rom 6:23} The only thing that you and I have really earned, is what? Eternal death – because all have sinned. {Rom 3:23} And what we have coming, as those who have sinned, is eternal death. So please be careful. Be careful not to insist on getting what you deserve, or earning something. Because if you insist on earning something, you’re going to have to what? Die… eternally.

Jesus Christ alone has, by His life and death and all by Himself, earned for us eternal life. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} And it can only be received as a free gift by faith in the blood of Jesus. Are we all together on this? …only by faith in the blood of Jesus. Now, let’s go to impart. That’s the basis upon which we receive… That’s how we receive righteousness that sanctifies us. It’s through impartation. When you impart something, how do you give it? “Impart: to give or bestow a portion of; to make another a partaker of.” You see, when you impart something, you actually give it to the person, so that that person receives it, partakes of it. It becomes a part of them. And by the way, here’s a little clue that might help you understand these words:

Impute: P-U-T in the middle of that word, that helps you understand what imputation means. What is imputed is what is put to your account.

Impart: P-A-R-T that helps you understand what that means. When something is imparted to you, it becomes a part of you. Is that helpful?

It becomes a part of you; it is placed within you. That which is imputed changes your legal standing. Follow me class, this is important. That which is imputed changes your what? Legal standing. That which is imparted changes your what? Your moral state. Are we all together? To change your legal standing through the imputed righteousness of Christ means to justify you. To change your moral state through the… Excuse me, did I say imparted? To change your legal standing through the imputed righteousness of Christ means to justify you. To change your moral state through the imparted righteousness of Christ means to what? Sanctify you. Are we all together?

Now, please know that the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to us is only possible because of what has already happened at the cross. Now follow me, my dear friends. Let me ask it this way: What gives God the right to impute to me what Christ did, and justify me thereby? What gives Him the right to do that? Justify me to eternal life? What gives Him the right to do that? Because of what He did on the cross. What did He do at the cross? He took all of our sins and imputed them to Christ and condemned Him thereby. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} That is a historic fact, that’s already happened. What happened at the cross? All of our sins were imputed. They were what? They were imputed, they were credited, they were reckoned to Jesus Christ. And He on account of our imputed sins was condemned to what? To death. And because God has done that, now for whoever comes to the foot of cross and accepts Christ by faith, He can complete the exchange.

And what’s the second half? He can now, for those who accept the blood of Christ by faith, He can now take all of His righteousness, the righteousness of Christ, and impute that to the believer and justify him or her thereby. Do you see how that works? It’s imputation on both sides of the transaction. Note how inspiration speaks to this so clearly. Signs of the Times, April 14, 1898: “Though innocent, Christ was treated as a sinner, that through His merits, sinners, though guilty, might be treated as the loyal and obedient children of God. Christ died with the sins of the world,” what? “imputed to Him that His righteousness might be,” what? “imputed to the sinner.” You see, both halves of the transaction, what’s involved? Imputation. Are we all together? Imputation: Our sins were imputed to Christ so that His righteousness could be what? Imputed to us… yes.

Now, my friends, here is a very, very important thing to understand. Please work with me on this.  And please know, that I’m not, I’m not just… unnecessarily getting into minutiae and details here. We are talking about fundamental, vital truths. You may not realize this, but we are talking about the very heart and core of that which launched the great reformation. We are talking about the heart and core of the issues that distinguish true Protestantism from Roman Catholicism. So we’re not talking about a side issue. We’re not talking about a side issue. Work with me on this.

Imputation, imputation; What does it change? Does it change one’s legal standing, or one’s moral state? Good; imputation changes one’s legal standing. Imputation itself, follow closely: imputation itself does not change one’s moral state. It makes possible a change of moral state and leads to a change of moral state, but imputation itself does not change one’s moral state. How do I know that? When our sins were imputed to Christ on the cross, did that change His legal standing in the sight of God? Did God reckon Him to be a sinner? Yes, He did. But when our sins were imputed to Christ on the cross, did that make Him in Himself sinful? Most emphatically no; it did not. And I say that not on my own authority. Bless your hearts, I don’t dare say anything to you on my own authority.

