Justification and the Active Obedience of Christ: Toward a Biblical Understanding of Imputed Righteousness

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Systematic Theology

First Advisor

Larry Pettegrew


Since the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, the emphasis on the redemptive work of Christ has been rightly laid on the concept of substitution. In the Reformed tradition, however, there arose an additional emphasis on the earthly obedience of Christ and its place in the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. According to this teaching, Christ not only died in the place of sinners to atone for their sins, he also obeyed God's law in the place of sinners in order to earn a title to eternal life for them. This study examines this idea and calls it the doctrine of "vicarious active obedience." Three lines of investigation are pursued: historical, exegetical, and theological.


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