Shortly after seeing the movie War Room, I began a women’s Bible study at my church by Priscilla Shirer, The Armor of God. The study ties in well to the movie’s theme of strategic prayer, but capitalizes on spiritual power found by employing the armor Paul writes about in Ephesians 6.
We’re well into the study now, and in describing what the breastplate does, Priscilla uses the term “imputed righteousness.”
Now there’s a word for you―imputed.
I don’t usually venture too far into theological waters at One Ringing Bell, but if you’re still with me, I’ll try to explain.
I’ll never forget the first time I remember understanding what imputed means. It was decades ago, when as a single woman, I transferred to this town with my job. I had only one acquaintance here. Little could I have foreseen that this would be the place where I would meet my husband and raise my children, because at the time I felt alone.
Yet, not alone.
I spent my evenings sitting on my bed with a Bible in one hand and a commentary in the other. I studied. I prepared for what I didn’t exactly know. But I knew God was teaching me. It wasn’t in my wildest imagination that my future husband would be a pastor. Or that my dream of becoming a writer would actually come true one day.
I can’t remember exactly the verse that brought imputed into my frame of reference. But at the time, I struggled with a tremendous sense of unworthiness. Then I read a definition similar to what we find in a Google search, “ascribe to someone by virtue of a similar quality in another.” The light began to dawn in my mind that because of what Christ had done on the cross in dying for my sins, his righteousness was mine. I was worthy not in my own right, but because of his worthiness. When God looked at me, he saw me through the work his Son had done on the cross on my behalf.
It felt like a locked door had swung open. Now, I’m not saying that no one had explained that to me in the past, I’d just never understood it before―like cobwebs had been in my mind.
But I understood it then, and it was quite liberating. I could swap my feelings of unworthiness for the righteousness of Christ.
So, a week or so ago, I’m wheeling around town with the radio on in my car and this song comes on. I listen to the words and start crying, “Imputed righteousness.” What I’d just been studying.
It was Mercy Me and “Flawless.”
“Flawless” and imputed righteousness. It’s the same thing.
All because of the cross.
So, if you think you’re anything but flawless, your word for today and the rest of your life is―imputed.
And if you’re like me, you’re going to have this Mercy Me song on repeat for quite awhile. Take a moment to read the words here.
“Yet he (Abraham) did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why 'it was credited to him as righteousness.' The words 'it was credited to him' were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:20-25).