112.0 - Righteousness In Christ: Now, let's consider the two distinct kinds of righteousness that Christ brings to the believer. One is Imputed Righteousness, and the other is Reality Based Righteousness. These two different benefits are rooted respectively in the dual roles that Christ plays in the redemptive work as the Dying Christ and the Living Christ. So, let's begin with Imputed Righteousness, which is rooted in the work of the Dying Christ.
112.1 - Inputed Righteousness: The Dying Christ enables forgiveness and initiates our relationship to the Father. But, here is the rest of the story. His sacrifice not only brings forgiveness and reconciliation, but it also provides the initial protection of Imputed Righteousness.
Paul describes this in Romans, chapter 4. He says, "... But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.'"
Imputed righteousness is simply an assigned righteousness. It has no basis in fact in the believer's lifestyle reality. In other words, the believer, himself, is not actually righteous. He simply enjoys an assignment of righteousness in the mind of God, due to the atoning work of the Dying Christ.
We should probably also point out that this initial benefit of Christ's death on the Cross is somewhat transitional in nature. This preliminary protection anticipates a time when the believer will enter into a Reality Based Righteousness in some measure.
112.2 - Reality Based Righteousness: This reality based righteousness, as the name indicates, is based in the believer's lifestyle reality. It is a real righteousness that is brought to life and enabled by the power of Christ as He lives within the disciple. In short, the Living Christ empowers the believer to actually be righteous.
And, while it may be accurate to say that Imputed Righteousness always remains the believers safety net, we should also note that a life lived in the power of the Resurrected Christ tends to render it less and less employed. This is true because, as the power of Christ begins to express itself in the believer, he or she begins to exhibit an expanding righteousness that is actually based in fact.
Sometimes, in life does two bridges are, indeed, required to complete a crossing. So it is also in the course of the redemptive journey. It requires both Imputed Righteousness and Reality Based Righteousness.