Listen to this most glorious gospel appeal by Hugh Martin:
Oh, most blessed justification, without works, freely by faith, by his grace, in the very righteousness of God! Come, O believer, and enter afresh into all the deep perfection and precision of this exchange. Bring thy sin, else there can be no exchange at all. Bring they sin and poverty, else thou are not profiting by this arrangement at all. Bring thy sin, and obtain freely perfect righteousness. The Lord requires thee not to bring righteousness, but to bring sin. sin thou hast: bring what thou hast. Righteousness thou has not: come and receive what thou hast not. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ exempts thee from having to bring righteousness: exempts thee from being paralysed by the terror of having nothing but sin:exempts thee from the despairing task and toil of finding any ground of peace with God theyself: from drawing up any terms or covenant of peace thyself: from extinguishing or putting away thy sin thyself: from bringing any righteousness theyself. Jesus Christ, the holy One, the righteous, receiveth thee, a sinner! He puts himself in thy place: he puts thee in his: and his is a place of righteousness still, even though he be in thy place of sin: for, in thy place of sin, he puts away sin by the sacrifice of himself; abiding righteousness for thee, and thou the righteousness of God in him! Most profitable, most liberal, most gracious barter or exchange, profitable unto thee a sinner, for thou givest sin and gettest righteousness–the righteousness of God.
It is difficult to take in. That which qualifies me for the offer of Christ is my sin and failure. Some may wonder ‘How do I know the offer of salvation is for me?’ The answer? Your sin, your failure, your shortcomings; these show that the offer is for you, for the offer is that of the great exchange: your sin for Christ’s righteousness.
Another Scottish minister, Samuel Rutherford, looks upon our lackings and failures in a marvelous way when writing to a friend. He says ‘I find that our wants qualify us for Christ – wants are my best riches, for I have these supplied by Christ.’