The Mystery of Logizomai
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted (reckoned or imputed) unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3)
Paul quotes Genesis 15:6 in Romans 4:3 in answering arguably the most important human question:
How is a man made right with God?
I can see the eyes rolling from here, but this is a foundational doctrine that all of us must address at one point or another, and Paul being God's chosen Apostle to you and I (Romans 11:13) hinges his entire understanding of salvation on the meaning of the Greek word logizomai, which means to "reckon" or "count as".
The King James Bible has 41 instances of this word within its pages, and here are some enlightening examples:
Here uncircumcision is COUNTED or RECKONED as circumcision. Though Gentiles were physically uncircumcised, God COUNTS them as circumcised, the point being that circumcision was symbolic of something far deeper and spiritual, a heart that was bare and tender toward God.
Here's another example:
This idea of faith being "counted" by God as genuine righteousness was the lightning rod of the Reformation. Those who work endlessly to earn the favor of God deeply resent those who get in "for free". Remember the parable of the workers in Matthew 20? The workers that had toiled all day long in the heat were angry at those who showed up at the last minute and received the same pay! They were angry that the owner of the vineyard was generous!
The parable was really about God's generosity and willingness to be gracious and generous to all, especially the unworthy, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son. At the Reformation the Catholic Church resented the claim that those who did not approach God through their rituals and theology could be accepted by God. It challenged and nullified their power, just as the power of the chief Priests and Pharisees were threatened by Jesus in their day. This attitude can affect us today if we forget that we are sinners.
As Christians who are grateful to God for the love He displayed toward us at Calvary, it is natural to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be at once clean and quit the war against sin that characterizes the believer's life. But then, why would we need Jesus? What value would His blood retain? The truth is, Christians still sin. Just ask those who know them best! And yet the faith that Believers have in Jesus' work on the cross renders them righteous in God's eyes!
In Mark 15 he quotes Isaiah 53:12:
The same Greek word translated "numbered" appears again, yet scripture insists that Christ was without sin. Isaiah is not saying that His Servant Jesus was sinful, but that He was numbered, or counted as being a sinner. Jesus was forensically SINLESS, yet counted and punished as ALL sin, for all time, for everyone who will believe!
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
We know this is true because Christ was raised from the dead. His life, claims and words were vindicated by God himself when He raised Jesus from the dead.
And this means that WE, though we are forensically, truly SINFUL, are truly counted as RIGHTEOUS before God! If Christ REALLY took on our sins for us, is it unreasonable to say that believers are now REALLY reckoned righteous?
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18)
Look at the last six words above. How are those receiving forgiveness of sins and all that God has promised them made holy, or sanctified? By the faith they place in Jesus they are "counted" righteous!
Isn't He Wonderful?