—that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

— Philippians 3:8-9

We have the word imputed just once in the New Testament. Whether the evil doctrine may have sprung from any possible misunderstanding of the passage where it occurs, I hardly care to inquire. The word as Paul uses it, and the whole of the thought whence his use of it springs, appeals to my sense of right and justice as much as the common use of it arouses my abhorrence. The apostle says that a certain thing was imputed to Abraham for righteousness; or, as the revised version has it, “reckoned unto him:” what was it that was thus imputed to Abraham? The righteousness of another? God forbid! It was his own faith that was reckoned to him as righteousness. To impute the righteousness of one to another, is simply to act a falsehood; to call the faith of a man his righteousness is simply to speak the truth. Was it not righteous in Abraham to obey God? Paul says faith in God was counted righteousness before Moses was born. Abraham’s was no mere intellectual recognition of the existence of a God, which is consistent with the deepest atheism; it was that faith which is one with action: “He went out, not knowing whither he went.” The very act of believing in God after such fashion that, when the time of action comes, the man will obey God, is the highest act, the deepest , loftiest righteousness of which man is capable, is at the root of all other righteousness, and the spirit of it will work till the man is perfect.