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Two-Way Transfer -- An Easter Message


Two-Way Transfer -- An Easter Message

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During the Easter weekend, churches across the United States and around the world will be filled with both long-standing members as well as curious guests, drawn by God to His house. Most in attendance will be somewhat familiar or quickly come to terms with the who, what, where, when, and how of the Cross. However, what many people struggle to grasp is the why.

Why did Jesus die for us? Three words come to mind.

First, transfer. Eight hundred years earlier Isaiah saw the passion [crucifixion] and exclaimed, "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4, NIV). After the passion, Peter wrote, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24) and Paul declared, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

A two-way transfer happens on the Cross: our sins are transferred to Him, and His righteousness is transferred to us.

The legal doctrines of imputed negligence and respondeat superior ("let the master answer for the deeds of the servant") help us. When an employee, during the course and scope of his employment, commits an act of negligence that brings injury to another, that employer fights like everything from having the negligence of the employee imputed (placed upon) the employer. However, Jesus never resisted the imputation of our sins to himself. In fact, He did what the law does not allow, for the law does not permit the imputation of intentional wrongs but only acts of negligence. All of our sin -- intentional and negligence (acts of omission ) -- is placed upon Him.

Jesus also does another thing the law can never do. The law does not permit the transfer of one's righteousness to another who is guilty. In a lawsuit, it's possible to impute negligence, but impossible to impute innocence. In Romans 4:3,23-25, the apostle Paul tells us that righteousness is "credited" or imputed to us who believe because Jesus "was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." Jesus stood condemned for us that we might stand acquitted before God.

He takes our sin, and we take His righteousness. What an incalculable exchange!

Second, transformation. In Christ we are a new creation -- "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). He left us an example that we should follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21).

I've heard people who have watched vivid portrayals of the crucifixion of Christ say that they can never be the same again after seeing the reenactment of how Christ suffered for us. His passion affects our behavior, for when we see the beauty and depth of Christ's love for us -- the desire to please Him transforms our behavior!

Third, triumph. Paul says, "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (Colossians 2:15). In view of the very real presence of evil, death, sickness, and destruction -- how is it that we as Christians can say that the Cross represents Christ's triumph?

It's because we understand the Cross was God's D-Day. We're all familiar with World War II D-­Day. June 6, 1944 -- the Allies successfully landed on the beaches of Normandy. Was the war won that day? Yes. Was it over? No. D-Day guaranteed there would be a V-E (Victory in Europe) Day -- 11 months later on May 8, 1945. Did you know there were more casualties between D-Day and V-E Day than any comparable period of the war? Yet, with the benefit of hindsight we say the war was won when the invasion at Normandy was successful.

We now live between the times. The Passion -- God's D-Day. The Great and Awesome Day of Conclusion is coming: "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Romans 16:20).

About the year 1830, a man named George Wilson killed a government employee who caught him in the act of robbing the mail. He was tried and sentenced to be hanged. However, the president, Andrew Jackson, sent him a pardon. But Wilson did a strange thing. He refused to accept the pardon and no one seemed to know why. So the case was carried to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Chief Justice John Marshall, perhaps one of the greatest chief justices who ever lived, wrote the opinion. In it he said, "A pardon is a slip of paper, the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged." And so he was.

God has in Jesus Christ done everything possible to save us. Those who refuse God's pardon regard the Cross as foolishness -- "but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18). Therefore, "may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14).

To God be the glory, great things He has done…for you, for me, and for whosoever will.


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