Divine Exchange

Volume Twenty Seven   —   View Song   —     —   Get the Free Devo App

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For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

A divine exchange lies at the heart of the Christian faith. God’s people contributed their sin, their failures, their deserved judgment and exchanged them for forgiveness, for joy, for eternal life. Have you marveled at this recently?


Scripture depicts the church as a woman who formerly had nothing but sin and shame (Ezekiel 16; Hosea 1). Yet somehow, the righteous King of heaven decided to pursue her for marriage. She was poor, naked, and diseased with iniquity, beyond hope of recovery. He sat on the throne of heaven, worshiped by a world of angels. She even committed sedition against this King — despite all his unceasing kindness and benefits. The last thing she expected — indeed the last thing she looked for — was the love and forgiveness that this King would ensure she acquired.


He would not be denied his Bride. He came to the ancient ruins of Eden, taking on a human body to visit the fallen realms of his earthly kingdom. Although he created the world, the world did not know the Son. And in an underwhelming plot twist, he went even to Israel, his own people, and they did not know him. He taught among them as no one ever had. He healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead. He hinted at his identity: their God in human flesh. Yet they rejected him, refused to follow him, and in the end, crucified him. He gave himself unto death, to bring his Bride life. He stood under that wrath we deserved. He became sin — our sin — that we might be set free.


Single Exchange?


Yet I can forget that this was a two-way exchange. We often stress what Jesus took on our behalf: wrath, punishment, death, sin, abandonment by the Father. We gratefully sing,


On the cross hung my pain,

And the guilt and the shame;

Jesus bore my suffering

To the grave to make me free.


What is less clear, often, is what we get in return. C.R. Wiley observes,


Most Christians are familiar with salvation as accounting, but they think in terms of single-imputation. They believe that our sins have been imputed to Christ and that’s why he died on the cross, so that he could pay for them. But that’s where it stops for them. They think that Christ’s death has left them with a zero balance. (Man of the House, 111)


But notice again the verse: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are not merely forgiven. We are not merely set free. We are given righteousness to the point that we become the righteousness of God. We are given a kingdom. We have rightful access to the Father as blood-bought, holy children. Our accounts burst with eternal riches because we are united to the One who owns all things.


Lay Down Lesser Things


Christians are the richest people the world has ever known. They have rights to everything. All things are ours in Christ. Therefore, we can joyfully sing,


I lay down all lesser things for greater gain;

He is alive inside of me.

I lay down all lesser things for greater gain;

He is alive inside of me.

Even what we lose for Christ in this world adds to our riches:


Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. (Mark 10:29–30)


At the heart of Christianity is a great exchange. Christ, our great Groom, became our sin and bore our wrath. And in exchange, we get his perfect life and all that justly comes with it. We are rich beyond measure, and have God himself as our treasure.