First the imputation of our sins to Christ (2 Cor 5:21), then the imputation of His righteousness to us (Rom 3:24-24; 4:21-25) . The two are not the same and they are not simultaneous nor are they equivalent. The first happened outside my space-time. The other happens in my space-time. Then I got to read this post from Brett Meyer which quotes the BoC, it was so on target and spot on. This was taken from the Solid Declarations III.
10] These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. 11] This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the father, and are eternally saved. 12] Therefore it is considered and understood to be the same thing when Paul says that we are justified by faith, Rom. 3, 28, or that faith is counted to us for righteousness, Rom. 4, 5, and when he says that we are made righteous by the obedience of One, Rom. 5, 19, or that by the righteousness of One justification of faith came to all men, Rom. 5, 18. 13] For faith justifies, not for this cause and reason that it is so good a work and so fair a virtue, but because it lays hold of and accepts the merit of Christ in the promise of the holy Gospel; for this must be applied and appropriated to us by faith, if we are to be justified thereby. 14] Therefore the righteousness which is imputed to faith or to the believer out of pure grace is the obedience, suffering, and resurrection of Christ, since He has made satisfaction for us to the Law, and paid for [expiated] our sins. 15]I highlighted some words for reflection specially the ones in red are a way of proving my point. I am at a loss as to why the Confessional guys I interchanged with in my blog a while ago found it rather odd of me speaking of these imputations. We might ask - the Word of the Gospel, how is this understood?
For since Christ is not man alone, but God and man in one undivided person, He was as little subject to the Law, because He is the Lord of the Law, as He had to suffer and die as far as His person is concerned. For this reason, then, His obedience, not only in suffering and dying, but also in this, that He in our stead was voluntarily made under the Law, and fulfilled it by this obedience, is imputed to us for righteousness, so that, on account of this complete obedience, which He rendered His heavenly Father for us, by doing and suffering, in living and dying, God forgives our sins, regards us as godly and righteous, and eternally saves us. 16] This righteousness is offered us by the Holy Ghost through the Gospel and in the Sacraments, and is applied, appropriated, and received through faith, whence believers have reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sins, the grace of God sonship, and heirship of eternal life.
17] Accordingly, the word justify here means to declare righteous and free from sins, and to absolve one from eternal punishment for the sake of Christ's righteousness, which is imputed by God to faith, Phil. 3, 9. For this use and understanding of this word is common in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament. Prov. 17, 15: He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord. Is. 5, 23: Woe unto them which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Rom. 8, 33: Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, that is, absolves from sins and acquits
From the BoC, AP IV, 291-2Now look at what Walther said...found or quoted here.The Gospel shows another way. It compels us to use Christ in our justification. It teaches that through him we have access to God through faith and that we should set him, the mediator and propitiator, against the wrath of God. It teaches that by faith in Christ we received the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation, and victory over the terrors of sin and death.
Faith alone accepts the forgiveness of sins, justifies, and regenerates...As we have already stated, we teach a man is justified when, with his conscience terrified by the preaching of penitence, he takes heart and believes that he has a gracious God for Christ's sake. This faith is accounted for righteousness before God (Rom 4:3-5)
C.F.W. Walther wrote in 1868: "…you often hear pastors preach, 'You are saved if you believe.' What they should be saying is, 'You are saved so that you might believe."I thought Walther was Confessional? Huh? What is the point of faith if you are already saved? Walther seems to be saying all are saved, they just have not believed it yet. That manner of speaking is as universalistic sounding to me as anything. The Scripture speaks of all being paid for by Christ's propiation, but not all are justified/saved because not all have faith, not all are using Christ as a shield against the wrath of God, this is obvious. So I repeat what the Apology said... use our Saviour, set him against the wrath of God, against the wrath of the Law, because the wrath of the Law is still there for those who reject Christ. Outside of Christ, there is still wrath, the Scripture is not kidding. The good news is that God has provided for us his Son as the one who answers the Law for us sinners - John 3:16. So we run for safety and cover, this is the Lord Jesus.
Now have a look at what Abraham Calov said, Apodixis Articulorum Fidei ( R. Preus' Justification and Rome)?
Although Christ has acquired for us the remission of sins, justification, and sonship, God just the same does not justify us prior to our faith. Nor do we become God's children in Christ in such a way that justification in the mind of God takes place before we believe.
How is that different from Walther. Between Walther and Calov, I would go with Calov.
I thoroughly enjoyed SC III, I was salivating as I was reading it. Hope it has been a blessing.