Isaiah 53:11 “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.”
I remember from the sixties a song with the line… when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn? As I sit at the keyboard right now, I hear that line playing over and over in my head… when will they ever learn? The scripture is replete with the concept of accounted or imputed righteousness. Paul plainly states that one of unbelieving Israel’s main faults was that instead of accepting God’s accounted righteousness, they were busy trying to establish their own righteousness and as a result of that, they MISSED God’s righteousness…. the song continues in my head, when will they ever learn?
Recently, there has been a group of theologians that are critical of Luther’s understanding of imputed or accredited or accounted righteousness. They insinuate that imputed righteousness is not really imputed. That no one is really righteous without acting and behaving righteously. That makes a lot of sense to the human mind… and the song goes on… when will they ever learn?
As I have come to understand the spiritual transformation process, imputed righteousness is the only thing that makes sense to me. It is the source of Sabbath Rest. God’s declaration that one is righteous based upon faith frees one up to love and trust God completely. Remember the first and greatest commandment according to Jesus. “Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy might and with all thy strength.” That means that one must really truly love God! There is absolutely no fudging on that point. It is something one either does or they do not.
There is no room for saying well, I love God, but I am afraid of him…. People, people, people… when will we ever learn? Can I get some honesty? One does not really love and trust someone they fear. I will guarantee, that the fear of God that most evangelicals harbor, secretly for the most part, causes them to be unable to really fulfill the greatest commandment. It is impossible to love with all your heart, mind and strength someone you fear. If you fear you do not love…. Yet, pastors think that they must teach their people to fear God… a little fear is healthy they say…. There goes the song again; when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?
Let me make this really clear. Imputed righteousness, accounted righteousness is the ground… it is the foundation… it is the true catalyst for love for God. Love for God is the motivation for real, genuine, true, sincere, transformation. It will not happen short of complete trust and complete trust cannot happen without absolution. One must be given the righteous status freely without merit in order to completely trust.
And on and on the lyrics play… when will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?