It is unfortunate that many are not aware that nowhere in the Bible does it say we are covered or imputed with Jesus’ righteousness. The fault belongs to those who teach this from the pulpits, streets, books, and TV platforms. However, we are at fault as well for not opening our bibles and reading for ourselves to see if what we are taught is true. I was just as guilty. We have always been taught that we can trust the preachers. What preacher would lead us astray, right?
We must not only read, but also use the common sense God gave us. For instance, how can moral character be transferred from one person to the next? The fact is:
Moral character cannot be transferred.
The false doctrine of Once Saved, Always Saved (OSAS) would have us believe that Jesus’ righteousness is imputed to us. But nowhere does the Bible say this. One of the Scriptures used to try and prove this is the phrase “the righteousness of God.” That says nothing of Jesus’ righteousness imputed (by “imputed” they mean “transferred”) to us.
Neither sin nor righteousness can be transferred between humans or between Christ and man.
The Bible does not say the sins of mankind were transferred to Jesus. This would make Christ guilty of sin. Nor is it said that Jesus’ righteousness is imputed to us. Christ’s obedience is non-transferable. (see John 15:10,14)
Scripture shows us that righteousness is a personal trait and solely belongs to the person possessing it. It is so vital we understand this that we are warned not to be deceived about this matter.
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he [Jesus] is righteous.” 1 John 3:7
There is nothing about God’s righteousness covering us or Jesus’ righteousness imputed to us. We become righteous when we do righteousness. When we do what is right (morally right) we are righteous as He (Jesus) is righteous.
Righteousness is used as a “moral” term by the early believers. It is not a “legal” term as Post-Reformation would have us believe. The modern term assumes that righteousness concerns primarily one’s “legal standing before God” regardless of conduct. Scripture proves this wrong.
The early believers use the term “righteousness” as describing one living in accordance with God’s moral requirement (morality). God does have a moral requirement, so conduct does matter and that is why there will be those who will not inherit the kingdom of God if they continue in sin (ex. Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Eph. 5:3-5; Rev. 21:8). Correct conduct characterizes a person as righteous. Wrongdoing characterizes a person as a sinner (unrighteous).
When it comes to the term the “righteousness of God,” it simply means a standard of conduct for humans that God considers correct. Matthew’s Gospel uses the phrase that is consistent with that meaning, and so does James. (Matt. 6:33, James 1:20)
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”