1 Corinthians 1:30 (NIV)
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
I very much liked the challenge of football. I enjoyed the contact, the strategy of the game and the physical effort that one had to put out. But I would never be a professional football player. I was far too slow to be a receiver or running back. I was also way too small and too short to be a lineman. Despite the rhetoric in the culture telling young people they could be, “whatever you want to be” I was not going to play professional football.
The reality is that you cannot be something you’re not. If you’re bashful, it’s hard to be outgoing. If you’re outgoing, it’s hard to keep your mouth shut. We’re all created and wired in our own special way. We all have unique gifts and interests. It’s nearly impossible to be something we are not.
And yet that’s exactly what Jesus has done for us. He’s made us something we’re not. He has made us sinners – righteous, perfect, and holy in our heavenly Father’s sight, even though we’re not. We could never have become perfect and sinless by our own efforts. No time and effort could have ever gotten us to the place of perfection. But what was absolutely impossible for us as sinners has been completely and thoroughly done by Jesus, and through faith in him, his perfection is ours. Yes, as Paul writes, Jesus “has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”
Martin Luther, a great theologian, called it the Great Exchange, this trading places that we sinners do with the sinless Son of God. He marveled at this amazing reality. “Lord Jesus,” he once wrote, “you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and given me what is yours. You have become what you were not so that I might become what I was not.”
The way Jesus saves sinners is both simple and profound. He takes on himself what is ours—sin and death—and gives us what is his—perfection and life. We could have never done it ourselves in a million lifetimes, but Jesus has done it for all. He has made us something we’re not.
Dear Jesus, we stand in awe of you, the fact that by your death and resurrection you have made me what I am not – perfect. It is beyond understanding. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.