It’s often easy to see how a person can get caught up in performance based religion. Simply put, people tend to look at a single verse, without context, and build their doctrine based on the incomplete knowledge they have been given.
One such instance can be found in Psalm 18:20:
The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. – Psalm 18:20
When you first look at this you automatically think to yourself, “I wonder how David could be so arrogant to think that his righteousness at all?” I’m sure that was your original thought. Not to mention how he even could bring up the cleanness of his hands.
Let’s jump ahead a few verses:
Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. – Psalm 18:24
Did you see it? It’s right there in front of you. Three very important words:
IN HIS EYESIGHT! It’s not that David was righteous in his own eyes. He was righteous in the eyes of the Father! Praise the Lord. Even during his time, David had faith in the Lord.
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile. – Psalm 32:2
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:19
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary entry:
IMPU’TE, v.t. L. imputo; in and puto, to think, to reckon; properly, to set, to put, to throw to or on.
1. To charge; to attribute; to set to the account of; generally ill, sometimes good. We impute crimes,sins, trespasses, faults, blame, &c., to the guilty persons. We impute wrong actions to bad motives, or to ignorance, or to folly and rashness. We impute misfortunes and miscarriages to imprudence.
And therefore it was imputed to him for
2. To attribute; to ascribe.
I have read a book imputed to lord Bathurst.
3. To reckon to one what does not belong to him.
It has been held that Adam’s sin is imputed to all his
Imputed shall absolve them who renounce
Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds.
Romans 3:20–26 – Therefore by the deeds of the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Psalm 18:1–2 – I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
When we go back to the opening verses of Psalm 18, we can then see that David gives all credit to the Lord, and none, whatsoever, to himself. He uses the word, “MY” nine times in just two verses! Do you think there is a correlation between the attributes of God, and how he could actually say, “My righteousness?” I hope so. Any righteousness that any human could possess is actually the very righteousness of God!
Aren’t you glad for the complete forgiveness of sin?
Colossians 2:10–15 – And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Bob Picard, Pastor, God’s Grace Bible Church, Millbury, MA