God put [Jesus] forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:25–26)
Romans 3:25–26 may be the most important verses in the Bible.
God is wholly just! And he justifies the ungodly! Really? A just judge acquitting the guilty!
Not either/or! Both! He acquits the guilty, but is not guilty in doing so. This is the greatest news in the world!
“[God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He takes our sin. We take his righteousness.
“By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). Whose flesh? Christ’s. Whose sin condemned in that flesh? Ours. For us then? No condemnation!
“[Christ] bore our sins in his body on the tree.” (1 Peter 2:24)
“Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18)
“If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5)
If the most terrifying news in the world is that we have fallen under the condemnation of our Creator and that he is bound by his own righteous character to preserve the worth of his glory by pouring out his wrath on our sin . . .
. . . Then the best news in all the world (the gospel!) is that God has decreed and enacted a way of salvation that also upholds the worth of his glory, the honor of his Son, and the eternal salvation of his elect. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.