The imputation of Christ's righteousness: A study of key Pauline texts

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The imputation of Christ's righteousness: A study of key Pauline texts

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Title: The imputation of Christ's righteousness: A study of key Pauline texts
Author: Vickers, Brian Johnson
Advisor: Schreiner, Thomas R.
Abstract: [Greek terms romanized in description]

This dissertation explores the question of whether Paul teaches that Christ's

righteousness is imputed to the believer. Chapter 1 surveys various historical trajectories

beginning with Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin, and moving on through both Reformed

and modern discussions of imputation. This chapter provides the backdrop that puts the

exegetical chapters in perspective.

Chapter 2 focuses on Romans 4: 1-8, with particular emphasis given to the Old

Testament background of Genesis 15:6, the place of the text in Paul's argument, and the

nature offaith. The quote from Psalm 32 is shown to be a clarifying statement of the

meaning of "reckoned as righteousness." It is argued that Paul's main emphasis, in this

text, is on forgiveness.

Chapter 3 explores Romans 5: 19 in its larger context of 5: 12-21. Special

emphasis is given on the semantic fields kathistemi ("made righteous"). It is argued in

this chapter that Christ, as the second Adam, not only began where Adam left off, but

recapitulated the role of Adam as covenantal head. The representative nature of the text

argues for understanding that the action of the representative (Adam/Christ) "counts" for

those who follow them.

Chapter 4 argues that in 2 Corinthians 5:21 "made to be sin" derives from the

Old Testament sacrificial system. This is combined with themes from Isaiah's servant

songs. Again there is emphasis on Christ's representative death. It is argued that

"become the righteousness of God in Him" cannot refer to covenantal faithfulness

whether in regard to Paul or God, but does refer to the righteous standing the believer has

before God in Christ.

Chapter 5 seeks to develop a Pauline synthesis of the "key" texts. Shared

themes are the basis of the synthesis. Other important texts are also considered, namely,

1 Corinthians 1:30, Philippians 3:9, and Romans 9:30-10:4. The discussion of these texts

is narrowly confined to the issues related to imputation. It is argued that the imputation

of Christ's righteousness is a valid Pauline synthesis; Christ's righteousness is the

righteousness that is from God and is by faith. Special emphases in this chapter are,

substitution, union with Christ, and Christ as second Adam. Objections are also

considered and answered.

Chapter 6 summarizes chapters 1-5, and ends with the main conclusions

reached in the course of the work. On the basis of the synthesis reached through the

exegesis ofthe relevant texts, it is concluded that the believer is counted "righteous"

before God in Christ as a result of the imputation of Christ's righteousness.

Description: This item is only available to students and faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. If you are not associated with SBTS, this dissertation may be purchased from or downloaded through ProQuest's Dissertation and Theses database if your institution subscribes to that service.
Date: 2003-11-03

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