The great exchange
This was one of the points in my sermon this morning. I thought it might be useful to those who could not be at Sovereign Joy.
Matthew 27:35-36 - And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.Then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
One of the greatest humiliations that Christ had to endure was the taking of His clothes by the solders, leaving Him to die naked on the cross, and then gambling for them. This of course was foretold in the Psalms by King David.
Psalm 22:16-18 - For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
The main reason that this is recorded for us is not just for the sake of prophecy fulfilled. Christ's shame and humiliation is for our benefit. John Calvin, in commenting on this passage, said “The evangelist exhibits to us the Son of God stripped of His garments in order to inform us that by this nakedness we have obtained those riches which make us honorable in the presence of God” What does this mean?
Psalm 132:9 - Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let your saints shout for joy.
Isaiah 61:10 - I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
As Jesus bears the shame and reproach that comes with all that is involved in the bearing of God's wrath He takes on our filthy-rag righteousness upon Himself and exchanges it with His own perfect righteousness. This is truly amazing grace. When God looks at us He no longer sees sinners who fail as often as they breathe but rather He sees us acting in Christ's perfect righteousness. We are accepted by the Father now as much as He accepts Jesus Christ Himself. Conciser the words of Paul in Philippians 1:9-11.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
On the last day well be welcomed into God's heaven not because of anything we have done ourselves but rather because of our union with Jesus by faith. You see, Christ's righteousness is ours by faith in Him. In other words; Christ's nakedness results in our being clothed in His perfect holiness. In the Baptist confession of 1689 the writers of that great statement of faith write on this very issue. Listen to the devotional nature of their words.
Nevertheless, since believers as to their persons are accepted by God through Jesus Christ, their works also are accepted as being wrought in Christ. Not as though they were, during this life, beyond reproach and unreproveable in the sight of God, but that, as He looks upon them in His Son, He is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, even though it is accompanied by many weakness and imperfections. 16:6
Christ Himself permitted His garments to be torn from Him like an animal of prey, that He might enrich us with the riches of victory in Him. Our union with Christ upon our regeneration makes all of this possible. We are united to Him in such a way that my goodness is the very righteousness of Jesus Himself while my bad works that must be justly punished are actually placed on Christ. We are clothed in HIM.
2 Corinthians 5:2-5 - For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
So rejoice and sing praises to our God who accepts us in Christ. We love Him because He first loved us. Revelation 19:5-8 “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.” Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
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