In My Place Obedient He Lived: Imputed Righteousness in Romans 5

The overwhelming majority of Christians would readily affirm the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. But when pressed as to the substance of this righteousness, many would point to the transmission or imputation of an attribute of God or merely the forgiveness of sins alone with no positive imputation. These are misguided responses which produce a truncated gospel. At the center of this question is the person of Christ, who claimed to have come to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matt 3:15). This article will contend that the righteousness that is imputed to believers is Christ’s human righteousness—which is His lived-out, practical law obedience. This reality is captured in the words of Isaac Watts when he wrote: “Come naked, and adorn your souls / In robes prepared by God, / Wrought by the labors of his Son, / And dyed in his own blood.”