THERE is a man there who has just this moment believed; he is not condemned. But he has been fifty years in sin, and has plunged into all manner of vice; his sins, which are many, are all forgiven him. He stands in the sight of God now as innocent as though he had never sinned. Such is the power of Jesus’ blood, that “he that believeth is not condemned.” Does this relate to what is to happen at the day of Judgment? I pray you look at God’s Word and you will find it does not say, “He that believeth shall not be condemned,” but he is not; he is not now. And if he is not now, then it follows that he never shall be; for having believed in Christ, that promise still stands, “He that believeth is not condemned.” I believe today I am not condemned; in fifty years’ time that promise will be just the same — “He that believeth is not condemned.”
So that the moment a man puts his trust in Christ, he is freed from all condemnation — past, present, and to come; and from that day he stands in God’s sight as though he were without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. “But he sins,” you say. He does, indeed,, but his sins are not laid to his charge. They were laid to the charge of Christ of old, and God can never charge the offense on two — first on Christ, and then on the sinner. “Ay, but he often falls into sin.” That may be possible; though if the Spirit of God be in him he sinneth not as he was wont to do. He sins by reason of infirmity, not by reason of his love to sin, for now he hateth it.
But mark, you shall put it in your own way if you will, and I will answer, “Yes, but though he sin, yet is he no more guilty in the sight of God, for all his guilt has been taken from him, and put on Christ — positively, literally and actually lifted off from him and put upon Jesus Christ.” Do you see the Jewish host? There is a scapegoat brought out; the high priest confesses the sin of the people over the scapegoat’s head. The sin is all gone from the people, and laid upon the scapegoat. Away goes the scapegoat into the wilderness. Is there any sin left on the people? If there be, then the scapegoat has not carried it away. Because it cannot be here and there too.
It cannot be carried away and left behind too. “No,” say you, “Scripture says the scapegoat carried away the sin; there was none left on the people when the scapegoat had taken away the sin.”
And so, when by faith we put our hand upon the head of Christ, does Christ take away our sin, or does he not? If he does not, then it is of no use our believing in him; but if he doth really take away our sin, then our sin cannot be on him and on us too; if it be on Christ, we are free, clear, accepted, justified, and this is the true doctrine of justification by faith. As soon as a man believeth in Christ Jesus, his sins are gone from him, and gone away forever. They are blotted out now.
What if a man owe a hundred pounds, yet if he has got a receipt for it, he is free; it is blotted out; there is an erasure made in the book, and the debt is gone. Though the man commit sin, yet the debt having been paid before even the debt was incurred, he is no more a debtor to the law of God.
Doth not Scripture say, “That God has cast his people’s sins into the depths of the sea.” Now, if they are in the depths of the sea, they cannot be on his people too. Blessed be his name, in the day when he casts our sins into the depth of the sea, he views us as pure in his sight, and we stand accepted in the beloved. Then he says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” They cannot be removed and be here still.
Then, if thou believest in Christ, thou art no more in the sight of God a sinner; thou art accepted as though thou wert perfect, as though thou hadst kept the law; for Christ has kept it, and his righteousness is thine. You have broken it, but your sin is his, and he has been punished for it. Mistake not yourselves any longer; you are no more what you were; when you believe, you stand in Christ’s stead, even as Christ of old stood in your stead. The transformation is complete, the exchange is positive and eternal.
They who believe in Jesus are as much accepted of God the Father as even his Eternal Son is accepted; and they that believe not, let them do what they will, they shall but go about to work out their own righteousness; but they abide under the law, and still shall they be under the curse. Now, ye that believe in Jesus, walk up and down the earth in the glory of this great truth. You are sinners in yourselves, but you are washed in the blood of Christ.
David says, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” You have seen the snow come down — how clear! how white! What could be whiter?
Why, the Christian is whiter than that. You say, “He is black.” I know he is as black as anyone, as black as hell; but the blood-drop falls on him, and he is as white, “whiter than snow.”
The next time you see the snow-white crystals falling from heaven, look on them and say, “Ah, though I must confess within myself that I am unworthy and unclean, yet, believing in Christ, he hath given me his righteousness so completely, that I am even whiter than the snow as it descends from the treasury of God.”
Oh! for faith to lay hold on this. Oh! for an overpowering faith that shall get the victory over doubts and fears, and make us enjoy the liberty wherewith Christ makes men free. Oh ye that believe in Christ, go to your beds this night, and say, “If I die in my bed I cannot be condemned.”
Should you wake the next morning, go into the world and say, “I am not condemned.” When the devil howls at you, tell him, “Ah! you may accuse, but I am not condemned.” And if sometimes your sins rise — say, “Ay, I know you, but you are all gone forever; I am not condemned.” And when your turn shall come to die shut your eyes in peace. Bold shall you stand in that great day, For who aught to your charge can lay?
Fully absolved, by grace, you shall be found at last, and all sin’s tremendous curse and blame shall be taken away, not because of anything you have done. I pray you do all you can for Christ out of gratitude; but, even when you have done all, do not rest there. Rest still in the substitution and the sacrifice. Be you what Christ was in his Father’s sight, and when conscience awakens, you can tell it that Christ was for you all that you ought to have been, that he has suffered all your penalty; and now neither mercy nor justice can smite you, since justice has clasped hands with mercy in a firm degree to save that man whose faith is in the cross of Christ.