May 8, 2012

ROMANS 4:2–6 in relation to the NPP

ROMANS 4:2–6
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 
John Piper does a fine job of critiquing non-imputational interpretations of this passage:   “When Paul begins to explain in verse 4 what he means by ‘counted to him as righteousness’ in verse 3, he talks about it in terms of something external (a wage) being credited to our account, rather than something internal (faith) being treated as righteousness.”  This righteousness then is not something we already possess, nor is it in us.

On the contrary, it is foreign, or alien to us. God credits the righteousness of Christ towards us when we trust Christ. This is significant because it helps define Paul’s use of the term “faith”. As Piper writes later, “Justification in Paul’s mind is God’s imputing righteousness to us ‘by faith’ rather than faith being treated as righteousness within us.”


  1. Hello Vocab,

    Two points I'd like to make:

    (1) Did you read my link about the Biblical term "impute" that folks like Piper and Grudem don't want you to know about?

    (2) The text of Romans 4:4 does not say a wage is credited to an account; that's a misreading. It says the wage is credited as a debt/gift, that is not the same as "to an account". Logizomai does not mean "to transfer".

  2. Nick,

    I did read your link. I will be honest, I was a bit confused by it. I do not see how it functions as an effective polemic against imputation.

    Further, I object to your charge that Piper and Grudem "don't want me to know about the truth behind the term. Your accusation is ludicrous. Both of them have a better knowledge of you and I in the language and I know Grudem personally, as I have had him in class. He does not shy away from locking horns with those who take disagreeing positions. In fact, he assigns us reading from apt opponents to many of his own positions.

    I don't appreciate your use of the kind of language which implies that he is trying to deceive people. Remember, the Roman church is the one who has not wanted people to read the original language OR translations. Rome is the one who has wanted to hide true things about the Biblical doctrine of justification!


  3. I only came to the conclusion that Reformed scholarship was hiding something after I reviewed almost 50 scholars who didn't address Logizomai and this didn't make sense because this word is crucial for Imputation.

    If you were confused by anything, I'd be happy to try and clarify. My thesis is basically this: the Greek word Logizomai never means "to transfer," so it's wrong for Protestants to read Romans 4 and other texts as "transferring" Christ's righteousness.


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