My notes from last night...
The Great Exchange
(Started off, as always at PCRT with the Westminster Brass and the singing of the great Reformation song A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. That is always good but some of the hymns written by Alliance of Confessing Evangelical leaders? Not so much, no one knew the words or music, people were mumbling the songs and the organ was so loud that it was all you could hear. Stick to the 400 or so hymns we know!)
2 Cor 5: 16-21, esp. verse 21
Double imputation at the cross, something taken from us and laid on Christ and something was taken fro Christ and laid on we who believe. It was the worst about us, our sins, and the very best of Him, His perfect spotless righteousness. That is what you call grace.
This is how lost sinners can be right with a holy God (imputation and penal substitution)
What is imputation? It is drawn from the courtroom, with authority from the judge making a pronouncement. Or resource deposited into the account of someone else. The double imputation of justification. His righteousness has been credited to our account.
Five things to see in this verse…
The saving God. “He made Him”. Three key pronouns: He, Him, our. God he Father is the He who made Him, Christ, sin for us. It is not God and man, it is God and God alone. We could not make Him sin, we could not lay our sins on Him. Only God can do this. The only thing we bring to the exchange is the sin laid upon Jesus Christ, our sin-bearing Savior. There are three things that Spurgeon said we must know about this God: a) God is a sovereign God, only One with supreme authority b) God is a just God who must be propitiated for our sins. The God of the Bible is a ruler who, when His subjects rebel, never forgives them until He fully punishes their sin c) He is also gracious, He loves to bestow His blessings.
The sinless Substitute. “Him who knew no sin” That is our sinless substitute, distinguished from “Him”, the King of Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew no sin. In no uncertain terms, Christ is set before us as one who is absolutely sinless and perfect. He took on human flesh but without a sin nature. All of the apostles were uniform in their assertion that He is righteous and without sin, even sinners testified to this (Judas, Pilate, the thief on the cross). Only one who knew no sin of His own could bear our sins and take the wrath of the Father.
The sin imputed. “He made Him to be sin” He was personally holy but forensically guilty. God did not just write off our sin like a toxic asset, He did not look the other way. Every sin in the world will be personally punished by God. Either in hell or in forgiveness in Christ. There is a prior imputation of sin, the sin of Adam imputed to all men. (Rom 5:12, Rom 5:18) When Adam sinned, we all sinned. But not only is Adam’s sin imputed to all men, but all of the sins of the elect and heaped them upon the sinless Savior, our substitute, Jesus Christ (Lev 16, Isa 53, 1 Pet 2:4) He died in our place, suffering under the wrath of God FOR US.
The specific extent. For whom did Christ become sin? The entire world, those who die in unbelief, those who were dead and already in hell? “So that in Him we might” On our behalf. See verse 20, then 19, then 18. All speaking of all believers. He did not die in vain. It was a purposeful death.
The spotless righteousness. The second half of the great exchange. Not only did Christ get our sins, “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” His perfect righteousness was transferred to us. “So that” this great exchange might take place. All of the people of God, the elect of God.
What is this righteousness?
It is posted to our account (Romans 3:26, Romans 8:33) by God in imputation.
It is an alien or foreign righteousness (Luther). It does not originate in us. In is external to us. Romans 1:17
It consist entirely in Christ’s doing, His sinless life and substitution death. He is the head of His people, the elect of God, as Adam was the head of all humanity. He lived for thirty plus years because He had to be born under the law and keep the law that we are constantly breaking. We are credited as if we had lived the perfect sinless life of Christ. Not just taking away sin but His righteousness given us (not putting us in neutral standing, but in righteous standing)
Received exclusively by faith alone in Christ alone. Not faith and anything else. Not baptism, not works, not the Lords Supper, not church membership. Not to the one who works, but to the one who does not work.
It is given immediately, in whole. Not in installments. Immediately and completely when the sinner repents of his sins and lays hold of Jesus Christ. (Luke 18: 10-14)
It is given exclusively in Jesus Christ alone. There is no righteousness of God to be given to any sinner except it be given in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is not one drop of saving grace outside of Jesus Christ.
It is given forever, never to be rescinded. It is irrevocable. Justification is a once and for all time declaration. (Rom 8:33).
This is the dual nature, the double imputation of the cross of Jesus Christ.
We need to know two things: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.
(Lawson, like all Baptists at these conferences, calls sinners to repent. I always like that they take the opportunity to speak to a large group and not assume the Gospel but also preach the Gospel)