This morning’s Morning and Evening is particularly good. So thankful for the timeless truth of Christ’s substitutionary atonement! Here is Alistair Begg’s paraphrase of the Spurgeon classic.
* * * * *
Just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
— Romans 3:26
Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Conscience no longer accuses. Judgment now decides for the sinner instead of against him. Memory looks back upon past sins with deep sorrow for the sin, but yet without dreading any penalty to come; for Christ has paid the debt of His people to the last jot and tittle and received the divine receipt. Unless God can be so unjust as to demand double payment for one debt, no soul for whom Jesus died as a substitute can ever be cast into hell.
It seems to be one of the principles of our enlightened nature to believe that God is just; we feel that it must be so, and this terrifies us at first. But is it not marvelous that this very same belief that God is just later becomes the pillar of our confidence and peace! If God is just, I, a sinner, alone and without a substitute, must be punished. But Jesus stands in my place and is punished for me; and now, if God is just, I, a sinner, standing in Christ, can never be punished. God must change His nature before one soul for whom Jesus was a substitute can ever by any possibility suffer the punishment of the law.
Therefore, Jesus having taken the place of the believer-having rendered a full equivalent to divine wrath for all that His people ought to have suffered as the result of sin-the believer can shout with glorious triumph, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?”1 Not God, for He has justified; not Christ, for He has died, yes, has risen again. My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, He is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am or shall be or feel or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. Hallelujah!