The Deception of the Doctrine of Imputed Righteousness and its Consequences
Imputed righteousness is a popularly held doctrine in most churches today. In a nutshell, it is a doctrine that affirms the believer by what they belive Christ did for them on the cross. The doctrine conveys that righteousness is transferred to the sinner at the point of their belief making them perfectly righteous in God’s eyes. They are deemed righteous because Christ obeyed and fulfilled all the requirements of being perfectly righteous and obedient on their behalf while he was on earth. From this point, it is their belief in Christ that they believe they are assured in being deemed righteous before God because they now have the imputed righteousness from Christ.
This following verse is used to affirm their doctrine:
But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS.” – Matthew 3:15
A False Doctrine
Unfortunately, many have bought into the false doctrine of imputed righteousness that is not consistent with the full counsel of Scripture. What they deem as imputation is not taught within the pages of Scripture. Many find this doctrine attractive because it gives them assurance in their sins.
The reward of having imputed righteousness from Christ is that God no longer sees their past, present and future sins. The point of belief is all that is needed, even without acts of obedience. Anything that is done on our part to be obedient to God will be deemed as, “All our righteousness is filthy rags,” because it would be a works based salvation. The indoctrinated are assured that any sin that is committed in the future is already been forgiven.
The following verse is often quoted as a "proof" text:
There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1
Within this doctrine, the believer cannot be condemned for any further sins because their faith alone is satisfied through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Once the believer is clothed in perfect righteousness, or are in possession of it their sins cannot be counted against them, even though they continue to sin because the righteousness of Christ has been transferred to them.
Whatever sin, no matter how big that is committed by the believer has absolutely no bearing on their salvation because their sins can no longer seen by God. This means that the blood of Christ is a blindfold that has been put of the Father so that He can no longer can see their transgressions. All that the Father sees are the illusion of good things in them because they now have the imputed righteousness of Christ. He cannot see the sins of His own children “remembering them no more,” even the future ones.
The absurdity gets even worse as the adherents of this doctrine will unashamedly admit that they are still sinners and will continue to sin. They have no fear of God as they are assured in the safety net illusion that they have created for themselves. Turning from sinful behaviours through humble repentance is obsolete and considered a vain practice that is works based because they now possess what they call, imputed righteousness. No longer can they be deemed as sinners, even when confronted with their habitual behaviours. In their pride of using their sin cloaking device, they believe they do not need to repent and ask for forgiveness. Of course, what would be the point if you believe your future sins have already been forgiven.
OR DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT THE UNRIGHTEOUS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
The above verses in the minds of those who believe in the imputed righteousness doctrine can conveniently ignore the warning. Although they continue in their lifestyle of sin, they believe they are counted worthy, even though they still have the characteristics of the stated list in the Scripture verse. The false imputed righteousness doctrine turns unrighteousness into "righteousness” by using Christ to make evil good.
Does this not sound like blasphemy to you?
All that matters is that at one particular moment in time you believed. This means that to simply believe you are forever sealed and that it can never be changed regardless of how you may sin in the future.
WOE TO THOSE WHO CALL EVIL GOOD AND GOOD EVIL, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20
However, this verse exposes the doctrine of imputed righteousness for what it is.
The Truly Righteous Live by Faith
One of the most important things to know is that we do need forgiveness because there is no other way to salvation. Forgiveness from our Father through Christ is not only about believing that we are forgiven, but is also about an action of obedience too. Being counted as being obedient is artificial without walking in the faith of Christ. Genuine faith should lead us to desire and be able to obey God fully in our lives. This is how we are accounted for as being righteous because, “the righteous shall live by faith,” not believing that it is simply imputed, or transferred.
Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and IT WAS COUNTED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS”? – Galatians 3:5
Righteousness is a personal character trait. It is not something that can be transferred from one person to another. In likewise manner, sin cannot be transferred from one person to another either. We are the ones responsible for possessing one, or the other. The personal righteousness of Christ is non-transferrable. We will all be held accountable for our own actions and that is why we need the forgiveness through the grace of God. His grace manifested in us by what Christ has done will bring the fruit of repentance because of the the conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit and turning from our sinful behaviours. Forgiveness from God through Christ can wipe our slate clean of our past sins, but that does not mean that our future sins are forgiven. As we grow and mature in Christ, we will still need to repent of many things as our eyes are opened by the Spirit the carnality of our ways so we can align with the way of Christ.
The fruit of repentance is about growing into the perfection that we are called to. It is about faithfully serving God from our heart with the desire to avoid sin at all costs. If we sin, we have an Advocate, Christ our Saviour who works on our behalf.
