By Jane Fryar
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV).
Every day, Jana’s mom packed a healthy lunch for Jana. Turkey sandwiches on homemade, whole wheat bread. Carrot sticks. Fruit. Milk.
Every day, Jana exchanged her fruit for Michael’s cupcakes. Every day, Jana exchanged her sandwich for Jorge’s microwave mac and cheese. Every day, Jana exchanged her milk for a can of R.J.’s pink lemonade.
Jana thought all these exchanges were great exchanges. Jana’s mother would not have been so thrilled, had she ever learned what Jana was up to.
The words of 2 Corinthians 5:21 describe what some have called the Great Exchange. This passage describes what may be the wonder of all wonders. It can be hard for us to grasp the truth expressed here. The verse reads like a lot like a riddle. Some background can help untangle it:
Jesus was no friend of sin. He was not even a distant acquaintance. He didn’t know what it was to sin. He “knew no sin.” He was holy, obedient, and right with God in every way.
You and I are on a first-name basis with sin. We know all about it. We are well acquainted with disobedience. Our friendship with rebellion goes way back.
In mercy, God the Father has subtracted all the sin—every single bit of it—from our account. He has replaced it with Jesus’ very own righteousness.
Our sin did not just evaporate. God added our sin to Jesus’ account. Jesus was punished for it on Calvary’s cross.
With that as background, reread 2 Corinthians 5:21. It describes the Great Exchange. The greatest exchange ever! This is the Gospel message. This is the Good News that sets our hearts ablaze with joy and floods our lives with thanksgiving.
Not for his own benefit but for ours . . .
In deepest love for us . . .
God made Jesus—the One who never sinned . . .
Become sin itself.
Jesus became fully, totally, completely sinful . . .
So that now, in Jesus, we are fully holy, righteous, blameless before God!
This truth makes our re-creation possible:
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).
Will lunch today be carrot sticks or mac and cheese? Either way, as you eat, think about the Great Exchange our Lord Jesus has made possible.
Prayer starter: It’s almost too good to be true, Lord! You took my sin and I received your righteousness. How can I thank you . . .
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion comes from one of CTA’s brand-new women’s ministry themes, Woman of God®: Wonderfully Made. This theme offers dozens of gifts and resources for Mother’s Day!
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