In and of ourselves, we are nothing. In fact, we are worse than nothing… we are like dirty pigs wallowing in our own filth, thinking we’re the richest most enviable creatures on earth. But as any one who’s seen at a pigsty can tell you, pigs are clearly neither rich nor enviable.
We’re not much better. We are like dumb animals, too enamored with our best efforts to notice how poor we really are. In fact, Isaiah says all our best works are no better than filthy rags — like the kind you would use to wipe up pig slop.
Humans are selfish, depraved creatures full of death and sin. We have no hope for redemption in and of ourselves. We are doomed to destruction, to everlasting death, to an eternity devoid of life and happiness.
God, who is rich in mercy…
God, who is rich in mercy, loved us with infinite love despite our enemy state. He had compassion on His rebellious creation and forged a way for reconciliation.
The holy triune God splintered the eternally unbroken communion of Father and Son, who had only ever known perfect unity, to seek fellowship with sinful, stubborn humanity.
We exchanged places, and roles, and consequences. He gave us His righteousness, and took our sinfulness. He gave us life — we gave Him death. He gave us freedom and light — we condemned Him to the darkness of hell. He offered the hope of eternal life to those headed straight toward eternal damnation.
He offered the riches of eternity to those who were wallowing in pig slop!
bares its ugly claws,
snarls with rancid breath-
deformity itself, absence of good-
but in Him I have new life, new clothes:
gone are my deformities, washed away,
freed to find goodness, considered just,
not of my own self but in His perfection-
and so His purity covers my impurity,
beauty eclipses my damaged soul,
virtue annuls my guiltiness-
in Him alone.**
In Christ, we can be cleansed from all our sinfulness and given the power to walk in righteousness. In Him, we can be reconciled to our Creator and have sweet fellowship with the God of the universe. In Him, we can find hope for an eternity of true joy and ultimate peace, as our bodies and souls are fully and finally redeemed and in the presence of the Lord continually.
This is the story of Easter. This is the point of Christianity.
This is the Great Exchange, from everlasting death to life eternal!
Image credit: Logos library
** Forgiven by Elizabeth A. Johnson ©2011