16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Someone has once said that the Bible is like a body of water that a child can wade in and an elephant can swim in. That is also true of the gospel itself. In one verse Paul delivers to us the simplicity of the gospel message – Jesus “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification,” yet that one verse has such a great depth that we will be considering all the facets of its beauty for all of eternity.
The gospel is really that simple, and even simple to explain. Jesus was delivered for our trespasses – he died on a cross for our sins, as an act of love, to bear the wrath of God for those sins. He was raised for our justification – his resurrection from the dead was the work of God that brought to us our salvation.
How was that salvation applied to us? The same way it was applied to Abraham – “it was counted to him,” it was, as the old King James says, reckoned to him. This means that God declared him, just as he declares us, to be saved because of what Christ has done.
This is simple to understand, this is simple to explain, this is simple to believe, but you will spend the rest of your life thinking about it, pondering it, meditating on it, and believing it.