“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
In this one verse, the essence of the gospel is explained. To all those who would believe upon His name, Jesus became our substitute through his death on the cross. God the Father determined that Jesus, His Son, would absorb the wrath of God in our place. On top of that, the believer is given the righteousness of Christ. This is what theologians sometimes refer to as double imputation. God’s wrath is imputed unto Christ; Christ’s righteousness is imputed unto the believer.
If this all sounds too good to be true, you’re right – it is. No one is deserving of God’s grace and mercy. No one deserves to be forgiven of their sin. No one deserves to have eternal life. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5). This is the glory of the gospel.
As you reflect on the work of Christ this Easter weekend, do so with a sense of gratitude and wonder at the love of God. As the great hymn reminds us, “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow.” Praise God!