Wednesday: The Great Exchange

Martin Luther

“Christ took upon Himself our sins, not by constraint, but of His own good will, in order to bear the punishment and wrath of God: not for the sake of His own person (which was just and invincible, and was not in any way guilty), but for our person. So by means of a joyous substitution, He took upon Himself our sinful person, and gave to us His innocent and victorious person: with which we, being now clothed, are free from the curse of the law. . . . By faith alone therefore we are made righteous, for faith alone lays hold of this victory of Christ.” (Commentary on Gal. 3:13)  

Yesterday we looked at the guilt and power of sin being broken on the cross.   Today we come to the glorious truth that Christ took away our sin and gave us His righteousness.  In the quote above I think Martin Luther does a great job of simplifying that truth in a way that is easy to understand.  "He took upon Himself our sinful person, and gave to us His innocent and victorious person".   That sentence helps explain "how" Jesus broke the guilt and power of sin.   

So, our faith is in the fact that our sins were taken away from us, and that Christ's righteousness was given to us.  Even as Christians, our lives fall woefully short of God's glory, and the perfection his law requires.  Thanks be to God that His righteous life is given to us!  

Theologians have called this truth "the great exchange", and indeed it is.   The sinless One, our Savior,`took our punishment and our sin. . . . . Doesn't that make you grateful?  How about, astonished, that Christ would complete such a work for you!  Another great hymn comes to mind:  "Dressed in His Righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne".