We all know that Christmas time is the season for gift exchanges. This can be a costly exercise. But we celebrate another exchange that to place at Christmas, costly to One, but without cost to the other. We speak of course of the exchange that our Lord Jesus made with us.
We are told in Scripture that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). That means that the best works of man in the flesh, however noble and grand and praiseworthy in the sight of man, are still inadequate and without worth in the sight of God. All our righteousnesses are still tainted by the flesh and sin. Now think about it! If even our righteousnesses are as filthy rags what shall we say about our unrighteousness? Truly our condition is a desperate one. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9)?
Yet the believer in Jesus Christ is confident before God. This is where the exchange factor enters. Our Lord Jesus came to earth for the specific purpose that He might make an exchange. It is one of which He is the author and the sole benefactor. We are the beneficiaries. Scripture says that He became sin for us. Jesus to our unrighteousness upon Himself, and gave us His righteousness.
This exchange was costly for Him. But the cost did not deter Him. For this cause He came into the world. He fulfilled the will of the Father. He kept the Law for us. And then He died for us and in our place. We received as it were a “blood-bath” though which all our sins were washed away. The righteousness, which we possess, is a gift of God; it is of grace. To clothe us in righteousness that is acceptable to God for salvation cost us nothing. Never before in the history of the world or in the exercise of giving has there been an exchange like that! We give nothing, but are unburdened! The fruit of Jesus’ exchange becomes ours through faith, itself a gift of the Holy Ghost. Paul wrote to the Romans, ” Abraham believed God, and it (faith) was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3). With the heart one believes unto righteousness, Paul says. So we sing in one of our grand hymns:
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head. (TLH 371)
Blessed are they who believe in Jesus and “know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich yet for your sakes He became poor that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving! Therein lies the believer’s assurance of righteousness and his confidence of salvation.