Imputation Is Real
When God declares a sinner righteous in His own view based on the righteousness of Christ imputed (charged, accounted) to that sinner, make no mistake, it is a REAL justification, a REAL righteousness, and a REAL transaction.
It is not, as some say, a “legal fiction,” or God declaring or viewing something as if it were true when it really is not true. However God views or declares something to be is the only true reality. The imputation of sin to Christ was so REAL that Christ actually suffered under the justice of the law’s wrath against all the sins of all His people as they were accounted to Him.
The imputation of righteousness to His people was so REAL that, as a result, the Holy Spirit comes in time and gives all of them life in the new birth. Those who do not understand the reality of imputation do not understand the reality of Christ as our Substitute and Surety.