I recently finished reading Counted Righteous in Christ by John Piper. It is a concise, 135 page book which defends the doctrine of imputation. Generally speaking, imputation means ascribing a quality (such as guilt or righteousness) to someone based on the actions of someone else (Apple Dictionary). Theologically, Piper describes it as “the act in which God counts sinners to be righteousness through their faith in Christ on the basis of Christ’s perfect “blood and righteousness,” specifically the righteousness that Christ accomplished by his perfect obedience in life and death” (Piper, 41). There are two parts to this imputation: 1) Christ’s suffering and death is substituted for the curse and condemnation we deserve, and 2) Christ’s suffering and perfectly, obedient life is substituted for the imperfectly obedient lives that we live (Piper, 41). In other words Jesus gets all the glory because He did all of the work of salvation.
Piper writes this book as a response to recent trends in theology that deny the Biblical foundation of imputation. Most notably Piper’s rebuttal is directed towards Robert Gundry. The book is divided into four chapters, but largest portion of the book is contained in chapter three where Piper defends imputation using careful exegesis of the relevant texts in the Bible.
I found this book compelling, easy to read, encouraging, and enlightening. It is compelling because “imputation” is one of those theological words that is thrown around often but rarely precisely defined. I found this book easy to read because of its length, but truthfully many will find it challenging because of the precise nature in which Piper exegetes the Bible and appeals to the Greek and Hebrew languages. It is encouraging because it is true and reminds me that salvation has nothing to do with my effort and everything to do with Jesus’ effort and accomplishments (Eph 2:8-9). And finally it is enlightening because I had no idea prior to reading Counted Righteous in Christ that the doctrine of imputation was under attack. Now I not only realize that it is under attack, but I am better prepared to recognize theological errors that I may come across while reading other books.
Counted Righteous in Christ is a wonderful explanation and defense of the traditional Protestant doctrine of imputation. The first several pages of the book include praise from many trustworthy authors such as: John MacArthur, John Frame, R. C. Sproul, John Stott, Bruce Ware, and Page Patterson. Read this book if you want to understand imputation. Read this book if you want to understand salvation.