What comes to mind when you think of the greatest deal of all time? Do you think of the Louisiana Purchase? How about your biggest sales deal? Perhaps it is a sports trade. Or maybe it’s the ultimate scheist you pulled off in grade school. Well, let me give you one that you may want to consider as one of the best. God offers up eternal life to anybody who believes on his Son Jesus Christ. Let that sink in. God offers eternal life to anybody who believes on his Son Jesus Christ. That means God invites everybody to enjoy fellowship with Him. Murderers, thieves, rapists, politicians, criminals and sinners of all kinds, and yes, even church-going people.
Now you have to admit that is a pretty good deal. When was the last time you got something for nothing? Certainly something of this magnitude is noteworthy as there is nothing we could do to earn this gift anyway. What in the world could we have to offer to cover all of our transgressions? We do know that for us to be brought into a right relationship with God the Father, righteousness needs to be involved.
The Bible tells us, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6). Anything we think we have to offer to God is only seen as filthy rags. Can you imagine trying to buy your way into heaven with a pile of greasy, moldy, infected, and smelly rags?
That is the beauty of this great deal. God knew we needed righteousness to approach him, and he knew we didn’t have it within ourselves, so He gave us righteousness through his Son Jesus. But just how did he do that? 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Oh boy! That is the great deal. The Great Exchange. God swapped the righteousness of His sinless Son and placed it upon us so that we might be righteous. As a result, we don’t have to try to atone for our iniquities with the filthiness of our own “righteousness.” We accept the free gift from God and we have absolution from the consequences of our sin.
But don’t miss the big picture. What does that mean for Christ? Oh sure, we get salvation, and eternal life in fellowship with God, but what does Christ get out of the deal? Do you remember when Christ was dying on the cross? He cries out, “My God, My God. Why have you forsaken me?” In some very intense and mysterious way Christ, the second Person of the Trinity was deserted by God the Father. He is quoting the 22 Psalm, so He knew He would have to be deserted by the Father, but why?
The answer is, as the sin of the entire world is placed upon Christ while He is on that cross, while that sin is placed upon the perfect Sacrificial Lamb, as all of the sins past, present and future are laid upon Christ, the Holy Father is compelled to turn away from the total embodiment of sin; God could not look upon sin. God deserted his Son in some mysterious way which we may never come to understand. So, what did Christ have to gain? The answer is, He was doing the will of His Father. The Father had asked His Son to offer up His life so that mankind, fallen mankind, could be restored to fellowship with the Creator. And Christ obeyed.
It is a simple verse, so maybe it is often overlooked. John 3:16-17, ”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Christ was not sent to condemn us to death but to give us life.
God knows we have a debt we cannot pay, so He gives us the currency to reconcile the debt. It isn’t a loan but a free gift. Can you think of one good reason why wouldn’t you accept this gift?
I didn’t think so.