I was recently remembering the powerful words of Chris Tomlin’s song At The Cross (Love Ran Red). I wish I could share the lyrics, but that would be copyright infringement so I will link the song instead.
But in case you missed it, I wanted to point out what is called “the great exchange” that was accomplished through Christ. Like a marriage between two people, when we become Christians we should begin a life in which we are united to Christ. Some people miss this and think that all salvation means is a ticket into heaven when they die. But really, our eternal salvation begins at the moment that we renounce our sins and accept the work of Christ as our atonement, then forsaking our selfish desires and old patterns of life, seek instead to live under Jesus’ Lordship.
In the great exchange then, as with a legal marriage, everything between the two people becomes common property. We don’t live this way much today either in our real marriages or in our Christianity, but here is what has actually been made available. Jesus took all our sin, our suffering, our shame on himself. And then he was punished for it by death on the cross. The punishment that was ours, not his, cost him his life. Our sin, death and punishment became his so that his righteousness, his purity, his freedom could become ours.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53: 5 (NIV)
“‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’” 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)
Or as John Bunyan explains it in his parable Pilgrim’s Progress:
“At the top of the hill stood a cross, and a little below at the bottom was a stone tomb. In my dream, just as Christian came up to the cross his burden loosened from his shoulders and fell off his back. It tumbled and continued to do so down the hill until it came to the mouth of the tomb where it fell inside and was seen no more.”
I’ve been realizing recently how poorly I’ve received this gift! I still carry around lots of guilt and shame! It’s been interesting that as the devil tries to take me back again and again to past regrets, things I’ve done that completely mortify me, God has been reminding me of the great exchange. Satan rolls the video of my life before my eyes, and “No Shame” by Tenth Avenue North plays as the soundtrack. I hope this song will minister freedom to you as well.
I just can’t get away from this theme. It’s everywhere I’ve looked lately. In a teaching video by Mike Reeves, he shared this quote by Richard Sibbes, a 17th century theologian:
Often think with thyself, What am I? A poor sinful creature; but I have a righteousness in Christ that answers all. I am weak in myself, but Christ is strong, and I am strong in him. I am foolish in myself, but I am wise in him. What I want in myself I have in him. He is mine, and his righteousness is mine, which is the righteousness of God-man. Being clothed with this, I stand safe against conscience, hell, wrath, and whatsoever. Though I have daily experience of my sins, yet there is more righteousness in Christ, who is mine, and who is the chief of ten thousand, than there is sin in me.
What beautiful love and grace toward us is demonstrated at the cross!
Father, it’s like there is no good way to end this post because there is no end to Your great love for us! How can we ever stop celebrating our marriage to You? You are life itself! In You we have freedom and our soul’s perfect health! Lord, I pray that I could remember this constantly. Thank You that I am Yours and You are mine! Amen.
If you have thoughts and comments, we’d love to hear from you below!