Paul looks ahead to eternity, longing to be with the Lord, but recognizing that, even while in this body, Christ is with us. He looks forward, not with fear but with eagerness because “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (5:17). As new creatures, we have been made alive in Christ, and in him we have been reconciled to God. How? Paul explains at the end of the chapter: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (5:21).
Here is our justification! Christ has taken our sin and paid our penalty and he has given to us his righteousness. What is ours (sin) has become his, and what is his (complete righteousness) has become ours! We stand before the Father clothed in his righteousness, washed in his blood, with no charge able to be made against us! Would it be appropriate for me, here, to write, “Whoopee!!!” Maybe more appropriate: “Hallelujah!!!”
Alas! and did my Savior bleed,
and did my Sovereign die!
Would he devote that sacred head
for sinners such as I?
Was it for crimes that I have done,
he groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree! --Isaac Watts (1707)