“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9
How many times have you purchased something only to have to take it back to the store and exchange it for a different size, color, or something else entirely? Once you have made the exchange, the item is perfect for you to use or wear.
In addition to shopping exchanges, there are many exchanges we make in our lives: forgiveness for anger, broccoli for potato chips, keeping our mouths closed for saying what we are thinking, exercising for sitting on the sofa watching TV – the list goes on and on.
Not surprisingly, the Bible has many examples of exchanges. For me, there are two of great importance with eternal consequences.
First, Jesus exchanged the glories of heaven for life on earth. He left His Father and became a human. Why would the Creator of the universe do this? We read in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” and in Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death.” God knew there was no way any of us could do anything, buy anything or be anything that would be an acceptable exchange for a relationship with Him and which would result in eternal life. So in His infinite wisdom, “He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Not only did Jesus exchange the glories of heaven for life on earth, He also exchanged His life for death on the cross to pay for our sins. Jesus made this exchange knowing fully what it was going to cost Him. He said, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) Think what this exchange cost God – His Son for our sin!
The second exchange is the one that you and I can make – exchanging our unrighteousness for His righteousness. Acts 4:12 tells us, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.” And the good news is that this exchange is free. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) When we make this exchange, we are a “new creation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) We have a personal relationship with God and will spend eternity with Him.
As we go through the days of Advent and prepare to celebrate Christmas, may we remember the greatest exchange of all and may that cause us to fall on our knees in thanksgiving and worship.