The Great Exchange
Pastor Don Carpenter
Amazing Grace / 2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53
One evening a woman was driving home when she noticed a huge truck behind her that was driving uncomfortably close. She stepped on the gas to gain some distance from the truck, but when she sped up the truck did too. The faster she drove, the faster drove the truck.
Now scared, she exited the freeway. But the truck stayed with her. The woman then turned up a main street, hoping to lose her pursuer in traffic. But the truck ran a red light and continued the chase.
Reaching the point of panic, the woman whipped her car into a service station and bolted out of her auto screaming for help. The truck driver sprang from his truck and ran toward her car. Yanking the back door open, the driver pulled out a man hidden in the backseat.
The woman was running from the wrong person. From his high vantage point, the truck driver had spotted a would-be rapist in the woman’s car. The chase was not his effort to harm her but to save her even at the cost of his own safety.
Likewise, many people run from God’s provision of atonement on the cross, fearing what He might do to them. But His plans are for good not evil–to rescue us from the hidden sins that endanger our lives. (James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 37.)
God’s Amazing Grace not only rescues the sinner from condemnation, but from slavery to that sin. God’s unmerited favor not only wipes the ledger clean, and fills it with His righteousness, but He also takes a useless vessel and fashions it into a trophy of His Grace!
1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV)
But by the grace of God I am what I am…
The Apostle Paul writes this anthem of praise! It is God’s Grace that not only saves, but also keeps us. It is God’s Amazing Grace that continues to work in us to fashion us to be made in the image of Christ.
Romans 8:29 KJV
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.
So how exactly does this happen? How does God show His unmerited favor toward us and fashion us into a trophy of Grace? What did Paul mean by his statement? Let us unpack this statement bit by bit.
1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV)
But by the grace of God I am what I am…
I Am Not What I Was
Dead in sin
Ephesians 2:1–2 KJV
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Condemned in sin
John 3:18 KJV
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Known by sin
1 Corinthians 6:9–10 KJV
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
A Child of Sin
John 8:44 KJV
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Jesus BECAME what I was!
2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Galatians 3:13 KJV
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Known as a transgressor (Sinner)
Isaiah 53:12 KJV
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, And he shall divide the spoil with the strong; Because he hath poured out his soul unto death: And he was numbered with the transgressors; And he bare the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
Jesus is Making Me Like He Is!
Philippians 1:6 KJV
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
ALIVE to God
Romans 6:9–11 KJV
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
John 10:10 KJV
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
A CHILD of God
Galatians 4:4–7 KJV
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Romans 8:15 KJV
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Romans 8:17 KJV
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
A TROPHY of Grace
1 Timothy 1:15–16 KJV
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
In a remote Swiss village stands a beautiful church – Mountain Valley Cathedral. It has high pillars and magnificent stained glass windows, but what makes it special is the most beautiful pipe organ in the whole region. People would come from far off lands just to hear the lovely tunes of this organ.
One something went wrong with the pipe organ. It releases the wrong tones and sounds of disharmony. Musicians and experts from around the world had tried to repair it. No one could find the fault. It was made unique, customised and no one really knows how to fit it. They gave up.
After some time, one old man came. “Why wasn’t the pipe organ used?”
“It’s not playing right,” says the church staff.
“Let me try.” Since it has been lying there, the staff reluctantly agreed to let the old man try his hand at it.
For two days the old man worked in almost total silence. The church worker was, in fact, getting a bit nervous.
Then on the third day – at noon – suddenly the music came. The pipe organ gives off the best music after so many years. The people in the village heard the beautiful music. They came to the church to see.
This old man was playing at the organ. After he finished, one man asked, “How did you fix it? How did you manage to restore this magnificent instrument when even the world’s experts could not?”
The old man said, “It was I who built this organ fifty years ago. I created it, and now I have restored it.”
…James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 244-245.
That is what God did. It is He who created the universe, and that includes you and me.
• Sin destroyed this life. It is no longer good and perfect, cannot give out beautiful music.
• God sent Jesus into this world to restore it – to give us an abundant and eternal life.
(From a sermon by Christian Cheong, The Lord of Life, 6/28/2010)
He offers salvation as a free Gift of Grace. Once you accept that gift, He continues to allow His unmerited favor to flow into your life making you back into the perfect image o Himself you were originally created to be. Have you received that gift? Are you yielding to His continued work? Are you basking in the splendor of His Amazing Grace?
Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:33 PM May 4, 2023.