What I could not ever do, God did! He traded every wrong that I’ve ever thought, said, and done plus the sinfulness that is in me for everything righteous that Jesus thinks, says, and does and even the righteousness that is the very soul of Him. He bore my junk at the Cross — and the moment that I believed, God imputed Christ’s glory to me.
I read and reread the following verses carefully. I’ve known them more than forty-five years, but today this is as profound as if I’d never read it — Jesus died in my place that I might have His life . . .
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For 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. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:12–21)
Anyone who tries to be righteous without this great exchange cannot do it. The essence of the gospel is in this incredible substitution and in no way dependent upon anything I can do. Salvation is the Lord’s doing and this great and unmatched gift of eternal life, all the blessings of grace in this life and all the blessedness of eternal glory are freely bestowed on every believing sinner only because the Lord Jesus Christ is our Substitute, exchanging my great need for His great riches.
How could I earn or merit everlasting salvation? I fall short of His righteousness. However, Jesus earned it for me. The Bible even says that my salvation is God’s reward to His Son for His saving work, and in Him God looks at me as justified, perfectly obedient. The penalty of the law against sin is satisfied by ‘divine imputation’ — Jesus was made sin for me and took that penalty. In the same way God imputed my sin on Him, He imputed His righteousness on me and the reward of that righteousness is eternal glory.
Jesus, this life is so short, and my life seems so small and insignificant. Yet You gave me Your life and in that incredible exchange, You changed everything. I am in awe, precious Savior, hope of earth and joy of heaven. Thank You.