The new you… and the great exchange
“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
In the movie, “Dances with Wolves,” there is a dramatic scene where the lead character (Lt. John Dunbar) confronts one of the members of the befriended Sioux Indian tribe about his lost army hat. The tribe member claims the hat as his own because Lt. Dunbar left it on the prairie – so “he didn’t want it.” Dunbar’s new Indian friend (Wind in his hair) realizes that Lt. Dunbar does want his hat returned, and cuts through the tension of the moment by explaining to his Indian companion that: “If you want to keep it, it’s alright… but give something for it.”
After some deliberation, the tribe member offers Lt. Dunbar his best hunting knife (surely one of his most prized possessions). Dunbar accepts the offer – and the tension dissipates and disappears.
It is Wind in his hair’s words to Dunbar that complete the scene. He offers, in broken English: “Good trade!”
In reality, army hats are not nearly as valuable as prized hunting knives, so Lt. Dunbar gained far more than he lost. In the exchange, he now possessed something of much greater value and worth.
But this poignant scene pales in comparison to the trade offer that we received when Jesus came to die in our place. The Bible says (2 Cor. 5:21) that each of us gave Jesus our sin – and, in return… He gave us the righteousness of God.
In the long history of human trades, this has to go down as the absolute best trade… for us – and the world’s worst trade… for Him.
Jesus got all our sinfulness, our selfishness, our brokenness, our pride, our addictions, our wicked intentions, and our impure and evil thoughts.
We got the purity, holiness, and righteousness of God Himself.
In the great plan of God… what Jesus had, He gave to us willfully, willingly.
What is more amazing, still, is that what we had (all that is awful about us) He took upon Himself… willfully and willingly. Without reservation. Without hesitation.
Jesus went to the cross to take all our sin upon Himself – so much so, that He actually came “to be sin on our behalf.”
But that is not all… He went to that cross to give us all something in return. He went “so that, in Him, we might BECOME the righteousness of God.”
At the very heart of what it means to be truly Christian is the fact that a great exchange has been arranged, provided, and offered to every human soul. And for those who look to Jesus, and make that exchange, there is only one thing left to say:
Prayer focus: God, help me to see the immense value of what Jesus gave for me… and to me!