We need righteousness to be acceptable to God. But we don’t have it. What we have is sin.
So God has what we need and don’t deserve — righteousness; and we have what God hates and rejects — sin. What is God’s answer to this situation?
His answer is Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died in our place. God lays our sins on Christ and punishes them in him. And in Christ’s obedient death, God fulfills and vindicates his righteousness and imputes (credits) it to us. Our sin on Christ, his righteousness on us.
We can hardly stress too much that Christ is God’s answer. It is all owing to Christ.
You can’t love Christ too much. You can’t think about him too much or thank him too much or depend upon him too much. All our justification, all our righteousness, is in Christ.
This is the gospel — the good news that our sins are laid on Christ and his righteousness is laid on us, and that this great exchange happens for us not by works but by faith alone.
Here is the good news that lifts burdens and gives joy and makes strong.