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The Great Exchange

The Great Exchange

In my last post, I talked about the fact that we’re saved from God’s wrath by the blood of Christ. That’s an incredible blessing, but God’s work doesn’t stop there.

I want to review the passage of Scripture that I ended with last time.

For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:10-11

It’s unfortunate that some people make it sound like it’s harder to stay saved than to get saved. It’s as if they think that we’re saved by faith in Christ, but we stay saved by our good works, trying our best to be perfect.

This passage of Scripture uses a word three times to convey an important point to us. That’s the word, reconciled. Paul repeats this word three times, so it must be important. Let me explain to you just what it means.

This word literally means to change mutually. It comes from a Greek root word that means to exchange. It’s actually used in the Gospels to describe the “money-changers”, who Jesus turned the tables on.

That tells me that in Christ we’ve received an exchange. Understanding this, I need to take that knowledge over into the spiritual. Let me describe it to you.

I’ve had the privilege of going to another country on missions trips. I brought with me United States dollars which had value to me. I’m used to them, I know how they work.

The problem is that these US dollars don’t work in the new country that I find myself in. I have to exchange what I have for the money of this place.

That’s what God does for us in the spirit. I’m used to being in the world. But what works in the world, doesn’t work in God’s kingdom. I have to exchange what I have for what God has.

I was out of favor with God, now I have His favor through Christ and His death. In the world, I get ahead by accumulating money, power, influence, and connections. In God’s kingdom, it’s all about faith working through love. I was used to the old currency, now I have to learn the new way of doing things.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…

2 Corinthians 5:17-18

What a great verse! The word, ministry, actually means service. Now that we’ve received His life, Christ has given us the service of this exchange. It’s now our job to show others how they can exchange their meaningless striving for the favor of God.

That’s what life in Christ is all about. We’ve exchanged death for life, random chance for God’s will, and an unknown future for a destiny with Christ.

I can’t imagine a better way to live.

Question: What are some things that you’ve experienced in this great exchange?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Missions, Spiritual Walk

 

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A Righteous Exchange

In my last post, I talked about how Christ reconciled us to God.  I explained that the Greek word deals with the concept of exchange.

We know that when God removes something, He always replaces it with something else. Jesus Christ bore my sin to the cross.  What’s the opposite of sin?

It’s clear from Scripture that the opposite of sin is righteousness. You can read all of Romans, chapters 5-6, and see how God replaced sin with His righteousness.

The fact is that I can’t be righteous on my own – it had to be a work of God’s power.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

This verse is the essence of our salvation.  He took my sin and now gives me His righteousness.  It’s beyond anything we could have hoped for as human beings.

What is our salvation all about?  There are many believers who don’t really understand what happened to them when they bowed their knees to Christ.

To some, it simply means that they decided to be good. To others, it means that they’re going to try and follow the teachings of Jesus. That is NOT Christianity.

It all starts with an understanding of our condition without Christ.

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
Romans 3:23

Our problem is sin. You probably already know that the word sin, in both the Greek and Hebrew, means to miss the mark. That means that we’re all deficient, inferior to, God’s glory. Even though we were created in the image of God, in Adam we’ve fallen from that high position.

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you were born, or how good you are. In Adam, the whole human race is guilty of sin – missing the mark. But as bad as that is, it gets worse.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned…
Romans 5:12

It turns out that sin brought a friend with him – death – separation from God. Who is under the penalty of death? EVERYONE! Death is the penalty for not living up to the glory of God.

You can look at it this way; every human being ever born was born onto the path that leads to death. There’s no reversing it, no exits, and it leads straight to hell. But, praise God, that’s not the end of the story.

Christ came to the earth as a man, God made flesh. He took on humanity but lived a life totally without sin.

Because it was He who created us, only He had the power to take our place. That’s the concept of substitution. He took our place on the cross in the penalty for our sin.

Now we come along, thousands of years later, on this path that leads to death. We can’t leave it or even turn around. We hear the Gospel of Christ. We decide to accept what Christ did for us by faith.

That’s when everything changed. The Lord freely gives us His righteousness.  It’s the basis for a new life in Christ.

Question: What were the events that led to your salvation?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2020 in Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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The Word of Reconciliation

In my last post, I talked about the way we’re changed in Christ.  It’s not by willpower or trial and error, but the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us.

Now Paul talks about the nature of that change and our response to it.

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

This passage is the basis for everything we do in Christ.  It’s all about reconciliation.  But that’s a big word.  What does it mean, exactly?

We’re told that God reconciled us to Himself in Christ.  That Greek word is actually used for money-changers. It’s like when you travel abroad; you turn in your US dollars and exchange them for the equivalent amount of Euros.

In the context of this passage, it means to change mutually. Because of what Jesus did, a change occurred in the relationship between God and the world.

Christ took the sin of the entire world – past, present, and future – and bore it to the cross.  The fact that He rose from the dead proves that God accepted His sacrifice.  Now the way is opened up for all of us to enter a new relationship with God through Christ.

We have to see that the change was mutual.  Because Christ took away our sin, the anger of God subsided.  That allows us to approach God for forgiveness and restoration.

It doesn’t end there.  Once we experience this great gift, we enter into the service of reconciliation.

There are a lot of things that take place when we bow our knee to Jesus Christ.  One of them is referred to in this passage.  It literally says that the Lord has laid down inside of us the Word of reconciliation.

What does that mean to us?

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20

This part of the equation is just as important as the first part.  There are some who teach that because God reconciled Himself to the world, everyone is saved no matter what they do.  But that’s not the case.

Reconciliation is a mutual change.  God has already prepared His forgiveness for all who want it.  The problem is that forgiveness requires action from both parties.

Forgiveness must be both given and received for it to take effect.  I have to come before God and agree to His terms of reconciliation.

The difficulty is that I have to admit that I was at fault and there’s nothing I can do to rectify my condition.  I then have to accept the fact that only the work of Christ can reconcile me to God.  There are many who can’t live with that.

But for those of us who’ve experienced the grace, love, and forgiveness of God, there’s nothing better.  Praise God for His incredible gift!

Question: How has this reconciliation changed your life?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2020 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk, The Church, The Gospel

 

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