"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Imputed, Imparted, and Imbedded Righteousness

Righteousness is a big, important word that  conveys one of the life's most vital concepts.

The Bible declares that God is righteous.  "O LORD, God of Israel, You are righteous!" (Ezra 9:15). "The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion" (Psalms 116:5). "The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made" (Psalms 145:17).

The Hebrew word translated righteousness has as its root the meaning of "right" or "straight." The Old English word used to translate the Hebrew word was "oughtness." God is right. God is straight. God is as He ought to be.

To be righteous is to be right. It is to be a person who is not crooked in character or conduct. However, because of sin in all of us, there is "no one righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10). Nobody is as we ought to be. We are not righteous in character, and we are not holy in conduct. Holiness is but the outward expression of internal righteousness, and without holiness "no one will see the Lord" (Hebrew 12:14).

How then, does a sinner become righteous in the eyes of God?

Imputed Righteousness

The word "impute" means to "credit to an account" of another. It is an accounting term. When God imputes righteousness, it means that God credits "righteousness" to the account of a sinner. How can I be seen by God as "righteous" when both God and I know that that I'm a sinner.

"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe" (Romans 3:22).

God credits me with perfect righteousness when I believe in Christ. My trust (faith) is credited as righteousness to me" (Romans 4:22).

"I am found in Christ, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith" (Philippians 3:9).

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17).

You are declared righteous by God through the gift of His righteousness given to all those with faith in Christ.

Imparted Righteousness

"Imparted righteousness" identifies the internal work of God when He regenerates those who trust in Christ. Believers in Christ become "partakers of the divine nature" (cf. 2 Peter 1:4). It is this principle of righteousness imparted to men in regeneration which is ever in conflict with the old Adamic nature.

It is critical, however, to maintain the distinction between the "imputed righteousness" of Christ which is the basis for justification and this "imparted righteousness" which may be seen as the basis for subsequent sanctification.

Imbedded Righteousness

For all you English majors out there, imbedded is a legitimate variant spelling of embedded. 

To be imedded means "to fix into a surrounding mass; or to incorporate as an essential part or characteristic." 

When something is imbedded, it cannot be removed. The characteristics of that which is imbedded are seen in the mass in which it is imbedded. For example, when red dye is imbedded into plastic, you have red plastic. When paint is imbedded into canvas, you have art. When righteousness is imbedded into a sinner, you have a person who begins to pursue what is right.

In essence, nobody has warrant to say they have been given the gift of imputed righteousness, and have in them the presence of imparted righteousness, until they life a life that shows evidence of imbedded righteousness. 

Nobody who knows Christ continues in their sin. We all sin. We who have received the righteousness of Christ have righteousness imbedded within us, and therefore, the characteristics of living right are always present - for we can't help it.

It's imbedded within our DNA as followers of Jesus.


Christiane said...

I believe God's free gift of grace enables us to tune in to 'the frequency Jesus spoke of, the one that cuts through hardness of heart and makes this world a better place in the here and now'.

Wade Burleson said...

Amen, Christiane

Gordon said...

That seems to be a perfectly good summary of the content of Romans 4:22, and of the close follow-up in Romans 5:1.
I'm sure your usual good mood is back to normal by now and we can expect some more of your amusing anecdotes soon.

Christiane said...

you wrote: "I could be just in a bad mood while I’m waiting for a pain pill to kick in so I can sleep. :) "

I hope you feel better soon. Sleep can help cure our ills. And peace of mind and heart can help us sleep. And the Good Lord Himself leads us into peace.

From a poem by Wendell Barry:

“ I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives
with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water . . . ”

Wade Burleson said...


I don't often check my blog - sometimes 48 hours go by. Thank you for the correction you gave on the previous post. I have changed Shasta to Avaris. Also, I accidentally deleted your comment on this post. Sorry! Appreciate your comments. Welcome back!

Rex Ray said...


Because of your and Wade’s friendly words I’m in a good mood now but I still see a problem with Romans 4:22 as a reference for the words:

God credits me with perfect righteousness when I believe in Christ. My trust (faith) is credited as righteousness to me” (Romans 4:22)

Note it has [“] at the end as being a direct quote from Scripture.

But that verse states: “And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.” (NLT)

The Muslim religion believes that verse because it has nothing to do with Christ for being righteous.

Many years ago, I was spear fishing in Mexico and used a float to hold the fish. When I got to waist deep water I was still breathing through a snorkel. The float was on a string but a person in their late 60’s thought it had gotten away and handed to me. When I stood up and took my mask off I saw the fattest guy I’d ever seen in my life. My friends including my wife on shore had been waiting with anticipation. When they started laughing their heads off I realized the person was a topless woman.

Gordon said...

You said : "When righteousness is imbedded into a sinner, you have a person who begins to pursue what is right".

This thought of having Christ 'implanted' within us is supported by such verses as :

Psalm 1:4, "He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season".

Jeremiah 31:32-34, "I will put my law within them, and will write it upon their hearts.....for they shall all know me".

Ephesians 5:8-9, " but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light( for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)". (RSV)

Thanks be to God for his gracious gift of salvation ( Ephesians 2:8).

Rex Ray said...

The opposite of “Righteousness


1. “We had four dead Americans! Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?. " – Clinton shouting over Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. [Notice she hid the real question: “Was it a terrorists attack?]

2. "I reiterate my taking responsibility. With specific security requests, they didn't come to me; I had no knowledge of them." – Clinton to Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

3. "There are many questions that are unanswered and the answers you've given this morning, frankly, are unsatisfactory to me." – John McCain to Clinton.

4. "Madame Secretary, you let the consulate become a death-trap and that’s national security malpractice.” –South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan to Clinton.

5. ‘Had I been president at the time, and I had found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cable from Ambassador Chris Stevens, I would have relieved you from your post." – Rand Paul to Clinton.

Wade Burleson said...


Good thoughts! Great perspective.

Rex, have you seen Hillary's America in theaters? Very partisan (Republican), but Rachelle and I saw it last night and the theater was packed, and there was a prolonged standing ovation at the end. Interesting times.

Rex Ray said...


Thanks! We plan to see it tonight.

Rex Ray said...


Just back from the movie.

When it was over there was a yell: “Hillary for prison!”, and it wasn’t even me. :)

However I thought the movie would be better if the first half was deleted.

The movie pictured the Civil War was the North trying to keep slaves and the South fighting to free them. Duh

The war was about tyranny of the North over ‘State’s rights’ in refusing to pay higher tariffs.

I thought the movie lost credibility in picturing Democrats from day one as the devil.

The last part about Obama, Bill, and Hillary was excellent.