The Great Exchange
Published on 22 September 2020
When we reflect on gifts that have been given to us by a friend, father, mother, sister, brother or spouse, we feel loved, valued and seen. Knowing that someone who loves us and knows us, decided to give us something that we would treasure and blessed by, touches us all. While these gifts are precious to us and a reflection of people’s love for us, do we recognise the ultimate gift that has been given to us by God for all eternity? Do we understand how incredible this gift actually is?
The gift I speak of is the one that was given to us by our Heavenly Father, despite our sin and brokenness—the One who was sent 2000 years ago to save us, redeem us and to set us free!
The gift of JESUS!
Jesus Christ is this ultimate gift that our Heavenly Father gave to all humanity, despite the fact that we did not deserve such a gift. He was the gift that came to reunite us with our Father in Heaven so that we could live in His forgiveness and grace. He was the precious and ONLY Son of God and the most expensive and valuable gift that the Father could give, yet He gave it joyfully and willingly so that we could return to Him and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him for all eternity.
Jesus came to give us a new life, new identity and new heart. Through His life and brutal death on the cross in our place, He prepared the way for another incredible, undeserved gift —salvation and eternal life! It could be said that THE gift gave A gift that could never be earned or deserved. It was freely given to all men along with the power to decide whether or not we would receive it.
The Bible tells us in Genesis 3, that death and sin entered the world through one man—Adam—when he chose to disobey God. Adam loved God but in a moment of weakness, he believed the devil’s lies and chose to decide for himself what was right, instead of trusting his Father. As a result, every person born there after, was born into sin and separated from their Heavenly Father indefinitely. The Father was grief- stricken and set in motion a spectacular plan for redemption. He wanted back, what had been stolen from Him and He was prepared to pay the ultimate price for it!
With the tragic entrance of sin into this untainted environment of perfect love, suffering, sickness, poverty, fear and every other kind of demonic torment was also released into the world. They continue to play havoc in our lives today. It was not God who opened the door or welcomed these things into our lives, but man, yet for centuries, suffering the ill effects of their own sin, man has blamed God for the evil that was unleashed from Hell that fateful day. God is LOVE and true love never seeks to inflict suffering on the objects of its affection—no matter what crime that has been committed. This was the work of the enemy who seeks every opportunity to wound God by attacking the apple of His eye—His children.
The gifts of SALVATION and ETERNAL LIFE!
The Apostle Paul describes the disease of sin and the powerful antidote that was purchased by Jesus with His precious blood:
But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.
Romans 5:15-18 (NLT)
Jesus humbled Himself and came in the form of a man so He could experience life just as we experience it. He desired to understand our suffering and our joys first-hand. Just like us, He was confronted with temptations yet did not sin. He remained faithful and obedient to His Father in Heaven, all the way to the cross. He became the perfect sacrificial lamb that was slaughtered to appease God and the devil for the sins of every man, and rose again to return to His Father’s side. He became the ONLY way back to relationship with the Father by paying the ultimate price for our sin—death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6 (NIV)
When we acknowledge that He is God and receive Him as our Lord and Saviour, HIS righteousness covers our sin and we are found clean before the Father and no longer separated from Him. This incredible gift that Jesus gave us is so much more than forgiveness. He made a way for a restored relationship with our Heavenly Father. We can live each day in His Presence, accessing the warmth of His love, the guidance of His Holy Spirit and the light of His Word.
The depth of God’s love for us cannot be measured. There is no sin too great that He will not forgive it when we accept His Son as our Lord and Saviour. We were given a brand new beginning...a clean slate. God chose to ‘remember our sins no more’. Forgetting our mistakes is His choice. How incredible!
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
Hebrews 8:12 (NIV)
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)
This is grace —unmerited mercy and favour. And how amazing is it?
The gift of JUSTIFICATION!
Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
Romans 5:18 (NKJV)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 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. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:23-26 (ESV)
Biblical justification involves declaring someone righteous or ‘right with God’. Justification is God declaring that everyone who receives His Son is made legally righteous in His eyes based on Christ’s righteousness being imputed (assigned) to their account.
We are justified and declared righteous, at the moment of our salvation. Justification does not make us righteous, but rather declares us righteous. Our righteousness comes from having faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice covered all of our sin.
By dying in our place, perfect and without sin, Jesus fulfilled the every legal requirement required to acquit us of OUR sin. This is an incredibly powerful truth! Now, when God looks at a person who has received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, He sees the perfect, unblemished record of His Son and not their sins and weaknesses. This more than satisfies His holy standard of sinless perfection!
Justification isn’t something that we can work at. There is nothing we can do to earn eternal life. We were destined for separation from God forever, until Jesus stepped in. Justification is a free gift received by faith in Him. Once again, whether or not we choose to receive this gift, is up to each one of us.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)
The gift of VICTORY!
As if it weren’t enough to be given the incredible gifts of Jesus, salvation, eternal life and justification, there is one more gift (amongst many others) that has been prepared for us to open—should we choose to:
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)
Not only are we able to live forgiven and in right relationship with God, Jesus has given us VICTORY over the enemy’s work in our lives while we await eternity in Heaven! We have been empowered with delegated authority to overcome the works of darkness. That is VERY GOOD NEWS!
We are no longer enslaved to our old, sinful nature—unable to break free from sinful behaviours that displease God. We have been sent a Helper who is ready and available to strengthen and empower us to live a life that glorifies God and not the enemy.
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever.
John 14:16 (AMP)
Holy Spirit empowers us to live out our new identity in Christ. We don’t have to be perfect or afraid of our weaknesses. In fact, the Bible says that in our weakness, we are at our strongest—when fully dependent on God’s grace:
But He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9a (AMP)
Our story of salvation begins and ends with Jesus—the ultimate gift that keeps on giving! Because we were created by a Father who loves and adores us, and who spared no expense to restore us back into relationship with Him when we did not deserve it, we can live life free, loved, empowered and destined for greatness.
How beautiful is that?
The Creator of the universe wants to be intimately involved in our lives. The depth of His immeasurable love was expressed in the costly gift of His Son Jesus who willingly responded to our cries of distress and came bearing gifts of His own. We are far more than ‘pardoned sinners’. We have been swept back into God’s family and into His loving arms as ‘heirs and co heirs with Christ’.
And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory.
Romans 8:17 (AMP)
These incredible gifts that we have been given must compel us to give God ALL of our heart, mind, body and strength in return, and to live a life “worthy of the gospel”.
Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Philippians 1:27a (NKJV)
Have you unwrapped the greatest gift you have ever been given?
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