Our Father in heaven loves righteousness. He loved His Son because he was absolutely righteous. Simply put, righteousness is a condition that is deemed acceptable to God. This is what the Gospel is about. It is about coming into right standing with God through His Son. Most would agree with me on this, but the narrow road diverges onto the wide road when the false doctrine of imputed righteousness comes into play.
What many believe imputation to mean is a transference, but this is not what it means according to God’s word. In the Greek [3049. logizomai] it means to take into account, or reckon. In the Hebrew [2803. chashab], it means to consider, or to take into account also.
Christ paid the penalty for our past sins on the cross, but nowhere do we read in Scripture that because of his righteousness when we sin in the future that his righteousness is accounted to us. This is why so many falsely believe they are not guilty for their sins. They may feel sorry for them, but they are assured they are off the hook because their doctrine excuses sin as being already forgiven.
When we look back at the account King David in the Old Testament when he had transgressed with murder and adultery, he was thankful that when he repented before God that those particular sins were not counted against him. The reason was that he had truly repented and God forgave him as a result. If he had not repented, there would have been no forgiveness and his iniquity would have been counted against him.
And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, HIS FAITH IS COUNTED AS RIGHTEOUSNESS, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom GOD COUNTS RIGHTEOUSNESS APART FROM WORKS: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; BLESSED IS THE MAN AGAINST WHOM THE LORD WILL NOT COUNT HIS SIN.” – Romans 4:5-8
David did not try to work off his sins of adultery and murder, but by faith he repented because he believed that God would not count his past sins against him and restore his salvation. Although David had a change of heart, he did not go unpunished and there were consequences for his sin. David had truly repented and received forgiveness and mercy to come into right standing before God again. His forgiveness was contingent on repentance.
Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that FAITH WAS COUNTED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised......
The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS WOULD BE COUNTED TO THEM AS WELL, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE FAITH THAT OUR FATHER ABRAHAM HAD before he was circumcised. For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH. – Romans 4:9-13
The righteousness of our walk of faith is what reinstates us into right standing with God. It is not by being under the Law, nor by believing that God’s righteousness is somehow transferred from Christ while continuing in habitual sin.
No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he GREW STRONG IN HIS FAITH as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why HIS FAITH WAS “COUNTED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also.......
IT WILL BE COUNTED TO US WHO BELIEVE IN HIM WHO RAISED FROM THE DEAD JESUS OUR LORD, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. – Romans 4:20-25
Abraham possessed the righteousness of faith by his patience concerning the promises of God. God’s righteousness was not transferred to him, but it was by the working of his own faith that he was counted worthy. In similar manner, we too can be counted righteous by walking in the faith of Christ. Faith without works is a dead faith. Believing in the doctrine of imputed righteousness by transference is also a dead faith.
“Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. - James 2:22
The book of James reminds us of how Abraham’s obedience through faith was perfected. Nowhere does it say his righteousness was transferred to his account so that his future sins were forgiven.
It must be understood that when we repent and exercise saving faith, just as Abraham exercised, it is through our own personal faith that is deemed as righteousness before God. In this way, we are declared righteous by the walking out of the faith of Christ in our own lives, just as Christ also walked out his faith before his Father.
Little children, let no one deceive you. WHOEVER PRACTICES RIGHTEOUSNESS IS RIGHTEOUS, as he is righteous. – 1 John 3:7
God sees our sins. We must repent of them, and by the fruit of repentance He will no longer consider them, or account them against us. Those who believe they can hide their sins from the Father because of their cloak of imputed righteousness are like the emperor the short tale, The Emperor's New Clothes.
The vain doctrine of imputed righteousness cares about nothing except for strutting around by wearing and displaying their supposed cloak of righteousness before others. The church clergy promise and assure the masses that they have the finest robes of righteousness made from the best divine invisible fabrics. They mime this out by dressing up their pew warmers in their supposed righteous garments. Every week in their procession to the building, the church members play out their "righteousness" in their religious templates that has been manufactured for them. Little do they know that one day when Christ returns, they will all be exposed for wearing absolutely nothing at all.
They had no garments at all.
They had been hoodwinked.
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and NAKED. – Revelation 3:17
Imputed Righteousness – The Gospel of Sin
The false doctrine of imputed righteousness is the moral depravity of what is called Christianity today. Obedience to the moral laws of God have been negated because the believer is duped into believing they are wearing garments of righteousness without having to be truly righteous. The blood of Christ is their cloaking device that can used on the Father where nothing can add or detract from their assurance of salvation. At one point in time they believed that everything has been paid for. It’s all a done deal where they no longer have to anything to do on their part. To do anything is deemed as a "works based" salvation. Henceforth, their liberty in Christ is a free-for-all while remaining slaves to sin still being controlled by the old man. Their "Jesus" is used as a proxy for sinful behaviours.
