Monday, March 28, 2011

Active Obedience Imputation Is Not Biblical - Part 3: "Jesus ACHIEVED Righteousness?!!"

Commonly called something like "imputed active obedience", the concept has been passed down from the Westminster Confession and spread widely. I've found that most accept it because their mentors teach it, without really thinking it through. Even the verses given in the Confession are flimsy and unrelated.

The basic idea is that somehow Jesus ATTAINED or ACHIEVED righteousness that He didn't previously have, and that's why I think the doctrine is dishonoring to Christ.

An example is "The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration" which is all over the Internet including here.

In article 13 of "Affirmations and Denials" they wrote. "We affirm that the righteousness of Christ by which we are justified is properly his own, which he ACHIEVED [emphasis Terry's] apart from us, in and by his perfect obedience."

Jesus ACHIEVED righteousness?!! Then when did He not have it?

I realize that I stand against 125 heavyweights here, but who cares? The Bible says that by "one act", singular, justification became ours (Rom. 5:18), not by 33 years of acts.

It's true that Jesus fulfilled the Law. It's true that He obeyed the 10 Commandments perfectly. No dispute there. But this DEMONSTRATED the righteousness He always had, and AUTHENTICATED Him as the Messiah. It didn't ACHIEVE His righteousness.

To say less is to dishonor the Always Righteous One.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4
Part 5

1 comment:

Chris Poe said...


If I'm not mistaken, the WCF does not explicitly teach the imputation of active obedience (IAO). To my recollection, three of the Westminster Divines, including one or more of the most eminent ones, did not affirm it. However, it is set forth in the Savoy Declaration and the 2nd London Baptist confession.

It seems that the doctrine of IAO is rooted in the covenant of works teaching. IAO has been rejected by various groups through the years, including at least some Arminians, dispensationalists, New Covenant Theologians and New Perspictivalists.

I have to admit that I haven't studied the issue that thoroughly in the past and thank you for bringing it to our attention here.