Four Aspects of Righteousness
- "A vital difference between God and man which Scripture emphasizes is that God is righteous (1 John 1:5), while the fundamental charge against man as recorded in Romans 3:10 is that “there is none righteous, no, not one.” So also, one of the glories of divine grace is the fact that a perfect righteousness, likened to a spotless wedding garment, has been provided and is freely bestowed upon all who believe (Rom. 3:22)."
God is Righteous
“This righteousness of God is unchanging and unchangeable (Rom. 3:25-26). He is infinitely righteous in His own being and infinitely righteous in all His ways.”
The Self-Righteousness of Man
Scripture reveals everyone is corrupted by sin and guilty before God (Gen. 6:5; 1 Kings 8:46; Ps. 130:3; 143:2; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:9-23; 5:6-10, 12; Gal. 3:22; Eph. 2:1-3).
The Imputed Righteousness of God
Imputation is the Biblical teaching that one person can be charged/credited with something that rightfully belongs to another which is not originally his/her own. The word “imputation” is an accounting term used both in the Old Testament and the New Testament (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3). The Hebrew חָשַׁב chashab means “to impute, reckon to.” The Greek λογίζομαι logizomai means “to determine by mathematical process, reckon, calculate, frequently in a transferred sense.” Twice Paul uses the Greek word ἐλλογέω ellogeo (Rom. 5:13; Phm. 1:18), which means, “to charge with a financial obligation, charge to the account of someone.” Paul tells his friend, Philemon, concerning his runaway slave Onesimus, “if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge [ἐλλογέω ellogeo] that to my account” (Phm. 1:18). Here, Paul is saying that he will pay for any wrongful actions committed by Onesimus.
In Scripture there are three major imputations that concern our relationship with God: First is the imputation of Adam’s original sin to every member of the human race (Rom. 5:12-13; cf. 1 Cor. 15:21-22). This means that every biological descendant of Adam is charged/credited with the sin he committed in the Garden of Eden which plunged the human race into spiritual death. Jesus is the only exception, for though He is truly human (Matt. 1:1; Luke 3:23-38), He was born without original sin, without a sin nature, and committed no personal sin during His time on earth (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5). Second is the imputation of all sin to Jesus on the cross (Isa. 53:1-12; John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Heb. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:21-24; 1 John 2:2). God the Father judged Jesus in our place (Mark 10:45; Rom. 5:6-10; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 1 Pet. 3:18), cancelling our sin debt by the death of Christ (Col. 2:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:18-19). Third is the imputation of God’s righteousness to those who believe in Jesus for salvation (Rom. 4:3-5; 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:8-9). God’s imputed righteousness, not human works, is the basis for divine acceptance.
Righteousness Imparted by the Spirit
“When filled with the Spirit, the child of God will produce the righteous works (Rom. 8:4) of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Gal. 5:22-23) and will manifest the gifts for service which are by the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7). These results are distinctly said to be due to the immediate working of the Spirit in and through the believer.” The Christian is called to a life of righteousness, which means he/she thinks and lives in conformity with God’s commands (Tit. 2:11-14). Obedience to God is impossible in the energy of the flesh; however, the believer who surrenders his/her life to God (Rom. 12:1-2), learns His Word (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17), is filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), walks by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), regularly confesses his/her sin (1 John 1:9), lives by faith (2 Cor. 5:9; Heb. 11:6), and uses time wisely (Eph. 5:15-16), will glorify God through a righteous life.
 Lewis Sperry Chafer; John F. Walvoord; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 197.
 Ibid., 197.
 Ludwig Koehler, Walter Baumgartner, M. E. J. Richardson, et al., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 360.
 William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 597.
 Ibid., 319.
 Chafer; Walvoord; Major Bible Themes, 201