Imagine being on trial for committing mass homicide. Worse yet, imagine you were caught on tape killing dozens of innocent people. How stressful would it be to sit on the witness stand as the district attorney began to question you about everything you did? As he begins to show you the tape of you committing all those heinous crimes, emotions of guilt, shame, and anger begin to well up inside you. You wonder why you did it, feel grief for the families of the people you hurt, and you just wish you could get a second chance.
Now imagine after he finishes his case, the judge exclaims, “Charges, dropped. Case dismissed.” The judge then looks at you and says, “You are free to go.”
You then ask the judge, “Why? How could this be? You saw the tape!”
The judge then responds, “I saw the tape, but your older brother came to us and asked that the court place the charges facing you on him. He has taken your place. You are free to go.”
Does that sound to good to be true? It probably does. Did you know that’s what the true gospel sounds like. Look at this passage out of Romans 4:
6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”
In these passages, Paul talks about what happens when we put faith in Christ. In verse 6 it says he imputes or ascribes us as righteous. When we believe in Jesus, God classifies us as righteous! The best part is He calls us righteous apart from our performance. Verse 6 makes that clear when it says our righteousness is imputed apart from our works.
As good as verse 6 is, verse 8 is even better. It says, God does not impute us with sin. The word impute is an accounting term that means to charge. For example, if you buy plane tickets to Hawaii with your credit card, your credit card company will charge your account and send you an invoice. This means you have been imputed with the charge. With that foundation laid, think about this concept again. Romans 4:8 says God doesn’t charge the believer with sins. Our case has been dismissed! Why? Because Jesus already paid for all of our sins past, present, and future. We are forgiven and we get to go free.
Some will say that isn’t true because God is a God of judgment. While the Bible teaches God is a God of judgment, it also makes it clear, God judged Jesus in our place and Jesus paid all of our debt. Look at 1 Peter 3:18:
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit
Jesus was the lightning rod for God’s wrath and He took all judgment on Himself so we get to go free. The implications of this are huge! For example, this changes how we pray because now we don’t have to grovel at God’s feet and try to be worthy for Him to answer our prayers. Jesus made us worthy. This means we get to live in supernatural peace even when we mess up because we know God isn’t mad at us and is about to scorch us with a lightning bolt! Better yet, it means God isn’t always looking for everything wrong with us. That should give us all confidence to approach Him boldly because He sees us as innocent!
I sure do hope this article encouraged you because it sure did encourage me to write it. Your Father in heaven really loves you and He is so much better than any of us know! He’s not holding grudges or withholding affection because of our wrongs. They have been charged to Jesus’s account. He just wants us to yield to His kindness and grace and enjoy our freedom in Him! If you would like to learn more about the gospel of grace, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church.