Trying to connect the dots, It seems as if you want to posit a "Imputation of Inherent Righteousness". If so, I can't see how this substantially diverges from the Catholic formulation of "Infusion of Inherent Righteousness".tuttle wrote: ↑Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:28 pmAs an aside, I want to say that I haven't had such a fruitful, thought provoking discussion like this on theology in a long time. For realz, thanks.
To begin, I'm not quiet comfortable saying that "Jesus was saved". To be saved, one needs saving. Jesus is the bringer of, not the one needing, salvation. That said, even though I think it is a very important point to make, I do see where you are going and we can both agree that I affirm that Jesus is intrinsically righteous. So with that in mind, I'll try to follow your track.
1) I affirm that Jesus is intrinsically righteous and that he did not attain or earn his righteousness by his obedience.
2) Jesus, because he is righteous, did keep the law perfectly
3) His perfect obedience indeed is a validation (not an accrual) of his righteousness, and it is his righteousness that is imputed to us, credited to us by faith.
So I am not comfortable walking a Two Paths of Salvation trail, but I don't believe that I've been on it. I might have been unclear in the past.
Your putative formula doesn't seem so much hostile to Catholicity as it does conceptually incoherent and redundant. You seem to want to keep imputation while neutralizing its internal logic, and this because Imputation was originally pressed into service precisely to elide Infusion and, in the bargain, [necessarily?] conceived of Christ's righteousness as deriving from "perfect obedience to the letter of the Law". This seems to be the price extracted by adherence to the doctrine of "imputation of an alien righteousness" — which is to say, a wholly forensic (legal), wholly extrinsic righteousness. To me, the willingness to pay this price — the knowing resignation to its logical ineluctability — seems to be the quintessence — the raison d'être, if you will — of the Reformed stream.
Drinking more deeply of this stream so as to further demonstrate this quintessence, it might be profitable to cite A.W. Pink (a quote which also happens to be a threefer, as he calls Jonathan Edwards et al. to the dock) …
Methinks you will be hard pressed to find historic purchase for an "Imputation of Inherent Righteousness" anywhere in the Reformed tradition. Considering that you firmly eschew the "Two Paths" position, the "Federal Vision" theology might seem to be a possible avenue. Based on my very cursory knowledge, FV seems very close to what you're advocating. But considering that whether FV is orthodox Reformism (let alone conceptually coherent) is up for debate, I'm not sure that this would be any more appealing.Justification, strictly speaking, consists in God’s imputing to His elect the righteousness of Christ […] [t]hese are, the non-imputation of guilt or the remission of sins, and second, of the investing of the believer with a legal title to Heaven. The alone ground on which God forgives any man’s sins, and admits him into His judicial favour …
The "righteousness of Christ" which is imputed to the believer consists of that perfect obedience which He rendered unto the precepts of God’s Law and that death which He died under the penalty of the law. It has been rightly said that, "There is the very same need of Christ’s obeying the law in our stead, in order to the reward, as of His suffering the penalty of the law in our stead in order to our escaping the penalty; and the same reason why one should be accepted on our account as the other …" (Jonathan Edwards).
The holiness of God requires a positive righteousness to our account—that His Law be perfectly kept. But we are unable to keep it, therefore our Sponsor fulfilled it for us. …
"It is not enough for a man to be pardoned. He, of course, is then innocent—washed from his sin—put back again, like Adam in Eden, just where he was. But that is not enough. It was required of Adam in Eden that he should actually keep the command. It was not enough that he did not break it, or that he is regarded, through the Blood, as though he did not break it. He must keep it: he must continue in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. How is this necessity supplied? Man must have a righteousness, or God cannot accept him. Man must have a perfect obedience, or else God cannot reward him" (G. S. Bishop). That necessary and perfect obedience is to be found alone in that perfect life, lived by Christ in obedience to the law, before He went to the cross, which is reckoned to the believer’s account.