The Exchange of the Gospel
By Erin Bird
Ever heard of the game “Bigger and Better?” Typically, the game involves sending a group of people out door-to-door to attempt to trade something small for something bigger and better. In our first year of marriage, LeAnn and I had a group of kids from our church’s youth group stop by our condo, and we ended up giving them our broken down turn-table stereo system (I forget the “small” thing we got in exchange).
Several years ago, I heard a TED Talk from a guy who played “Bigger and Better,” but rather than play it by going door to door, he basically played the game through the Internet utilizing Craigslist, Reddit, and the media. His experience with the game started with a red paper clip but eventually turned into a house.
In that TED Talk, there comes a moment where Kyle (the speaker) shares about one trade that seems like an ludicrously bad trade. He traded away concert tickets and a day with a rock star for a snow globe.
Yes, a snow globe.
(Just a heads up: if you go watch that TED Talk, there is some mild language.)
Now, I won’t go into all the details, but I will point out that the snow globe ended up being the very thing that made way for him to get the house. It wasn’t a direct trade, but without the snow globe, Kyle doesn’t get the house.
The Great-yet-Bad Exchange
Kyle’s “Bigger & Better” game illustrates an important facet found within the gospel. Second Corinthians 5:21 says,
“For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (ESV)
Take a moment to think about that verse. God the Father placed all of our sin upon Jesus, the only man to have ever lived without sin, so that the wrath of God could come against sin (rather than come upon us, the sin-doers.) And yet, while Jesus took our sin, He gave us His righteousness.
Talk about a bad trade for Jesus! He gives us His right standing before the Father while taking upon Himself the sin that kept us from God.
This is the Great Exchange. Our sin for His righteousness. That’s a far worse trade than a snow globe for concert tickets and back-stage passes.
And yet, Jesus gladly made the trade. His love for you so overwhelmed Him, He was willing to take your sin upon Himself so that sin could be defeated through the cross. And by doing so, He could then give you His righteousness so that you could come back into a relationship with the Most High And Holy God.
And what did Jesus get out of the whole deal? He got you! It broke the heart of God to have you stolen away by sin, so Jesus was willing to pay the ultimate cost to have you back.
I will admit I have days where this powerful truth barely phases me. I’ve been following Jesus since I was 4-years-old and unfortunately have allowed this facet to become somewhat commonplace in my thinking.
If you are like me, may this truth shake us out of our spiritual slumber. May we stop and be overwhelmed by God’s love for us. May we marvel at the willingness of Jesus to become sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. And may we be humbled by this Great Exchange.