The Gospel Message
We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him– 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Here is the gospel in a nutshell. First, God made Jesus sin itself — Jesus who had never sinned in his life.
On the cross, Jesus took our sins on himself, and God treated Jesus as if he had lived your life! All the sinful thoughts, dishonest deeds, and selfish ways that have characterized your life were put upon Christ and he was punished as if they were his own thoughts and deeds and ways.
Jesus was your substitute; he took your place—and the penalty you deserved—on the cross. But more than that, he gave you his righteousness; in Christ, you have the very righteousness, the perfect record and holy character, of God himself.
So because God punished Jesus for your sins on the cross, he now treats you, dear believer, as if you had lived Jesus’ life! The slate is perpetually clean, the record is permanently expunged, the rap sheet is forever removed.
On behalf of Christ then, Paul says, we beg you to be reconciled to God. The impossible has occurred and a way has been made for you—corrupt and faulty sinner that you are—to have complete, unhindered access to and communion with the holy God.
The wrath of God against your sin was spent on Christ; Christ has reconciled you to God by his death. Will you not then be reconciled in your own heart and mind to God, trusting in and submitting to his sovereign grace in your life?