What is impartation?
Question: "What is impartation? What does it mean that righteousness is imparted to all who receive Christ as Savior?"
Answer: The word impart means “to give, convey, or grant.” It is very similar to the Greek word for “reckon” or “credit,” as in Romans 4:3, which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (cf. Galatians 3:6; Romans 4:22). To impart is to credit the account of another without the other having earned it. In Romans 4:3, God imparted righteousness to Abraham’s account simply because Abraham trusted God.
The only way any of us can be declared righteous before God is through impartation. Our own righteous acts are “as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). We have no way of becoming righteous enough to earn heaven or fellowship with a holy God. We are sinners, lawbreakers, selfish, and unholy. Our best efforts to clean up our acts or turn over a new leaf fall pitifully short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23). So Jesus came to earth and did for us what we cannot do for ourselves: He lived a perfect life (Hebrews 4:15), obeyed His Father in everything (John 8:29), and completely fulfilled every letter of the law (Matthew 5:17). Then He offered to trade places with us.
Second Corinthians 5:21 describes this act of impartation: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” God took our sin record and nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14). Then He took the righteousness that Jesus earned and imparted it to all who believe in Him (John 3:15–18). It is a divine exchange: our sin for His righteousness. When we come to Him in repentance and faith, Jesus takes our rap sheet, filled with every evil act or thought we have ever done, and places it upon Himself. Then He takes His own spotless record and writes our names at the top (Revelation 20:15).
When we stand before God, we don’t come to Him based on our efforts to expunge our own record. It won’t work. We can’t erase what we’ve done. Our good will never outweigh our bad. But to be in Christ means that Christ’s perfect righteousness has our name attached to it. His righteousness is “imparted” to us when He adopts us as His children through faith in Christ (John 1:12). Just as righteousness was imparted to Abraham when he trusted God, righteousness is imparted to us when we trust Jesus as Savior and Lord (John 14:6). Faith is the key. Because of this holy impartation, we can stand before God with our record expunged and hear Him say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
Recommended Resource: Making Sense of Salvation by Wayne Grudem
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