Dear fellow lover of Jesus,
The instant you repented and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior a great exchange took place. By faith, you traded your sin for his righteousness. That is what 2 Corinthians 5:21 means when it says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” While on the cross, Jesus willingly accepted the Father’s placement of your sin’s guilt and penalty upon him—your sins were imputed to him, meaning he was judged as if he was the guilty one. This is what it means that the Father “made [the Son] to be sin,” and “for Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). He did this so that the moment we turn to God in faith, embracing Jesus as our sin-bearing Savior, the Son’s righteousness is credited to us. Since this is true you are now considered righteous by God and treated as such. Your judicial standing before God is a settled matter—you are justified and therefore counted as righteous forever. God views you not as one clothed in your own garments, which are filthy and stained by sin, but in the pure white garments of Jesus. That is what the apostle means when he declares that we have “become the righteousness of God” in Jesus.
Since the basis of our standing before God is Christ’s righteousness, not our own, sin no longer affects our justification—our judicial standing—before God. We are fully accepted by him. We are continually loved by him. Romans 5:1 assures us, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith [past tense], we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ [present tense]. Now, there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Nothing can ever change that.
[Excerpted from my forthcoming book BRASS HEAVENS: Reasons for Unanswered Prayer, now available for pre-order from Cruciform Press]