O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the IRREVERENT BABBLE AND CONTRADICTIONS of what is falsely called “knowledge” – 1 Timothy 6:20
The profession of faith by the religious masses today is devoid of repentance and sorrow for their sins as they believe the vileness of their hearts are cloaked in imputed righteousness. They believe in a faux faith having hearts that have not been transformed being devoid of the fruit of the repentance. Their false doctrine convinces them psychologically of being assured in their salvation.
The Four Points of the False “Imputed Righteousness” Doctrine
In conclusion, here is the imputed righteousness doctrine in four points:
- At the moment of having faith in Christ, you are justified and declared righteous just by simply believing.
- The righteousness of Christ is then transferred to you as a free gift. You are no longer held into account for your sin from the point one onwards.
- The righteousness of Christ is a cloak that you have been given to wear that blinds the Father from seeing your sin while you continue in a lifestyle of sin.
- You can be assured that no matter how vile your behaviours are that nothing will affect your salvation because you are deemed as being "righteous." To work out your salvation beyond this would be considered works based.
The doctrine of imputed righteousness is double-mindedness. Many cherry-pick Scripture references to justify their sinful behaviours. In their seared minds, they believe that they cannot stop sinning. Righteousness and holiness are simply faux terms in their ideology to be used as a covering to excuse them from their carnal behaviours. However, using these terms in a literal sense are considered "judgemental" and "divisive."
In this day and age, moral decay is somehow deemed as saving faith. The masses crowd into buildings called church and celebrate their imaginary faux covering. Anyone who believes in walking in perfecting faith are accused of being under the Law, or preaching a legalistic salvation by works. Their predisposition is to say that no one can be perfect and that people are sinning all the time because they are born sinners and cannot help it. They have no incentive to live holy in obedience to God because their version of "Jesus" has already forgiven them ahead of time.
The even more absurd thing is that they love to admit they are sinners and will continue to be. They are sinners saved by grace, but still slaves to their sin. They like their little slogans,
“You cannot have grace without sin!"
“You cannot out sin the grace of God!”
Whether they sin less or more is irrelevant to them because they believe they have already been sealed.
How sad that many will be denied entrance into the Kingdom of God because they have null and voided their salvation that requires genuine repentance, obedience and holiness. Their serpentine doctrine declares them "righteous" while still seared with the lusts of their flesh.
And with all WICKED DECEPTION for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had PLEASURE IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. – 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
Christ crucified and resurrected means that we have the ability through him to subdue the desires of our flesh by repenting and denying ourselves by following in faith, or the way of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. In the faith of Christ, we CAN literally have upright obedient hearts that leads to a faith that is counted as righteous and being deemed as holy and perfected before our Father in heaven.
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake OF THE FAITH of God’s elect and their KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, WHICH ACCORDS WITH GODLINESS – Titus 1:1
The consequences of adhering to false doctrines have eternal ramifications.
Have you truly tested what you believe in?
Our righteousness is our obedience to God. This is the way He accepts us as sons and daughters, or as brethren (ekklesia) of Christ. The religious servants of Satan call this righteousness as, "filthy rags," but they are greatly deceived.
At times it is not easy obeying God, but if we allow his love, grace and power to rule in our lives, we CAN walk in victory being perfected in our faith and being counted as righteous so we may enter into the Kingdom of God.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his RIGHTEOUSNESS, and all these things will be added to you. - Matthew 6:33
Related articles relevant to this theme:
- Can You Be Perfect in this Lifetime?
This article will attempt to explore the definition of the term “perfect” according to a Scriptural understanding, rather than the eisegesis of appealing to popular religious opinions.
- The False "Assurance" Doctrine that is Easily Sold in Church
Those within the Church system will gladly say that they are sinners because their false creeds give them assurances that they can continue to sin under their butchered version of “grace.”
- Church Doctrine endorses the License to Sin
There is a deception that is in the institutional church system that believes Christ’s blood has covered all the believers sins from the past, present and the future.
- The Trinity Doctrine Destroys the Faith of "Jesus Christ"
The Trinity doctrine is the foundation of Christendom, but many are unaware at how this doctrine destroys the Gospel, and the faith of "Jesus Christ."
More by this Author
Easter is not the Passover and has nothing to do with Christ. The traditions and timeline are pagan in origin being observed long before the birth of our Saviour.
The office of the head pastor is about a fundamental figure within the institutionalized church who is met with praise and accolades by dispelling God's word to the masses, but has it been corrupted?
The modern “church” promotes a cesspool of false doctrines; it is no longer a safe place to attend any man-made building that has been erected on every other street corner.