THE WONDERFUL EXCHANGE
by Gary Shepard
When I was a young boy in elementary school, I often came home to face the frown of my mother because I had been “trading” at school. I had been swapping marbles or toys or trinkets with the other boys at school. She often made me take them back and undo the swap. She was not so much afraid that I would not “get” a fair trade as that I would not “give” a fair trade. So many of my trades had to be reversed.
Thank God this is not the case in the exchange of grace! Martin Luther called it the “wonderful exchange.” Writing to a friend he said, “Learn Christ and Him crucified. Learn to pray to Him, and despairing of yourself to say this, ‘Lord Jesus, You are my righteousness, I am Your sin. You have taken upon Yourself what is mine and given me what is Yours. You have made me what I was not. You have taken to Yourself what You were not.’ “
There has been a wonderful exchange. The Son of God has taken our guilt and given to us His righteousness. He has taken our sin and there can be no reversal because He has put it away. He has assumed our place before the law and justice of God and there can be no change because both are honored and satisfied. And here is a glorious thought! What He got from us separated Him from God, brought the disfavor and wrath upon Him to the highest degree.
By the same standard, what we receive from Him brings us inseparably to God, brings His highest favor and blessing to us, raises us to the heavenlies. Our poverty was changed for His riches. Our ignorance was changed for His wisdom. Our curse was changed for His crown, for He was made a curse for us. Why be so sad because of the poor exchanges of this life? We exchange youth for old age, strength and health for weakness and affliction, and much more. But, in Christ, we have a wonderful exchange! The thought of this exchange alone will give us hope.
Let us think upon this as Augustus Toplady did: “From whence this fear and unbelief? Has not the Father put to grief His spotless Son for me? And will the righteous Judge of men Condemn me for that load of sin Which, Lord, was charged on Thee?” Never, never! As children, we would often say after a trade, “No trade back!” This is what both Christ and the believer say concerning this wonderful exchange!