The Evangelical Universalist Forum

How does Jesus's resurrection make people righteous?


qaz, your last deduction is not correct. I mislead you by emphasizing the special difficulty of insisting that those who lack all cognitive doctrinal info are all hopelessly toast. But I also see some who hear a ‘Christian’ message, but do not grasp what Jesus actually stood for, and thus cannot understandingly or hopelessly choose to reject it, and can be judged by the Bible standard I cited of pursuing what they do recognize as right.

But for a two way street, before trying to explain away your counter texts, I should insist that You explain why the texts I cited do not mean ‘there’s simply no way’ your reading of other texts can be right :slight_smile:

Yet I’ll say Mark 16:16 is not even in any of the oldest manuscripts (and anyway many Christians reject that not being baptized ultimately even requires condemnation) . I also doubt that John is trying to address whether lacking right cognitive knowledge about Jesus means requiring that all such are hopeless toast. I appreciatively sense he recognize that the fullest reality of God and of the teaching of what he wants in our life is manifest in Jesus. Thus he rightly observes that one who sees this message and chooses to reject it is choosing to reject e.g. embracing the very life of love that Jesus and the inner moral law of our conscience bear witness to, and thus while in that position is condemned to reap the painful consequences of choosing that direction (indeed I’d affirm that rejecting Jesus condemns in that way).

If I’m wrong, and John actually intended to literally assert that not having cognitive knowledge or correct belief is what decisively matter to the Almighty, I still would not assume other texts cannot be saying what I said. For I reject the fundamentalist premise that one supposed proof text means I can avoid grappling with other texts that seem to challenge it, as if all texts are bound to be saying the same thing. Several of my papers present many examples that this is not the nature of the Bible we find, wherein there are plain and vigorous differences in approaches to many vital questions.

Thus, in sum, I think it’s too dogmatic to assert ‘there’s simply no way’ any text can challenge your reading of another.


Acknowledging that Jesus’ forgiveness at the cross did not involve imputation seems to be a different conclusion that you drew about the forgiveness he brings in the original post whose logic I was not recognizing. I agree with the logic of your latter reasoning.
Bob Wilson

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I think “imputed righteousness” is probably something greater then only forgiveness and i think a believer in Christ as Lord and Savior does receive this gift from God. I think Paul referenced this concept about 10 different times.


Ah, that’s what I’m interested in! Which passages do you see as most directly referring to ‘imputing righteousness’?


To “impute” is simply to “count” or “reckon.”
I have discovered several verses about God counting or reckoning SIN, but one one about His counting righteous. Here it is in context:

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:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.
10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

It seems to me that Paul is saying that works of the Mosaic law or works of self-effort do NOT count as righteousness. Also, I think verse 5 in incorrectly translated. It’s not that faith is counted AS righteousness, but that faith is counted “TOWARD” righteousness, that is with righteousness as its goal. The Greek phrase is “εις δικαιοσθνην,” literally “into righteousness.” However “εις” (into) is frequently used to indicate that its object is the goal of the verbal action. Abraham’s faith was the first step toward the goal of righteousness. So it is with us. Through that initial step of faith or entrusting ourselves to Christ, we are able to appropriate that enabling grace, provided by Christ’s sacrifice to help us overcome wrongdoing and to live righteously (See Titus 2).


Paidion - I"m mostly in agreement. Do you think Paul had ‘works of self-effort’ in mind? It’s my impression that Paul, when talking of ‘works’, always meant Torah.

I’m open to correction!



Why not? Why wouldn’t the altruistic action of an unbeliever count as righteousness?


qaz asked: Why not? Why wouldn’t the altruistic action of an unbeliever count as righteousness?

qaz, I too am interested in Paidion’s take here. My own 2 cents is that while I argued that Paul’s fundamental reference is to the distinctive Jewish works “of the law” which can be loveless and still unrighteous, I do see that e.g. in Ephesians (which most NT scholars doubt came from Paul’s hand) this modifier is dropped, and it appears that the principle is extrapolated to rule out our own works as able to justify us. Then the conundrum becomes our previous discussion of how to reconcile that with the many texts I cited which sounds like our righteous acts actually are pivotal.

My guess is that our “own righteousness” (which Paul dismisses as not cutting the mustard) or works are dismissed because the assumption is that when we do truly good works that do justify us, God’s gracious enablement shares in the credit, such that our good works reflect his righteousness. The implication then might be that works of self-effort would be those done out of ego and prideful superiority that cancels out their righteousness. Using your term, such self-efforts would not truly even be ‘altruistic,’ but essentially self-serving.

The unclear question you imply (that I recently addressed in detail here) is whether the works of non-Christians can reflect God’s gracious enablement and be truly righteous. And I explained my own bias that even many unaware of Christ indicate an awareness that what they have and do shares in a gift that did not simply originate with them, and thus I presume that their works can be truly good and righteous. I.e. they may share in a sense in Christ’s grace.


Paidion, from what I understand, impute means to ascribe to someone by virtue of a similar quality in another; represent as being possessed by someone; attribute. If one is living in the Spirit of God , he is of the same nature and displays the same qualities.

Bob,I agree.

qaz, I believe Jesus is one of many who have been sowing the seed, speaking the truth of God and following the Spirit since the world began, and they still continue to do so. There are some who do great works and some who do small works, but if these come from humble hearts that love and obey God, they would be righteous.


Perhaps because works of purely self-effort are of the flesh, not of the Spirit of Christ.

Whether or not any unbeliever is ever controlled by the Spirit of Christ, is a separate issue. In the OT even an unbeliever donkey prophesied or spoke as moved by the Spirit of God.


