Good morning Tom!

Originally Posted By: Tom
... in the Reformed community there is not a consensus on whether or not we are still “totally depraved” or not.
In fact recently I ran into someone who correctly said that we have nothing righteous in ourselves; when God looks at us he sees an “alien righteousness”. He sees Christ’s righteousness not our own righteousness. This is the difference between Reformed “imputed righteousness” and Roman Catholic “imparted righteousness”.


When it comes to justification, the Bible very clearly teaches imputation. Scripture speaks of three imputations:

Adam's sin imputed to us,

Our sin imputed to Christ, and

Christ's righteousness imputed to us.

Thus the doctrine of justification deals with that imputed sin and guilt being fully recompensed, and our standing before the court of God as righteous fully accomplished.

The doctrine of sanctification is one of those "already / not yet" things that is, from our human point of view at least, a process rather than an event. While all that we need for life and godliness has been (past tense) completely provided to us in Christ, we still find ourselves as Paul described in Romans 7:14-25, in this ongoing battle against a "defeated" foe - our old selves, the world, and the devil.

I have learned that winning all these battles is not the point. It is the struggle itself that yields the rewards of increasing "righteousness" in our experience of it here in these corrupted mortal bodies. It is our own human experience of Christ's righteousness while still in these corrupt mortal bodies that is being referred to in sanctification. It "looks like" infused righteousness, as though we are gradually getting more and more "righteous" as we continue to walk in discipleship to Christ.

So justification has to do with our "legal status" in the court of God's justice, while sanctification deals with our experience of Christ while we eagerly await the redemption of our corrupt bodies.

Roman Catholics do not teach imputation of Christ's righteousness to believers (although they do teach a form of imputation regarding Adam's sin being imputed to his descendants in "original sin") because they make no distinction between justification and sanctification. But the two are different things, even though both are part of Christ's fully accomplished work on Earth.

Our bodies remain totally depraved. Every one of us is completely capable of falling into the most gross, habitual, wicked sins imaginable while we live in these bodies. When the Lord redeems our bodies, we will enjoy the freedom from the presence of sin and from it's influence upon our corruptible bodies in a fallen world.