2 Corinthians 3:9. For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.
The Law’s job was to condemn us, and it didn’t fail in its mission. The ministry it brought to mankind was to reveal the sin that already existed in our hearts. The Law didn’t invent sin, but it did stir up sin, define sin, and give power to sin. It is meant to reveal our self righteousness. The Law as a standard allows us to understand that we fall short and stand guilty in front of God. The Law can only bring divine condemnation.
Sadly, in our day to day lives as Christians, we simply fail to see that law keeping and putting others under law, will likely only accomplish one thing – more sinning. More guilt. More pride. More conflict. More dying relationships.
And yet we continue to relate to each other in this way – by law. By expectations. By demands and manipulations. The Law most likely rules every relationship you have. Your marriage. Your family. Your company. Your classroom. All of these are ruled by a set of imposed standards that when met keep the drama at bay for a minute or two. But when unmet…accusations, controlling, shame…
Whenever we put others under law we are revealing that God is no longer enough for us; we must have our needs met by another person. Whenever we are put under law we have two options: succeed or fail. Both are death. To succeed brings self-reliance, and pride. To fail brings despair and bitterness.
Is there another way to live?
The Spirit brings us the life of Christ as the ministry of righteousness. Imputed righteousness. Christ’s righteousness given to us freely. His record for ours. Acquittal. Justification. The righteousness of God given to us by faith.
Our new identity is spoken over us. It is declared not discovered.
Ours is now this ministry of imputed righteousness. Declaring to other Christians who they ARE. Treating them as if they are righteous in Christ. Respecting, loving, and serving others according to this new identity, not according to what they have earned. Could you imagine “imputation parenting,” or “imputation marriages?” What about an “imputation classroom” or “imputation workplace.”
I can’t imagine it either. I’ve definitely never seen it. Except maybe in my dreams of Heaven.
Imputation is why the Law’s ministry of condemnation is far exceeded in glory by the Spirit’s ministry of righteousness. The ministry of the Law was glorious but veiled. It was glorious because it revealed the holiness and grace of God. But it was veiled by our inability to keep it. The ministry of the Spirit, however, is God’s love and holiness unveiled. Unveiled by imputation. Righteousness no longer hinges on us. Christ has done it!
2 Corinthians 3:14. For to this day, when they [the Israelites] read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.
“To live is Christ” is to live out from under the ministry of death imposed by the law, and rather to live under the imputed righteousness of the Spirit. What might a life of imputed righteousness look like for us? For others? Maybe today is the day to find out.
Are you living as a minster of imputed righteousness? Or do you tend to expect people to live up to your own brand of righteousness? How does your union with Christ credit his righteousness to your account? How can this reality change how you think and live today?