Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Greatest Gift Exchange

There's an infamous story circulating amongst some of my friend group where at one time I was to take a cookie for free from the Firehouse Subs worker. He insisted I take it without paying. I do believe the cookie must've been old, and he was not wanting me to have to pay for such a poor-quality chocolate chip cookie (though I believe all cookies are good cookies). However, some believe this young lad (oh was he young!) was attempting to flirt with me. Nevertheless, the situation played out where I insisted I must pay for my cookie. I continued to push the dollar to the worker's register only to be beckoned by my friends to just take the cookie. This is clear evidence of my "gift" mentality. I love to give. But it's hard to get -- without giving something in return. In a sense, I want to pay my "gift" debt off!

And this is why I find the gospel to be difficult. I want to pay back the gift that's been given to me. I assume the gift as a wage or a debt.. certainly not a gift. And for far too long I have continuously fought this idea of salvation as a gift. I'm sure I'll continue to wrestle it because I'm not perfect. But for now, I want to stick to this 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

You see what Jesus did there. He took on my sin and gave me His righteousness. The debt for my sin has been paid, and He has gifted me with His righteousness aka "nothing left for me to do". Theologians call this "The Great Exchange." God has gifted me with reconciliation to Himself because of His love for me - not because of anything I or you have done. Y'all. I've read this verse numerous times, but I'm so grateful for how God sheds new light. I find it so hard to graciously accept gifts. But this is a gift that I want to hold onto and cling to for everything it's worth. His gift of righteousness and thus reconciliation to Himself is the greatest gift I will ever receive. I don't have to work for anything or earn anything or be a certain somebody. It is given to me. The pivotal purpose of this verse is to show us that we don't have to walk in that old way of thinking and sin, but He has come to give us life in Himself. Wow y'all! The righteousness of Christ changes us. Though the Lord saved me years ago, I am a large project in the Lord's hands and am thankful He continuously teaches and refines me - especially with this verse. 

This Christmas I want to be enamored by the grace of our God in reconciling us to Himself. This is why we sing "Joy to the World" - Joy comes because we have been reconciled to God. Joy comes because He has made all things new. Joy comes because we are not living in an Old Testament world but are living on this side of a promise for the eternal rule and reign of Christ. Joy comes because the Lord has come. Let us receive our King. Let us worship Him. Let us rejoice in our gift!

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