In the beginning, God created the heavens, the earth and mankind. There was no sin, no death, no curse. There was only life and blessing. But one man initiated a terrible exchange that replaced life and blessing for sin and death, and the accompanying consequences spread to all of us. But then there was another exchange. A Great exchange. Initiated by another One Man… also on behalf of all of us.
In the beginning, God created the heavens, the earth and mankind. There was no sin, no death, no curse. There was only life and blessing. In fact, we were created in the very image and likeness of God, and He said to mankind, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion…” Genesis 1:28. This was His plan and purpose from the very beginning. And there was only one rule.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16–17 (NIV84)
The instructions were clear. Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And the consequences were also clear. For when you eat of it you will surely die. In other words, life would be exchanged for death, and the blessing would be exchanged for the curse. What a terrible exchange! Unfortunately, Adam sinned and activated the terrible exchange which has since effected every single person born into this world, including you and me.
1. The Terrible Exchange
“Therefore… sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—” Romans 5:12 (NIV84)
Notice that the Bible clearly states that sin entered the world through one man: Adam. Subsequently, the consequence of sin, which is death, spread to all of us as well. You may be thinking to yourself in jest, “I sure would like to slap Adam when I see him.” …but keep in mind that the Bible says we have all, personally, sinned on our very own. We are all guilty.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 (NIV84)”
“For the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23 (NIV84).
We have all sinned, and therefore we are all guilty. All of us are therefore eligible receivers of the consequence of sin, which is death. Though God never intended for mankind to exchange life for death, and the blessing for the curse, when the exchange was made by Adam, the consequence spread to all of us.
2. The Great Exchange
God gave advance warning. The wages of sin is death. But Adam sinned, and death spread to all of us, for we all have sinned. The price must be paid. But there was yet another exchange. Initiated by another Man.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:13–14 (NIV84)
In other words, another exchange was made. Jesus gave His life to pay the price for sin and death. This new exchange effectively reverses the consequences of the previous exchange. And unlike the previous exchange, this new exchange has benefits (rather than consequences) which has also been passed down to all mankind. We now have been redeemed from the terrible consequences of sin, death and the curse, and we’ve now been redeemed back to the gift of life and blessing. This is good news!
Isaiah 53:1-5 specifically points out the exchange that Jesus made for us, and Psalm 103 also lists out some of the amazing benefits that we are now eligible to receive.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:2-5 NKJV)
What a great exchange initiated by Jesus on our behalf. We have been redeemed from death to life. From the curse to blessing. What a great exchange!
“Just One Man”
The original, terrible exchange was made on behalf of all of us by just one man—Adam—and sin spread to all of us.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned….” Romans 5:12 (NKJV)
Notice the phrase, just as through one man. In other words, the Bible is about to compare this one man to another One Man.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…. even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.” Romans 5:12, 18-19 (NKJV)
Both “one man” had a significant, spiritual impact on “all” of mankind! One brought spiritual and natural death. The other brings spiritual and natural life! In this passage, each “one man” is being contrasted with the other, but notice the good news. Just as one man—Adam—initiated the terrible exchange on behalf of all of us, even so, through another One Man—JESUS—another exchange was initiated on behalf of all of us. Through one man (Adam) death spread to ALL, even so, through another One Man (JESUS) the free gift of life and blessing came to ALL.
Notice how the New Living Translation words it:
“Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:18–19 (NLT)
ONE man’s impact on ALL mankind! Jesus took the consequences of sin and death on behalf of all of us, and in exchange, He gave us righteousness and life. Now that’s a great exchange!
3. The Personal Exchange
In the beginning there was a terrible exchange initiated by one. There was also a great exchange initiated by another One. But there is yet another exchange that must be initiated by every one.
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all [in other words, Jesus initiated the great exchange on our behalf], that those who live [notice our response] should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14–15 (NKJV)
Jesus died for us; in response we should live for Him. That’s the personal exchange.
There is now a personal exchange we must make in order to receive the great exchange that Jesus made. And if we don’t make our own personal exchange, we won’t receive the benefits of the great exchange. We’ll still be under the original terrible exchange of sin and death. It’s a personal choice.
Here is the personal exchange in a nutshell:
- Jesus gave His life for me. I will give my life to Jesus.
- Jesus took all my sin, death and the curse. I will receive His righteousness, life and blessing.
- Jesus died for me. I will live for Him.
And yet there is one more part to the personal exchange: LOVE!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV84). Notice the love is from God to us.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NKJV). Notice the love is from God to us.
“We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (NKJV). Notice the love is from God to us… first! And then we respond to His love by giving Him our love. He is a highly relational God.
God loves you. Bottom line. Whether or not you would ever choose to love Him back, He loves you. And our response is simply to love Him back. Therefore, love is another part of our personal exchange.
- Jesus loves me. I love Him.
Accepting & Receiving The Great Exchange
If you have not made Jesus the Lord of your life—or perhaps you said a prayer some time ago, but for one reason or another you find yourself not fully living for the Lord—now is the time to make the personal exchange. Jesus already initiated The Great Exchange. All you need to do now is personally respond. The Bible says that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. This simply means you need to believe that Jesus is alive and confess with your mouth that He is Lord.
It’s time to exchange sin and death for life and blessing. It’s time to fall in love with the Only True God and His Only Son, Jesus Christ. Pray this prayer aloud and mean it in your heart:
Dear God, thank You for tugging at my heart today. You have been trying to get my attention because you love me. I confess to You that I have sinned and I need forgiveness. I believe in You and Your Son Jesus. I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead and that He is alive today. I confess today that Jesus is Lord. I give my life to Him. I receive the great exchange. I choose this day to live for You. I know I’m not perfect and I may make mistakes, but I know that you love me and will help me become the person you have called me to be. I love you. From this moment forward, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer for the first time or if you made a recommitment to the Lord, this is not the end. This is the beginning. The beginning of a brand new life. Find a good, solid, Bible-teaching church and attend every week. Get involved. Buy a Bible and begin reading it. The Gospel of John is a good place to start. Attend Bible studies. Pray. Make new friends who will encourage you in your new walk with God. And most importantly, continue to grow in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Accept and receive the great exchange!
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