During last Sunday's service I shared with our congregation what Martin Luther called, "The Joyous Exchange." This is what the apostle Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 5:21 - God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might receive the righteousness of God.
Imagine yourself bundled up in a jacket that you've owned for years. The lining has come out, the fabric is worn out and it looks like it was run over by a herd of buffaloes. A stranger walks up to you, wearing a brand new coat and says, "Hey, let's make a trade. I'll take your coat and you can have mine. My coat is perfect, flawless. You'll look like a million dollars wearing this coat. Come on, what do you say? Let's trade!"
A far fetched scenario? I suppose. But that's how rich the grace of God is for people like you and me, clothed in the unrighteousness of our sin. God the Father sent the Son to make that very exchange. That exchange was the solution to our sin problem. Now, all those clothed in the perfect, flawless righteousness of Jesus can stand before God, confident that there is a place for us in paradise. All because of the Joyous Exchange.
Johann Gerhard, in Sacred Meditations, picks up this theme so well: Wonderful, indeed, is the exchange You make; our sins You take upon Yourself, and Your righteousness You impute to us; the death due us for our transgressions You Yourself suffer, and in turn You bestow eternal life upon us. Therefore, I can no longer doubt Your grace or despair on account of my sins.