Listen: Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895: “Our sins were laid on Christ.” “Our sins were,” what? “laid on Christ.” What kind of language do you hear there? Imputation language. Okay? That’s a synonym for “imputed.” “Our sins were laid on Christ, punished in Christ, put away by Christ, in order that His righteousness might be,” what? “imputed to us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Now listen to this next sentence: “Although sin was charged to His account” again classic imputation language; do you hear it? “Although sin was,” what? “charged to His account on our behalf, yet He remained perfectly sinless.” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} With all of our sins imputed to Him, still He in Himself remained what, my dear friends? Perfectly sinless. Obviously then, imputation does not change one’s moral state.

But I ask you, when our sins were imputed to Christ, did He become, in God’s eyes, a sinner? And did God proceed to treat Him as though He were sinner? Yes, indeed. Yes indeed; even though in Himself He was what? Perfectly sinless. Is that significant? Is it significant? Yes it is, why? Because of the second half of the transaction. Come on now, work with me. All of that was done so that God could do what with Christ’s righteousness? Impute it to us. Now, when Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us, does that make us in ourselves righteous? Does it change our moral state? No. But what does it change? It changes our legal standing. And it changes what God reckons us to be, and thereby the way God treats us. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen}

This is why Paul says that God justifies who? The ungodly. {Rom 4:5} God justifies the ungodly because on the cross, God condemned the Godly. Are you with me? How is it that God can justify the ungodly? Because on Calvary He condemned the Godly. Through what? The imputation of our sins to Him. Now He can justify the ungodly through what? Through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to them. Are you following this? But my dear friends, here is the vital point – don’t miss it. Let me put it this way… and please understand it.

No more, no more is the righteousness that justifies me my righteousness, than was the sin, which condemned Christ His sin. Do you see that? I want to repeat that. No more is the righteousness that justifies me, my righteousness than was the sin, which condemned Christ His sin. Whose sin condemned Christ? Yours and mine. Was it His, even in part? Even a tiny part? No. It was exclusively and entirely our sin that condemned Christ. Are we all together? Okay, come to the other side of the transaction, bless your hearts. Whose righteousness justifies us? Whose righteousness justifies me? It’s Christ; is it mine even in part? Oh come on, 50-50; I’ll settle for 50% mine, 50% His. No? Come on, I’ve got my pride. I’ll tell you what; I’ll settle for 10%. Just a tithe, give me a tithe, come on. 10% mine, 90% His. No? Ooh! You’re hard to work with. I tell you, here’s my last offer. My last offer: 1% mine, 99% His, come on. 1%, a guy has got to get a little credit; come on, 1%, please, give me one.

Don’t you dare, and don’t you dare give it to yourself either. Bless your hearts. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} The righteousness that justifies you is always and only, it is exclusively the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} Don’t forget it. What ditch will that keep you out of, always? What ditch will keep you out of? The ditch of legalism and you’ll stay right up there on the straight and narrow where you belong, if you hang on to that truth. Are you following this?

Now, one other thing I’ve got to bring out. Please focus. Though imputation doesn’t change, itself, our moral state, it always makes legally possible, makes what, my friends? legally possible, and always will lead to a change in our moral state. Now, that’s a truth that has to be clearly established, but we are going to have to do it after the break. So please stand for closing prayer.

Father in heaven, I thank you so much for helping us understand these vitally important truths. Vitally important because we are oh, so prone to slip off into one ditch or the other. Lord, Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Father, we need to be set free from the ditches that we’re wallowing in. We need to be brought up on the straight and narrow path of truth. So please, help us to understand these things clearly, and help us not only to understand them with the intellect, help us to embrace them with our hearts and consent to them with our wills that we might live by these truths. Continue to bless us by Your Spirit as we continue to study, is our prayer in Jesus’ name, amen.

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