Good Friday: The Great Exchange


Experience the Passion
Cover from the First Edition

An excerpt from the book, Experience the Passion of Christ.

Today is a day of meditation and prayer. I will be reading about the events of the last hours of Christ on the cross, thinking and praying about the messages I will give this afternoon and evening at Ashkum (4 PM) and Watseka (7 PM).

Who is worthy of such things? 

Certainly not me, not anyone.

But Christ is eminently worthy of all the praise and glory and honor that we can bestow on Him. As Jude wrote, He is able …

“… to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Jude 24–25 (NASB95)

In the early second century, perhaps as early as A.D. 130, an anonymous disciple penned these words:

“When our wickedness had reached its height, and it had been clearly shown that its reward—punishment and death—was impending over us …. God Himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities. He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal.

“For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other One was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified than by the only Son of God?

“Oh sweet exchange! Oh unsearchable operation! Oh benefits surpassing all expectation! That the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!”

From the Epistle to Diognetus [1]

There is great beauty in this early Christian’s words. As I read them again, they reach through the centuries and tell my spirit that this is the faith of the believer. You can sense both his passion for Christ and the humility of his own heart as he writes about the great exchange of our wickedness for the righteousness of Christ.

The theological term for that exchange is imputation. Our sins were imputed to Christ. His righteousness was imputed to us. What exactly does that mean? It means that that the blame and responsibility to pay for our sin was laid on Him who had no sin of His own.

It means that we, who had no righteousness to commend ourselves to God were given as a gift of God the righteousness of Christ.[2]

“O sweet exchange” indeed!

[1] Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. (Eds.). (1885). The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus. In The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus (Vol. 1, p. 28). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.

[2] (Cf. Isaiah 59:12, 64:6; Romans 3:10-18, 23, 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Looking forward to speaking about unspeakable things and being wholly inadequate to the task but glorying still in the wonder of the great exchange that Christ accomplished at the cross.

One thought on “Good Friday: The Great Exchange

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