The Great Exchange

Romans 5: 18-19 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people (Adam and Eve), so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people (the cross of Jesus Christ). For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

I was an economics major so my children will tell you that I see life through a  “cost-benefit analysis” lens.  (Truth be told, they are probably o-v-e-r it.)  For example, last night a friend (and her husband and baby) of my daughter’s used the guest room in our house.  As she thanked me for allowing them to use it, I explained to her that it is of great benefit to my husband and me that she did.  She looked at me funny so I explained.   The cost of owning that room is considerable-  mortgage, gas, electricity, etc.  If it sits empty, then the cost is high and the benefit is low, a horrible exchange.  If someone is actually using the room at virtually no additional cost to us, then the cost/benefit ratio improves tremendously.   Additionally, the savings to a struggling young family as a result of no hotel bill is very great, so that also creates an emotional benefit for us.   And it creates a very tangible benefit to them! It was a gift to us that they stayed here as much as it was a gift to them.   GREAT exchange.

Ok, now that you see how strangely my brain works, let me explain how it relates to this scripture.

God wanted relationship.  He wanted love since He is love. So He created us in His image.  The only way for love to exist is through choice.   Choice means that the wrong one could be made.  Adam and Eve blew it and made the wrong choice.  We became sinful people and the wages of sin are death- the shedding of blood.  The blood in a baby comes from the father.  Adam was now sinful.  So, therefore is our father’s blood and our father’s fathers.  There no longer existed pure, sinless blood. Our very nature became sinful when the first choice against God was made. Every one of His creation was now tainted by sin. So God, being holy and sinless, cannot coexist with sin any more than light can coexist with darkness.  And God was left longing to be with us.  He created provision in the Old Testament to come upon the priests, in the Holy of Holies, after the sacrificing of the most perfect animals (spilling of blood), for a moment.  Yet it was not enough.  He wanted deeper still.  He longed for communion.

What to do, what to do.  Well, the only way to pay the sin debt fully and forever would be through the spilling of perfect blood which could only come from Him.   He impregnated the Virgin Mary, creating the perfect lamb, the perfect sacrifice- the One that could pay for all sins.  Without a virgin birth, we have no savior.  Jesus was born to die.   His blood and His alone can save us because He and He alone was and is God Himself, incarnate.  Without His incarnation, we have no savior. THAT is why Jesus says He’s the only way to the Father.  THAT is why Christians believe in Christ.

And why this scripture?   What is the cost of our salvation?   For Jesus, it was His life, His body being torn to shreds, nailed to a cross, dying a most gruesome death and then bearing the full weight of every sin ever committed on earth and every sin that will ever be committed on earth.  If He were just a prophet, if God called Him to go through what He did and it were not necessary to get to heaven- if there were any other way to the Father- then we serve a cruel and vicious God. (And if Jesus is “just a prophet” as many proclaim, then He he is a prophet who lies- make any sense?  Nope.)   What kind of Father would ask His son to go through such a thing if it were unnecessary? It would be an evil thing to do.  Do we serve an evil God?

We do not.  Our God, while we were yet sinners, died for us.  And we are sinful, petty, self-absorbed, murderous in our own hearts, and deeply loved.   Who can fathom this love?   He’s GOD!  He could wipe us out and start over as He did in the Old Testament, apart from Noah.  But He loves us with a tangible love that is without measure.

What is our cost for accepting His blood to pay for our sins, to believe that He is the Son of God, God incarnate?  It costs us one decision.   And what does that decision gain us?   Oh my, how long do you have?   Eternity in heaven, for starters- to be able to live eternally with God because we are justified.  If that’s not enough, and I cannot imagine it wouldn’t be,  then consider life on this planet-  freedom, peace, transformation, joy, relationship, purpose, direction, knowing that we know that we know that we know, a perspective that sees the world through God’s eyes,  and for goodness sakes, the biggest thing until we die- the purified vessel we become in which the Holy Spirit can dwell!    No longer does God just come upon us from time to time to speak to us, He can live WITHIN us, every minute of every day because we are made whole and pure and clean by accepting Christ’s blood as payment for our sin.

Now how’s THAT for a cost/benefit analysis?  Is there a better bargain to be found in the Universe, ever??    If Walmart were selling 80 inch televisions for $2.49, how many people do you think would line up?   How much bigger a bargain is it to accept Jesus and gain everything?   Wow!   Seriously, God’s economy blows any other economy out of the water.  And yet, people laugh, scoff, refuse to see the greatest gift anyone could ever receive.  They turn their backs and walk away.  Again, wow.  Just wow.

Jesus is who Jesus says He is. Ask Him.  He will be glad to reveal this truth to you in “deeper still” ways.   I don’t care if you have known this for 100 years.  There is room for it to sink in, deeper still.   Let it sink in just one more layer and make just one more transformation of you into the likeness of Christ.  The Gospel never comes back void.   And His love leads to our freedom.

“Everything without God is pathetically inferior to God without everything.” -Sam Storms

Takeaway:   Jesus died for us, to save us from eternal separation from Himself, from the Father.   The great exchange means we give up our lives to Him and He gives us back infinitely more than we could ever imagine.  What an incredible bargain!  The great exchange- our filth and dirty rags, our brokenness and sin,  for God Himself and eternity, beginning in this life, the here and now.   Wow.

Prayer:   Dear Lord, there are no words to express my humbled gratitude for the sacrifice You made just so that You and I can exist together. I receive your spilt blood as full payment for my sins and accept this great exchange. Hallelujah. Thank you, Lord.  Your love is beyond my comprehension and Your grace and mercy leave me speechless.  Please reveal Yourself to me more and more each and every day and reveal Yourself through me, especially to those who have yet to meet You.  Your love is amazing.

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