Do you have the right shirt?
My Pastor has two sons and when they were young he attempted to illustrate the Gospel in a way they could understand. He asked the boys to bring him two white t-shirts. He laid one aside and then placed the other one on the table. He then took a black marker and asked the boys to start naming sins. They began to call out a variety of sins like lying, stealing, disobeying etc... As they named those sins he wrote them all over the white t-shirt with the black marker. Once the shirt was filled with sins, he placed it on his younger son. He represented "the sinner." The white shirt, that had been laid aside, was placed on his other son. He represented "Jesus."
Pastor then took his older son with him to the top of the stairs while leaving the younger one at the bottom. He then announced that he and "Jesus" were in "Heaven" and asked "the sinner" if he would like to come up and join them. His younger son said yes and began towards the stairs. Pastor abruptly told him to stop and pointed out his "sins." He explained that he was not allowed to come to "Heaven" because of his "sins."
His son did not understand and his eyes started to fill up with tears. Pastor then excitedly explained that he had a plan! He turned to "Jesus" and told him to go downstairs. When he got to the bottom, Pastor then instructed the boys to switch shirts. The sinful shirt was taken off "the sinner" and placed on "Jesus." The sinless shirt was taken off of "Jesus" and placed on "the sinner." Pastor then invited the younger son, who was now wearing the perfectly white shirt, to come join him in "Heaven."
That is a simple, yet accurate, illustration of salvation.
Jesus came down so we could go up!
"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." (II Corinthians 5:21)
2,000 years ago an exchange took place. Jesus, the sinless One, took our sin. Jesus did not become a sinner, nor was sin put in Him. The verse above teaches that our sin was placed on Jesus and God punished Him for our sin. Jesus died for the sins of the entire world including yours and mine.
In order to be forgiven of your sin and go to Heaven when you die, you must understand that you are a sinner and cannot earn or work your way to Heaven through your own good works or religion (Rom. 3:23; Eph. 2:8-9). You must also understand that God loves you and gave His Son Jesus to suffer, bleed and die on the cross to pay for your sin (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8). He was buried and resurrected three days later.
Today He is able to save anyone who trusts Him (Rom. 10:13).
When you trust Christ alone by asking Him to save you and forgive you of your sin, the righteousness of Jesus is imputed to you. "Imputed" is a banking term the Bible uses which means to be put on your account. At that moment, God no longer sees you as a sinner, He sees you as a saint. One day, when you stand before God, you will not stand before Him as a guilty sinner. You will stand before Him robed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
That is the Gospel! That is salvation! What a glorious exchange! The innocent became guilty, so the guilty could become innocent. Jesus took our sin and when we trust Him alone for salvation, He gives us His righteousness.
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