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Thursday, February 4, 2016

The One Where Lucy Learns A New Word

I know I've mentioned before that I attend a women's Bible study group, and right now we're studying  Priscilla Shirer's The Armor of God. I've heard all about the armor of God before, so I was a little skeptical that I would glean much from this study in the beginning. Boy, was I ever wrong! It really is a life-changing study. This week I even learned a new word.

This week was focused on the "breastplate of righteousness." Before this week, my thought process when I heard the word "righteousness" was some version or other of: "yeah, well, I try..." I think a lot of people would say the same thing. We try to do the right thing, we agonize over the minutiae and worry about people's feelings, and sometimes we compare ourselves to others. But are we really pursuing righteousness? Can we pursue righteousness? What does it mean to be righteous? According to that infallible source of all things grammar and vocabulary,

righteous adjective
1. characterized by uprightness or morality.
2. morally right or justifiable.
3. acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous.
4. slang absolutely genuine or wonderful.

In case you were wondering, that's not the word I learned this week. Priscilla Shirer explains that there are actually three forms of righteousness:

Perfect righteousness: can only be achieved by God (see Rom 3:23 and Rom 3:10).
Comparative righteousness: when we judge ourselves as compared to others, not God, which is contrary to the Bible (see Eph 5:1).
Imputed righteousness: that which is given to us by God when we believe in Him (see Rom 3:22-25 and 2 Cor 5:21).

And there's my new word: imputed. I pride myself on having a relatively extensive vocabulary, and I know I've heard it said before, but I've never paid any attention to it. Imputed

impute verb
1. to attribute or ascribe.
2. to attribute or ascribe (something discreditable), as to a person.
3. Law. to ascribe to or charge (a person) with an act or quality because of the conduct of another over whom one has control or for whose acts or conduct one is responsible.
4. Theology. to attribute (righteousness, guilt, etc.) to a person or persons vicariously; ascribe as derived from another.
5. Obsolete. to charge (a person) with fault.

Huh. So what Priscilla Shirer is trying to say is wrapped up in that fourth definition. God's perfect righteousness is attributed/ascribed/imputed to us through Calvary ("as derived from another" - that being Jesus). We don't have to do anything! All my life I've tried to be a good person, a faithful Christian, a dutiful daughter/wife/mother. Time and again, I've missed the mark, fallen short of the perfection I so badly want to attain. All that discouragement and frustration, and as it turns out, I don't have to do anything! There's so much freedom in that! It's not a blank check, and it's not to say I don't still need to dedicate myself to pursuing my relationship with God. However, through prayer and faith I have access to God's righteousness that has been imputed to me. 

Priscilla Shirer goes on to explain that our part comes in when we take that imputed righteousness and turn it into practical righteousness. This means that we apply it in our daily decisions and actions. My daily efforts turn from trying to attain righteousness to applying the righteousness I already have available to me. That's completely different! I don't know about you, but that's a huge weight off of my shoulders. 

Hopefully this has been an encouragement to you as much as it was to me. Next week's study is on peace and I'm already excited to eventually share with you what I'm learning. God is moving mountains in the Troja household! How about you? What is God doing in your life? Please feel free to share with me, I'd love to hear from you! Next time I will be sharing a big project reveal...stay tuned!

Hapless but hopeful,

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