As Mentioned in the articles “Christian Perfection” and “Striving to Bridle the Tongue and Striving to Live SInlessly“, I do believe in Christian perfection and hold it to be a doctrine that has its place in biblical Christianity.
I do believe however that this teaching has sometimes developed into false doctrine because of people putting too much emphasis on personal performance while neglecting to put emphasis on the forgiveness that is available in Christ Jesus.
I believe that this forgiveness can be found in the Justification by grace through faith alone, which is available to the believer after genuine repentance after having sinned. Forgiveness is not found in our own merit (works).
IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS: WHAT IT IS
This is what I believe imputed righteousness is: When we sin, if we ask for forgiveness in Jesus' Name, after the Holy Spirit convicted us of sin (John 16:8), we are forgiven and we are declared righteous as if we have never sinned before. Thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ, God can freely remit our sin and see us as if we have never sinned before. (Read "The Governmental View of The Atonement" for what I think is the best explanation on this topic of the remission of sins.)
BIBLICAL SUPPORT (FOR THIS VIEW)
As it is written
‘But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”’
– Romans 4:5-8 (NKJV, emphasis mine)
“ But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
– Romans 3:22-24 (NKJV)
This is because our high priest has put his blood on the “mercy seat” (Romans 3:25-26) “once and for all” (Hebrews 10:10). This is the reason why He can forgive / set aside our sins whenever He wants, while remaining righteous. (I believe the “Governmental Theory of The Atonement” explains this to most effectively. Also the “Ransom Theory” is part of this.)
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
– Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV)
IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS: WHAT IT IS NOT
I DO NOT HOLD TO THE CALVINISTIC VERSION OF IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT STATES "IF I SIN, GOD DOESN'T SEE MY SIN, HE SEES JESUS INSTEAD"! SUCH BALONEY IS NOWHERE FOUND IN THE BIBLE. AFTER ONE SINS, ONE GETS TIME TO REPENT BUT IF HE DOES NOT REPENT IN THE GOD-GIVEN TIME, HE LOSES HIS SALVATION! Read "Conditional Security" and "A Time to Repent" for more information.
Justin Martyr wrote:
“‘Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute sin;’ that is, having repented of his sins he may receive remission of them from God; and not as you deceive yourselves—and some others who resemble you in this—who say that even though they are sinners, but know God, the Lord will not impute sin to them”
– Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho (141)
Clement of Alexandria wrote:
‘I have quoted these remarks to prove in error those Basilidians who do not live purely, supposing either that they have the power even to commit sin because of their perfection, or indeed that they will be saved by nature even if they sin in this life because they possess an innate election. For the original teachers of their doctrines do not allow one to do the same as they are now doing. They ought not, therefore, to take as a covering cloak the name of Christ and, by living lewder lives than the most uncontrolled heathen, bring blasphemy upon his name. “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers” as far as the words “whose end shall be like their works.”‘
– Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 3.1.
ADVANTAGES OF THE GOVERNMENTAL VIEW
I believe that my view is called “The Governmental View” of Imputed Righteousness:
“Advocates of the Government view of the atonement also point out that they do teach imputation of righteousness as a gift from God but they believe that this is not Christ’s righteousness but just that God declares the believer to be righteous but only so long as they remain a believer. If they fail to maintain faith, their righteousness means nothing (Ezekiel 33:13 NASB). They believe that the strength of their view is that it does allow the believer to be righteous through faith in Jesus Christ but it doesn’t allow for sinful living in the life of the disciple of Christ. It thus fits a conditional salvation view.”
Source: Arminian Today, Imputed Righteousness: Christ’s or Ours? (links added)
In the words of Gordon olson:
“Grace indeed freely discharges sins,
but with the consent and choice of the believer.”
– Pelagius, On The Divine Law
[Last quote taken from B. R. Rees, The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers (p 92)]