Reformed theology teaches, following Scripture, that justification includes double imputation: Christ’s righteousness is imputed to those who believe, and their sin is imputed to him (Is. 53:4-6, Rom. 4:1-10 2 Cor. 5.21, etc.) In The Golden Key, Thomas Brooks discusses justification and imputation clearly. Then he asks the pastoral question: “What strong consolations flow from this fountain – the imputed righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ?” Below is an edited summary of his faith-strengthening answers.
First, let all believers know for their comfort, that in this imputed righteousness of Christ there is enough to satisfy the justice of God to the uttermost penny, and to remove all his judicial anger and fury. When a believer casts his eyes upon his many thousand sinful commissions and omissions, no wonder he fears and trembles. But then, when he looks upon Christ’s satisfaction, he may see himself acquitted, and rejoice. For if there be no charge, no accusation against the Lord Jesus, there can be none against the believer.”
Know for your comfort that this imputed, mediatory righteousness of Christ takes away all your unrighteousness. It cancels every bond, it takes away all your iniquity, and answers for all your sins.
For your comfort, know that this righteousness of Christ presents us perfectly righteous in the sight of God. Through Christ we are as righteous as if we had satisfied the law in our own persons.
Know for your comfort that this imputed righteousness of Christ will answer to all the fears, doubts, and objections of your souls. How shall I look up to God? The answer is, in the righteousness of Christ. How shall I find acceptance with God? The answer is, in the righteousness of Christ. How shall I stand before the judgment seat of God? The answer is, in the righteousness of Christ.
To be comforted, know that the imputed righteousness of Christ is the best title that you have to show for. His righteousness is your life, your joy, your comfort, your crown, your confidence, your all.
For comfort, know that this imputed righteousness of Christ is the only true basis, foundation, and ground for a believer to build his happiness upon, his joy and comfort upon, and the true peace and quiet of his conscience upon.
To find comfort, know that Christ’s imputed righteousness may serve to support and bear up the hearts of God’s people from fainting and sinking under the sense of their own weakness and moral imperfection. When a Christian casts an eye upon his own sins and spots, fears and tremblings arise. But when he fixes his eye on Christ, and Christ’s righteousness imputed to him, his heart cheers up. He cheers up because even though he has no righteousness of his own with which to stand before God, yet he has Christ’s perfect righteousness credited to his account. So he can stand secure before God, in Christ.