Therefore also it was reckoned to him as righteousness refers back to verse 16 (verses 17-21 were parenthetical outlining the Faith-Rest Technique). The Greek verb “logizomai” for reckoned means to credit to someone’s account or to impute. Verse 16 said that Abraham believed God and it was his faith that was credited to him as righteousness. Possessing God’s righteousness sets up a potential for greater divine blessings (every believer receives some blessing from God even if they are not growing spiritually). Capacity in the soul, which can be defined as maximum doctrine resident in the soul at maturity, means that God can bless you to a greater extent.
Potential for greater blessings simply requires faith in Christ to receive divine righteousness. Capacity, however, requires the daily intake and application of Bible doctrine over a period of time. At maturity the believer has the capacity both to appreciate the source plus the variety of blessings from that source. Blessings from God would be meaningless without having the capacity for those blessings. Since the justice of God is fair, He never gives us the blessing without the capacity for that blessing. Only a maturing believer possesses the capacity for life, for happiness, for love and for blessing from the justice of God.
Now not for his sake was it written, that it was reckoned to him means Abraham is a pattern for all believers beginning at salvation and continuing into the stages of spiritual maturity. Abraham is not only the father of the Jewish nation he is the father of all believers who come after him in a spiritual sense.
But for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. Why does it say here to believe on Him who raised Jesus our Lord? The object of faith being God the Father is also found in John 5:24. In each case the object is God the Father. The object of faith in salvation is elsewhere and universally declared to be the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 4:12) However, what these passages really say is that believing in Christ is tantamount to believing in God the Father who sent Christ, who judged our sins when Christ was bearing them on the Cross and raised Christ again from the dead. So when you believe in Christ, in effect you also believe in the Father.
He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised up because of our justification. The Lord Jesus Christ had to be delivered over to judgment because of all three categories of our sin (Adam’s original sin, inherent sin and personal sin). He was resurrected because justification was accomplished at the Cross. Justification was accomplished first.
The resurrection is the work of God the Father according to Colossians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Peter 1:21; Romans 4:25. It is the work of God the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2:24; Romans 1:4; 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18. It all depends on what action or phase of resurrection is being emphasized. In passages dealing with the mechanical function of resurrection it is the work of God the Father. In passages where the resurrection is glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ it is the work of God the Holy Spirit. It is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit to glorify Jesus Christ from the Incarnation through the entire Church Age.
The Greek word for justification is “dikaiosis” and means “to declare righteous” or “to be acquitted from guilt.” Justification is one half of God’s holiness (integrity), righteousness being the other half. Justification is the function or action of God’s integrity and righteousness is the principle or standard of God’s integrity. God’s justice carries out the judicial sentences pronounced by God’s righteousness.
At the moment of salvation, a person is justified by God because His righteousness is credited to his account. Justification means vindication. Because of the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ, the believer is vindicated or set free from all charges against him. The penalty for personal sins and Adam’s original sin was paid by Jesus Christ so that the believer’s debt is now paid in full. The obligation that God’s righteousness (the standard of God’s integrity) demanded, with regard to sin, was satisfied by the justice of God (the action of God’s integrity) at the Cross. (Romans 3:28, 5:1; Galatians 3:24)
It was the work of Christ on the Cross that completely satisfied (propitiated) the justice and the righteousness of God. Once God’s justice and righteousness were satisfied, He was justified in declaring anyone who believed in Christ to be righteous. At faith in Christ, the believer is said to be “freely justified by His grace.” Justification, like righteousness, is a grace function of God, which means we cannot earn it nor do we deserve it. (Romans 5:8-9; 9:30-32; I John 2:2)
Justification is the provision by God to solve the problem of man’s sinful condition. God’s justice had to find a way to deal with sin without compromising His perfect character. God’s love provided the answer in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. Since Christ had no sin of His own to pay for, He was qualified to pay the penalty of sin (spiritual death) for the entire human race. (II Corinthians 5:21)
It is the imputation of God’s righteousness to the believer that guarantees him an eternal relationship with God and qualifies him to spend eternity in Heaven. Imputation means that God credits to your account something that properly belongs to another. In this case, God credits the righteousness of Christ to your account because at salvation you were justified and placed in union with Him through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 3:22; II Corinthians 5:21)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is neither seen nor felt. It is a fact stated in the Word of God for us to believe. Technically, it is when the believer is placed into union with Jesus Christ at salvation. There are seven baptisms in the Bible and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is but one of these. The word for baptism in Greek is “baptisma” and literally means “to dip.” It was used to describe the dyeing of a garment or the drawing of wine by dipping the cup into the bowl. Since John the Baptist and Jesus used the word to describe water baptism as submersion, the accurate interpretation of the word is “to dip into or submerge.” (I Corinthians 12:13)
When a person trusts Christ as Savior they are positionally “dipped into” or “submerged” into the “body of Christ.” This, of course, is speaking of positional truth, signifying our union with Christ. Water baptism for believers has always been a picture of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Submersion into water pictures how the believer becomes united with Christ. (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:4-5)
As I stated, there are seven baptisms in the Scriptures and all are for the purpose of identification. Of these seven, four are ritual identifications and three are actual identifications. In the apostate times in which we live, water baptism (ritual) and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (actual) have been distorted into a system of works. Water baptism, for example, is taught by some ministers as a necessity for salvation, which is false doctrine. No one has ever been saved by being submerged in water. The only purpose for water baptism is identification: identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, which it pictures. It was a teaching aid for the early church before the canon of Scripture was completed. As a matter of fact, water baptism is mentioned only once after the historical record in the book of Acts and it is mentioned as a source of division in the church of Corinth. (I Corinthians 1:11-17)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit results in a union, which never before existed for the believer. This union with Christ is unique and sets up many potentials for the believer. Being placed in union with Christ is called Positional Sanctification. Positional Sanctification describes our new relationship with God through Christ.
Our new relationship is permanent, based on our faith in Christ and it never changes, regardless of the believer’s spiritual condition. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, therefore, sets up the potential for the believer to make his daily experience (Experiential Sanctification) align with his position in Christ (Positional Sanctification). This means that we are to exhibit the character of Jesus Christ on a daily basis by means of the power of the Holy Spirit Who is indwelling us. (John 14:20; I Corinthians 12:12-27)