|Dr. Couch, is righteousness an attribute of God? I've heard some say it is not.|
ANSWER: The word righteousness in Greek is the word dikaiosunee and it means "to be just, faultless, guiltless, perfect." The Bible makes it clear that all three persons of the Trinity are righteousness. God is called "the righteousness Father" (John 17:25). Christ is the Just (the righteousness One) (Acts 7:52).
By faith, we are "made, counted, or receive by imputation, the righteousness of God. We do not become little gods, and we do not in a technical sense, share in the attribute of God's righteousness, though we are "declared" righteous. While this is in some way hard to understand, this makes us guiltless or faultless so that we can then enter the throne room of God with His perfection imputed to us.
We are "justified, made righteous by" Christ's blood (Rom. 5:9). "God imputed to us righteousness not by works" (Rom. 4:6). Righteousness is given to us as a free gift, resulting in justification (righteousness) (5:16) "and the gift of righteousness" which comes through Christ (v. 17). We are "justified (made righteousness) by faith in Christ (Gal. 2:16-17). Christ is referred to in Romans 4:5: "Believe in Him who justifies (makes righteousness) the ungodly." God then justifies and Christ justified; both persons in the Trinity makes imparts, imputes righteousness! Galatians 2:17 says we are made righteousness by Christ. Christ's act of righteousness on the cross results in justification of life to all men who trust Him (Rom. 5:18).
God sees His righteousness and the righteousness of His Son accounted, imputed to us, this is not the same thing in saying that we now have His attribute of righteousness. We are seen legally acquitted by that righteousness but we don't take on His attribute as part of us.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch