January 2017 Teaching Letter - The Great Exchange
THE GREAT EXCHANGE
The Cross is the center of all Christianity. All of God's provisions center on the gospel, the cross or finished work of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:14, "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." The sacrifice of Jesus Christ at the cross of Calvary was a divinely ordained exchange by Almighty God. It was a perfect sacrifice. Every need of every person of the seed of Adam has been provided for by that one sacrifice. Isaiah chapter 53 is called the great substitutional chapter of the Bible. It tells of everything that Jesus Christ did in our place, as our substitute. The crucial verse is Isaiah 53:6, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6 is an Old Covenant equivalent of the New Testament verse, Hebrews 10:14. The diagnosis of the human problem is sin. When we say “sin,” we mean rebellion. Apart from Jesus Christ, we have all gone our own way. That is rebellion. That is sin. The remedy is HIM - Jesus and the finished work at the cross, the atonement. The word "iniquity" in verse six of Isaiah 53, is the Hebrew word "avon," meaning sin and the consequences of sin, or all the evil consequences of rebellion. Let's look at other verses of Scripture to give us a better understanding of this word "iniquity."
Genesis 4:13, "And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear." The word for "punishment" is the word "avon," which again means iniquity and the punishment that goes with it. 1 Samuel 28:10, "And Saul swear to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing." Again the word for punishment is the word, avon. Lamentations 4:6, "For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her." The phrase "punishment of the iniquity" is one word in the Hebrew. It is the word avon. So we can see that the word iniquity, “avon” in the Hebrew, means rebellion and the punishment of that rebellion and the consequences of that rebellion. At the cross of Jesus Christ, a divinely appointed exchange took place. All the evil due by justice to us came upon Jesus, so that all the good due to Jesus would come upon us. Now this is a completed finished work. It is not going to come upon us. It has already been freely given to us. Romans 8:32, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" This reconciliation and the taking of the punishment for rebellion have already been paid for the whole world. 2 Corinthians 5:19, "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." 1 John 2:2, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
This is the key that unlocks all the treasures of God. This is all by God's grace, His unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor given to us as a free gift. God gave it. You cannot earn it. You can only believe it by faith. Most religious people never experience Jesus’ provision on the cross, because they are trying to earn it. Our advice to everyone is to stop trying to earn it. Everything is a gift. Salvation, which is all inclusive, wholeness, soundness, safety, welfare, healing, deliverance, protection, provision, justification, sanctification, power, might, ability, authority - is all a gift. It is all freely given to us by what Jesus did at the cross, in the atonement. Why did God do it? Because He loves us. It is a sovereign choice by God Almighty.
1 Corinthians 15:45, 47, "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven." It is said here that Jesus was the last Adam and the second man. On the cross, Jesus was the last Adam. He bore all the sin and iniquity set in motion by the first Adam. When he rose from the dead, he was the second man, the God-man, a new race of man, a race by which God and man are combined into one race of man. Jesus was the firstborn from the dead. Romans 8:29, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." He died as the last Adam. He rose as the second man. Isaiah 1:2, 5-6, is a perfect picture of a people in rebellion, but also, it is a perfect picture of how Jesus was exactly on the cross. "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nursed and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. Why should ye be stricken anymore? Ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment." Now look at Isaiah 52:13-14 in the New International Version: "Just as there were many who were appalled at Him, His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness." On the cross Jesus bore our rebellion and all its evil consequences. There is nothing that we can add to it or take away from it. All we can do is say, “amen” to it and receive it as a free gift. Our response is, “ Thank you, Jesus.”
We will look in the following chapters at the great exchange that has already happened for every single man, woman, and child on the face of this earth, by what Jesus has done at the cross at Calvary.