There are many declarations being published abroad, today, which masquerade as the Gospel. Yet, there is but one clear message which comprises the summation of the true Gospel. If this message is added to or, in anywise neglected, then the proclamation which is made falls short of truth, regardless of the skill with which it might be delivered or the qualifications of the man doing the preaching of it.
Paul sums up this Gospel and its vital ingredients here in his second epistle to the Corinthians. “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.” (2Cor 5:21) If we were to condense the whole basis of the gospel into just one word it would be “imputation”. As we read in verse 19, “not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2Cor 5:19)
The word “impute” means to “apply to”, as when an accountant assigns a debit or credit to a particular account. The Gospel cannot be preached apart from declaring that CHRIST has taken to HIS account the sins of HIS elect, and has applied HIS righteousness to theirs. HE who had no sin of HIS own, became a “sinner”, that HE might in turn make those who had no righteousness of their own, completely just before the law, in the sight of GOD. Sinners were made sinless by the imputation of HIS righteousness as HE became “accursed” in bearing their sin. This is a legal transaction which HE has performed, which cannot be overturned nor in anywise diminished.
There could be no such thing as “justification” before the law if there was not ONE who could be the JUSTIFIER. The holy law has no power to mitigate sin, only to punish it. “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Eze 18:4)
The law does have provision, in it, for making atonement for sin, but both the offering and the offerer must be completely pure; or else, neither can come into the presence of the LORD. The Levitical priesthood was but a temporary priesthood along with their animal sacrifices. They were merely intended as a type and foreshadow of that true PRIEST and that satisfactory OFFERING which would be given at the appointed time.
Their work could not continue because of death; which illustrated the innate corruption and impermanent nature of that priesthood Every bull and goat, which they offered, sprang forth from the very earth which was cursed on account of man’s sin and therefore could never take away sin, simply serving as types of that ONE SACRIFICE which would cancel sin and obtain eternal redemption for those whose sins were laid upon HIM..
CHRIST JESUS has come into the world to fulfill the Holy Law of GOD and to offer HIMSELF as a SACRIFICE for the sin of that people which HE loved from before the foundation of the world. HE did so by “becoming sin” for them. HE was completely untainted by sin in HIS own character, being of such purity as to not even look upon sin. Yet it pleased HIM to become a “sinner” in the sight of the law, judged and punished by that law, with its supreme penalty. “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23) Since HE had no need to expiate sin for HIMSELF, HE could and did bear the full measure of the sin of those HE came to save.
If the law is satisfied (i.e.; fulfilled), then it has no grounds upon which to demand retribution to those for whom it is satisfied. Thus we read that CHRIST is the JUSTIFIER in accordance to that law which HE has fulfilled in its jot and tittle. Yet even if a man is not condemned by the law, he still has no grounds upon which to gain an entrance in to the presence of HIM who dwells in the LIGHT to which no man can approach and whose way is past finding out.
In order for a man to enter into HIS presence, he must not only be justified according to the law but he must stand in perfect righteousness (i.e.; being sanctified). The only RIGHTEOUSNESS which is acceptable in the courts of heaven is that of HIM who is WORTHY to open the sealed book. Thus the gospel declares that HE has not only imputed the sin of HIS elect unto HIMSELF, but HE has imputed HIS righteousness unto them. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1Cor 1:30) “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:5-6)
Paul quotes a prophecy from the book of Isaiah (49:8), here, in his letter to the Corinthians, immediately after he writes this gospel manifesto concerning “imputation”. This verse speaks of an “acceptable time”; or we could say in a time which is “appointed” by HIM who knows the end from the beginning and does all things according to the good pleasure of HIS will. This time (or day) was kept hidden from the world from the beginning, though the prophecy of it began in the Garden of Eden as the LORD cursed the serpent and declared the triumph of the woman’s SEED, (see Gen 3:15) and continued until those angels heralded the actual birth of that SEED.
So the present time (which is the latter time or the last days) is the “day of salvation” which is appointed by the RULER of days and now delivered to the sons of men. There is no other to come, behold now is this day when the mystery of GOD’s kingdom is unfolded to the earth and JESUS CHRIST is declared as the SAVIOR of sinners and the DELIVERER of those who have sat in bondage, impotence, and fear.
This “day” is a glorious day because now the gospel declares the glory of HIM who is appointed not only to suffer in HIS people’s behalf but to rule in RIGHTEOUSNESS and PEACE forever. “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2Pet 1:11)
This “day” is a momentous and welcome day for HE is the SALVATION so long awaited by those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death. Now they are enabled to not only see the LIGHT but to bear witness of HIM who has triumphed over sin, death, and the grave. .”For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2Cor 4:6)
This “day” is an endless day because that redemption which is brought about by the work of CHRIST is an eternal redemption. “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”(Heb 9:11-12) “so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1Thes 4:17)
This “day” is a final day, for there is no one who can change nor diminish that finished work which CHRIST has performed. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:29-31)
This “day” is the SABBATH day for it is a day of rest to the people of GOD. No hammer nor axe is heard in the building of this great edifice of the Kingdom of GOD, for the sons of GOD do cease from their labors and rest in HIM who has done all things well. “For if Jesus had given them (i.e.; those under the law) rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” (Heb 4:8-10) “And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (2Chro 7:3)mam