Hi Origen. I haven’t seen you much in this thread. What’s your atonement theory?



Seems that I missed responding to this. What do I find coherent about retributive atonement models? That they provide an explanation for why people couldn’t be righteous without a perfect sacrifice. Jesus’s death seems necessary if penal substitution’s assumptions are true. I can’t say the same for non-retributive models.


Can you spell out why PS logic uniquely makes Jesus’ death necessary? I’d agree that accepting its’ premises make it necessary. E.g. if God says anything short of your perfection deserves eternal hell, but I can cancel that moral logic, if I satisfy my wrath’s need to sacrificially punish shortcomings, ideally upon an innocent One who doesn’t deserve it, then logically, Jesus’ propitiatory death is necessary. And God is now able to say that your own chosen actions or actual unrighteousness no longer matters to your being deemed righteousness.

But it seems that accepting the premises of every atonement option makes Jesus’ death logically necessary. E.g. the church’s original reading of Christus Victor means we could not be freed from sin without defeating the devil, and that Jesus’ death was vital to that victory.

Or if my reading is right that the OT prophets said the New Covenant day when hearts would be turned and God’s enabling Spirit poured out, must be preceded by the righteous martyrdom of a Suffering Servant, then the necessity of Jesus’ innocent death logically follows (whether propitiation is involved or not).

You appeared to agree with me that elements of PS seem unbiblical. In any event, since every option has a logic that follows from its’ presuppositions, it seems to me that the question is which theories set of assumptions is most warranted by the Biblical text.


Okay, let me state what I was NOT saying with these words. I was not saying that any individual work of self-effort is not a righteous act. It is a righteous act to help a needy neighbour. Similarly, I was not saying that keeping a specific Mosaic law is not a righteous act. For example, it would be righteous not to swear falsely. However, it is not performing a number of righteous acts in itself that makes a person righteous.

Supposing Joe Bloe has helped his neighbour built his barn without payment. That is a righteous act. Joe Bloe has also spent a whole summer in a foreign country to build houses for people who have nothing. Righteous indeed! Also, He has contributed a thousand dollars annually to World Vision to help people in other parts of the world who are victims of war and natural calamities. What a considerate loving thing to do! So clearly Joe is a righteous man. Right? It would seem so—if that’s all you knew about him. However, a teenager accidentally batted a ball through Joe’s window. Joe grabbed the fellow and beat him so badly, the boy had to go to the hospital. Joe also regularly indulges in extra-marital affairs. This behaviour hurts Joe’s wife a lot. But Joe doesn’t care; he carries on anyway. In the business where Joe works as a bookkeeper, he has regularly appropriated thousands of dollars while doctoring the books so as to escape detection. You still think Joe is a righteous man?

To be a righteous person, it is necessary to be consistent. I agree that there are many non-Christians who usually carry out righteous acts. But they fail in some area. I’m not talking about blunders, but deliberate wrongdoing, committed to feed their self-serving natures.

Please, don’t anyone tell me at this point that no one is perfect. I am not talking about flawlessness. But I am talking about consistent righteousness. The person who is consistently righteous is a righteous person.

To be a consistently righteous person requires appropriating the enabling grace of God described in Titus 2. And that is possible only entrusting his life to the One who died for him. That is faith, and that is what the apostle Paul taught. I never tire of quoting Titus 2:11-15.

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age, expecting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; encourage and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

In the example I gave, Joe Bloe needs to be purified!


I have my view on the subject that i prefer to keep to myself.


[size=150]BRAVO… more of this!! :laughing: [/size]


Your “impression” Dave would be correct. In fact, there are places in Paul’s epistles where “the flesh” points to ‘Torah’ more than it does to certain evangelical no-no’s like… cussin’, a-drinkin’, chewin’ tobacco, playing cards, impure thoughts about cousin Sally, etc. Take for example…

Without fear of contradiction the… the works of the law = the flesh, i.e., they are one and the same (in this context).
Thus Paul’s “works of self-effort” were indeed one and the same as “works according to Torah” which he further touts here…

So Paul, in terms of Torah observance, i.e., “works” was blameless. Accordingly, take the likes of Jesus’ relatives, Zacharias and Elizabeth…

As can be seen… blameless according to law righteousness, i.e., Torah, was indeed doable, even unto perfection, BUT as Paul ultimately shows… not really worth a hill of beans as per the righteousness that really meant something — that which Christ unleashed.


Well said, davo, but I’m freaked out that you knew about Sally.


:astonished: Hmmm… maybe it’s time to do away with those bad habits. By the grace of God, of course.


davo, I agree. The Torah/ Levitical law contained man made laws that were not from God. It was of 'mixed seed". Many of the Jews worshipped the Torah as God, thereby breaking the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Even Jesus said, “You search the scriptures because in them you think you have eternal life.” Some of it was contradictory to the Law of God that is written in the heart and mind.

However, I disagree with the statement you made here. Luke 1:6 says “they were both righteous BEFORE GOD, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the LORD, blameless.” This goes back to the founding forefathers who followed the Spirit of God and the Law that was written in their hearts and minds. Gen.26:5 “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.” He was NOT following the Levitical law because it was not even written yet.

As Galatians 4:22-23 says: “For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by the bondswoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondswoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman according to the promise( the Spirit).” There has always been a battle between man’s own rule and God’s rule, and it is still going on today.


There are billions of unbelievers in the world. IMO it’s a bit presumptuous to claim that not a single one of them lives a “consistently righteous” (defined as having an unspecified surplus of good deeds outweighing bad deeds) life.