Now as I get the taste of shoe leather (actual its synthetic rubber which has a distinct taste all its own) and crow out of my mouth how about we define a few things first.
First Adam in the covenant of works was promised life if he obeyed.
For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
(Romans 10:5 ESV)
But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”
(Galatians 3:12 ESV)
If Adam obeyed he was promised life.
And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
(Genesis 2:9 ESV)
Adam’s disobedience as our federal head earned us the penalty and curse of the Law. God demanded our death for our disobedience and he demanded that we still keep the law perfectly.
And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey.
(Nehemiah 9:29 ESV)
I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live.
(Ezekiel 20:11 ESV)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 ESV)
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
(Galatians 3:10 ESV)
In our name and in our behalf, Jesus paid our debt to the Law as our debt was two fold so was too was the payment: His life of perfect obedience fulfilled the law for us. By his death on the cross he satisfied the penalty demanded for our disobedience. This is what is meant by the active and passive obedience of Christ.
If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
(Romans 5:17-19 ESV)
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;
(2 Corinthians 5:14 ESV)
Now both aspects of Christ’s obedience is necessary if he had just died for us then we would be back to square one the penalty paid but still needing to live in perfect obedience to the Law. Christ’s obedience to the Law frees us for the need to live to the Law for our justification. His obedience makes us righteous.
Now Terry states:
What was actually imputed to us was the righteousness of Christ that He ALWAYS had, as God, and as man, from birth. This righteousness was SHOWN or DEMONSTRATED by His perfect sinless life, and obedience to the Law.
So according to Terry, despite what scriptures states about obedience to the law isn’t true in Christ’s case, his righteousness that is imputed to us is completely merit less. And Christ’s obedience isn’t what makes us righteous despite what Paul says in Romans 5:19.