When my son was in grammar school, like many kids he loved to play baseball. His dream was to grow up and play professional ball on the same team as Ken Griffey Jr. When he wasn’t playing baseball he collected baseball cards. So as you might imagine his goal was to collect every Ken Griffey Jr. card ever made. Although he loved receiving cards of other great players, he would use them to make a trade to get the Griffey cards he desired. If he got a Mark McGwire or a Sammy Sosa, he would trade it for a Griffey. Though the monetary value of the cards may have been similar, an exchange was made in order to receive a card of greater value to him. As adults we do the same thing on a daily basis, we exchange our money for goods or services that are of value to us. We exchange one thing of value for another thing of value.
When God sent Jesus to earth, in a fleshly body, where he was crucified on a cross, then died and rose again, an exchange was also made. But unlike trading a McGwire for a Griffey, this exchange was not a fair or equal trade in any way. For in this exchange mankind received only benefits, giving nothing of value, while Jesus took all the harm. In this great exchange orchestrated by Gods’ extravagant love and grace, Jesus was made our sin and we were made Jesus’ righteousness. In other words, our sin was exchanged for God’s righteousness.
“For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Cor. 5:21
Because Jesus was made sin, and “the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23) Jesus had to then pay the penalty for sin. Thus He was beaten, ridiculed, then nailed to a cross where He died, and descended into hell for 3 days; all to pay for sin that you and I had committed. When He rose from the dead on the third day, He had not only overcome sin on our behalf, but also had overcome death for us. So not only was our sin traded for Jesus’ righteousness, but also our death penalty was traded for His eternal life. The following is just a partial list of what was transferred in this great exchange.
He took our sin. We received His righteousness.
He took our death. We received His life
He took our hell. We received His heaven.
He took our shame. We received His authority.
He took our weakness. We received His power.
He took our sorrow. We received His joy.
Wow! What a deal, what an exchange; you will never make that kind of a trade on Wall Street, or any where else for that matter. Because of His great love for us, Jesus gave up the glory, majesty, and power of heaven and became lowly and poor to make available to us the power, authority, and riches of His kingdom.
“For you know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Cor. 8:9
There is one thing however that God did received from this great exchange, God now has a family. God is holy and just, and therefore cannot have fellowship with sin and darkness; because of man’s sin, our relationship with God was severed. Through the exchange that Jesus made on our behalf, fellowship between God and man has once again been restored. We can now become His children. He no longer has to love us from a distance but can have intimate relationship with us through Jesus Christ. God has done all that is necessary to take sin and death out of the way, making a relationship between He and us both possible and available. The outcome of this relationship is now however dependent upon us; but just like trading a McGwire card for a Griffey card, the exchange cannot take place until both parties agree to it. In order to receive the benefits of this great exchange, we must by faith believe that the blood of Jesus has paid our sin debt and then accept it in trade for His righteousness. There are no unwilling participants in the family of God. You too can participant in this great exchange, the question is, have you?
“But God demonstrated his own love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16