Sunday, April 21, 2019
This Is Love: The Great Exchange
The Bible says that you and I are in rebellion against God in our own natural state.
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Our trespasses are toxic and none of us can stake any claim to the righteousness based on our own merits. We all fall short of God’s standards.
Because of this, we deserve death according to Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
But the last half of this verse “…But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” describes what I call the Great Exchange – where we can have eternal life as a gift because Jesus died in our place:
Jesus exchanged His life for ours so we could be changed.
Isaiah 53:5, written some 700 years before the Greatest Exchange in history, says this: “But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.”
That means the Savior went through all He went through for us, instead of us, in our place.
You may wonder why we’ve been emphasizing the death of Jesus Christ on Easter. Here’s why. Until we understand why Jesus died and that he died in our place as our substitute, by giving His life in exchange for ours, we won’t understand why Easter is so amazing. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is confirmation that the sacrifice of Jesus’ life satisfies the payment for our sins. Easter is the exclamation point for the Great Exchange!
The core truth of Christianity is this: Jesus exchanged His righteous life for our rotten life by paying for our sins through His substitutionary death and resurrection from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 gives a concise summary of the gospel: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
The resurrection of Jesus is a really big deal. In fact, 1 Corinthians 15:17 says: “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins.”
Check out how Romans 4:25 links both His death and resurrection to our forgiveness and our justification: “Who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
We could say it like this: Our rottenness is reckoned as righteousness because of the perfect righteousness of Jesus who died for us and was raised for us.
1 John 2:1-2 “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Now don’t miss this. None of this is automatically applied to your life. You must believe it and you must also receive it. If we back up one verse to Romans 4:24, we read that, “it will be counted to us who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord.”
READ Matthew 27:15-26
As far as we know, Barabbas was not changed because he didn’t accept the spiritual exchange that Jesus provided. After Jesus ascended to heaven and the first church began, Barabbas is still referred to as a “murderer” in Acts 3:14: “But you denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you.”
Barabbas would not have been called a murderer if he had been converted – it was not the practice of the early church to name a man’s sins after becoming a Christian.
Barabbas is the first person who could literally say that Jesus died in his place. Jesus changed places physically with Barabbas but because Barabbas did not believe and receive Jesus Christ as his personal sin substitute, he was not saved spiritually. He was so close and yet so far away.
Some of you are close as well but until you accept the exchange there will be no change!
This great exchange had to occur because Jesus was the only one who could meet the holy requirements of a holy and just God.
The Bible uses the word propitiation, which means that Jesus’ sacrifice was the only way to appease or satisfy God’s wrath, bringing His favor.
God’s righteous anger needed to be appeased before sin could be forgiven, so God sent Jesus.
Romans 3:24-25 “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”
Jesus was and is the atoning sacrifice that puts away sin and satisfies God’s wrath so that we can come into a right relationship with Him.
Hebrews 2:17 “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
Jesus’ atoning sacrifice is made available to everyone in the whole world, not just to a select group. No one escapes God’s wrath apart from this.
1 John 2:2 “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
All because of God’s love is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us so to be the embodiment of His love to a lost world.
1 John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Once you accept the exchange, you can experience new life according to Romans 6:4: “Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
Jesus died in our place, which frees us from the penalty of sin; and because He rose from the dead, we are freed from the power of sin!
A while back, United Airlines hit a rough patch in the not-so-friendly-skies after a video was released showing a passenger being forcibly removed from his seat. I don’t want to get into all the details, but I do want to just make this point.
If you are a born-again believer, you will never get bumped off your flight to heaven because Jesus paid for your seat here and for your room when you get there!
Jesus exchanged His life for yours so your life can be changed.
So, here’s a question: Have you accepted this exchange so you can be changed?
I like what Ravi Zacharias says: “Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive.”
1 Peter 1:3 says, “According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Incidentally, many churches around the world are not having Easter services this weekend because of open persecutions and terrorist attacks. Barabbas was just like one of those terrorists. When I consider our brothers and sisters not gathering for worship, I’m grateful that we can meet together in safety and freedom. In fact, it’s no accident that you are here today to hear this message. You are here on purpose.
ILL: In the early 1800s George Wilson murdered a government employee in cold blood while stealing from the U.S. Postal Service. Wilson was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. For some reason, the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, granted Wilson a full pardon. Strangely, Wilson refused to accept it. No one knew what to do about this because it had never happened before.
Eventually the case made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Marshall summarized their ruling: “A pardon is a slip of paper, the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson will be hanged.” And hanged, he was.
You make your choices in life and then your choices make you! What about you? You’ve been pardoned because of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ but you must accept the exchange before it can be activated in your life.
If you don’t receive the greatest exchange in history, you’ll be history because you will spend eternity in a hot place called Hell…but you don’t have to go there. There’s a pardon waiting for you…with your name on it.
Every other religion in the world is spelled with two letters: D-O. Christianity is spelled with four letters: D-O-N-E! There’s nothing you need to DO because it’s already been DONE for you.