Saved By Christ’s Righteousness?

John MacArthur in The Glory of Heaven, page 73 says, “We know from Paul’s treatise on justification in Romans 4 that God saves believers by imputing to them the merit of Christ’s righteousness.”

I ask you, what verse in Romans 4 says we are given the meritorious righteousness of Christ in order to save us?

The only verse in Romans 4 that mentions Jesus Christ is verse 24 with its conclusion in verse 25. These verses say nothing about Christ’s merit saving us, what is said is that he “was raised again for our justification.”

More on this subject.

2 thoughts on “Saved By Christ’s Righteousness?”

  1. I’m not sure I’m catching the fine distinctions on the word “merit”. (the Catholic theology has many other problems related to the supposed authority of their clergy and ceremonies).

    However, I like your point about “being raised for our justification”. This underlines the fact that justification is not just a legal transaction in heaven, but a new life. This is often overlooked, and people get the idea that how much and often they sin has nothing to do with their right to enter heaven, so long as they say the magic words, “Jesus died for my sins”. Justification, as it is sometimes taught, becomes just a Protestant version of indulgences.

    The example given in Romans 4, about Abraham, helps make it clear for me. He believed that God could do what God had promised (bring a son from two people who were dead). It was resurrection faith! As soon as he had that kind of faith, it was not long before Isaac actually did appear. There was the outward evidence that a striking change had taken place within Sarah and himself. It was a radical faith that produced a radical result. He would not have excused himself from the promise by saying, “Well I believe God can bring forth a son from me if He wants to, therefore that’s all He expects…He knows I’m not able to do it. But I believe it, so it is as if I had a son (even though I never will, because I’m too weak and sinful).” That is the kind of faith that is often palmed off to us as the real thing, but Romans 4 condemns it.

  2. I like the further point about resurrection you bring out. Also tie this in with Abraham sacrificing Isaac, the example James points to in regard to Abraham’s justification. Hebrews 11:17-19–“Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead.” Beautiful!

    As to the merit issue–God does not justify people who are already just, God justifies the ungodly–Romans 4:5. Catholic theology says we do works of merit so we become just and then God declares us just. Calvinism, and John MacArthur who is a Calvinist, says that Christ merited our justification, His righteous deeds are given to us so we are just and so God justifies us.

    Both attempt to back God in a corner, I earned this, you owe me, no more grace but works. But the law-keeping of Christ does not save me; it demonstrates that he is a perfect sacrifice. It was His subsequent sacrifice and resurrection that I am justified by. No man is justified by deeds of the Law, not even if they are Christ’s deeds of the law.

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