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The Great Exchange

The Great Exchange

All Scripture is breathed by God and profitable (2 Tim 3:16). (Yes, even the genealogies.) But some verses tower above the rest. For them, a great density of truth is tightly packed into a compact economy of words. This morning’s Morning and Evening stems from such a mountain of a verse.

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

This truth has often been referred to as The Great Exchange: Our sin for Christ’s righteousness, and Christ’s righteousness for our sin. It is the greatest truth of all.

An understanding of this verity does not nullify all other truths we have in Jesus. We are new creations in Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit who continually wrestle with the flesh. We run to win and receive the prize before us. But what a comfort it is… to know that sin is paid for! Jesus did not begin a work for others to come along afterwards, complete it, and find salvation in the process. He finished the job by becoming sin—two thousand years ago—on the cross and conquering the grave through His resurrection.

We all need this reminder from time to time. After candidly sharing his personal struggle with sin in Romans 7, Paul’s conclusion stands as a comfort for every believer. Romans 8:1 declares,

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

May we never forget the full measure of Christ’s atonement; His endless love and obedient sacrifice. For our sake, it pleased the Father to crush Him. He became sin, though He was sinless. As a result, we might become the righteousness of God in Him. That’s good news! No wonder it’s called the Gospel.

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

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

Mourning Christian, why are you weeping? Are you mourning over your own sins and failings? Look to your perfect Lord, and remember, you are complete in Him. You are in God’s sight as perfect as if you had never sinned; more than that, the Lord our Righteousness has clothed you with a royal robe of righteousness, which is wholly undeserved—you have the righteousness of God.

You who are mourning by reason of inbred sin and depravity, remember, none of your sins can condemn you. You have learned to hate sin; but you have also learned how that sin is not yours—it was laid upon Christ’s head. Your standing is not in yourself—it is in Christ. Your acceptance is not in yourself, but in your Lord; you are just as accepted by God today, with all your sinfulness, as you will be when you stand before His throne, free from all corruption.

So I urge you, take hold of this precious thought—perfection in Christ! For you are “complete in Him.”1 With your Savior’s garment on, you are as holy as the Holy One. “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”2

Christian, let your heart rejoice, for you are “accepted in the beloved”3—what do you have to fear? Keep a smile on your face! Live near your Master; live in the suburbs of the Heavenly City; for soon, when your time has come, you will rise up to where Jesus sits and reign at His right hand; and all because the Lord Jesus was made “to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

1Colossians 2:10, KJV 2Romans 8:34 3Ephesians 1:6

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in Devotional

 

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Get It Done

Get It Done

This morning’s Morning and Evening is full of practical advice. It is a great reminder for me… as my hands keep finding semester projects to finalize in the coming weeks.

I also like the line, “One good deed is worth more than a thousand brilliant theories.” I need that reminder. No one has ever been declared righteous for sitting on a rock and ironing out their plans while the world burned. Planning is important, but not at the expense of active obedience.

Here is Alistair Begg’s paraphrase of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…
— Ecclesiastes 9:10

“Whatever your hand finds to do” refers to works that are possible. There are many things that our heart finds to do that we will never do. It is good for it to be in our heart; but if we would be eminently useful, we must not be content with forming schemes in our heart and talking of them; we must practically carry out “whatever your hand finds to do.”

One good deed is worth more than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not wait for large opportunities or for a different kind of work, but just do the things we “find to do” day by day. We have no other time in which to live. The past is gone; the future has not arrived; we will never have any time but now. So do not wait until your experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God.

Endeavor now to bring forth fruit. Serve God now, but be careful about the way in which you perform what you find to do—”do it with your might.” Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do tomorrow as if that could repay today’s laziness. No one ever served God by doing things tomorrow. If we honor Christ and are blessed, it is by the things that we do today.

Whatever you do for Christ, throw your whole soul into it. Do not give Christ a little halfhearted labor, done as a matter of course every now and then; but when you serve Him, do it with heart and soul and strength.

But where is the power of a Christian? It is not in himself, for he is perfect weakness. His power lies in the Lord of Hosts. Let us then seek His help; let us proceed with prayer and faith, and when we have done what our “hand finds to do,” let us wait upon the Lord for His blessing. What we do in this way will be well done and will not fail in its effect.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Devotional

 

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Bring the Books

Al Mohler talks about the time spent in the chair and the importance of study.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in Video

 

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God Is Enough

John Piper is not a fan of the prosperity gospel.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Video

 

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Morning Coffee

Here are the stories I put in my coffee this morning.

  • The Human Dilemma
  • Our righteousness is a myth, but by no means a harmless one. Nothing is more perilous than for an unrighteous person to rest his future hope in an illusion.

  • The Word of God: How Does It Work in My Life?
  • In the words of the Puritan Thomas Watson, “The word is both a glass to show us the spots of our soul, and a laver to wash them away. The word has a transforming virtue in it; it irradiates the mind, and consecrates the heart.”

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Links

 

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Foolish Controversies

Foolish Controversies

This morning’s Morning and Evening provides an excellent reminder.

Contrary to popular elementary school idioms, bad questions do exist. Not all wooden inquiries are profitable or even worth our time. The best question to ask when studying our Bibles does not come from the white spaces between sentences, but from the inspired ink that marks the page. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The Scriptures are totally sufficient to provide absolutely everything we need in Christ. Distraction is an easy temptress. Today’s devotional provides a short list of helpful questions to ask when worthless inquiries invade our senses. Here is Alistair Begg’s paraphrase of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

But avoid foolish controversies…
— Titus 3:9

Our days are few and are far better spent in doing good than in disputing over matters that are, at best, of minor importance. The old scholars did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our churches suffer too often from petty wars over obscure points and unimportant questions. After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser, and therefore the discussion promotes neither knowledge nor love, and it is foolish to sow in so barren a field.

Questions about issues on which Scripture is silent, on mysteries that belong to God alone, on prophecies of doubtful interpretation, and on mere modes of observing human ceremonials are all foolish, and wise men avoid them.

Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether; and if we observe the apostle’s precept (Titus 3:8) to be careful to maintain good works, we will find ourselves occupied with so much profitable business that we will have no time to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings.

There are, however, some questions that are the reverse of foolish, which we must not avoid but fairly and honestly meet, such as these: Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind? Am I walking not after the flesh but after the Spirit? Am I growing in grace? Does my behavior adorn the doctrine of God my Savior? Am I looking for the coming of the Lord and watching as a servant should who expects his master? What more can I do for Jesus?

Such inquiries as these demand our urgent attention; and if we have been given at all to frivolous arguments, let us now turn our critical abilities to a much more profitable service. Let us be peacemakers and endeavor to lead others both by our precept and example to “avoid foolish controversies.”

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in Devotional

 

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Hipper Than Thou

Kevin DeYoung briefly examines the term “Christian.”

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2013 in Video

 

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