640. V. IMPUTATION OF CHRIST'S MERIT AND RIGHTEOUSNESS IS IMPOSSIBLE.
In order to know that an imputation of the merit and righteousness of Jesus Christ is impossible, what His merit and righteousness are must be known. The merit of the Lord our Savior is redemption, the nature of which may be seen above in its proper chapter (n. 114-133), where it is described as the subjugation of the hells, the orderly arrangement of the heavens, and the subsequent establishment of a church, and thus as being a work purely Divine. It is also there shown that the Lord by means of redemption took to Himself the power to regenerate and save those who believe on Him and do His commandments; also that without this redemption no flesh could have been saved. As redemption therefore was a work purely Divine, and a work of the Lord alone, and constitutes His merit, it follows that His merit can no more be applied, ascribed, or imputed to any man than the creation and preservation of the universe. Moreover, redemption was, as it were, a new creation of the angelic heaven, and likewise of the church.  That the present church attributes that merit of the Lord the Redeemer to those who by grace attain to that faith, is evident from their dogmas, among which this is the chief. For it is affirmed by the hierarchs of that church and by their subordinates, both in the Roman Catholic and in the Reformed churches, that by the imputation of Christ's merit those who have attained to faith are not only reputed righteous and holy, but also are so; and that their sins are not sins in God's sight because they are forgiven, and they themselves are justified, that is, reconciled, renewed, regenerated, sanctified, and enrolled in heaven. That the entire Christian church today teaches these same dogmas is very evident from the Council of Trent, from the Augustan or Augsburg Confessions, and from the appended and accepted commentaries.  From the things said above when applied to that faith, what follows but that the possession of that faith is that merit and that righteousness of the Lord, consequently that its possessor is Christ in another person? For it is affirmed that Christ Himself is righteousness, and that that faith is righteousness, and that imputation (meaning thereby ascription and application), causes men not only to be reputed righteous and holy, but to be so in reality. To imputation, application, and ascription, add transcription only, and you will be a vicarious pope.