Imagine arriving at your local luxury car dealership with an old banger fit only for the scrap heap and driving away with a brand-new, top-of-the-range model in the colour of your choice – without paying a single cent!
Wouldn’t that be a great exchange? Somehow I can’t imagine the government approving that kind of scrappage deal!
Well, according to the apostle Paul, an even better scrappage deal was put into place through the work of Christ on the cross. The concept is simple and the implications astounding – yet remarkably, very few seem to be interested in taking God up on the offer.
Essentially, what God says is, “Bring me all your sins – and in exchange, I’ll give you my righteousness.”
The concept is based on the principles of accounting. The idea is that all of our sins are recorded by God in a ledger and every sin we commit puts us deeper into debt with God. Some people have greater debts than others, but unfortunately none of us can pay the debt we owe.
The Great Exchange is made possible by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. St. Paul described it this way: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21a). When Jesus hung on the cross, God laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).
Now, when someone comes by faith to Christ and confesses his sins, not only are his sins transferred to Christ’s account but Christ’s righteousness is transferred to his account. So now when God opens the ledger, He doesn’t see the person’s sins, He sees the righteousness of Christ. This is the second part of the Great Exchange: “That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21b). To go back to our scrappage illustration, we bring God our ruined, messed up lives, and He gives us brand new lives!
But as we said, remarkably few people are willing to make this Great Exchange. They want to hold onto their sins and so can never receive God’s righteousness in exchange. Jesus described the problem this way: “Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19-20).
We want you to know that it is possible for your debt of sins to be wiped out and to have God’s righteousness credited to your account. This is the only way sinners can enter into God’s holy presence. Some of us may have mountains of debt and others just a small debt, but the Bible says that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23); and “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). But Christ’s payment is sufficient for your sin. Will you take God up on His generous offer?