Christ's death on the cross was recorded in all four gospels (Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:30- 37). However, Matthew specifically describes a period of darkness occurring between noon, after Jesus placed His mother Mary, under the care of John (John 19:26-27), and ending at three in the afternoon, when He cried out to His Father (Matthew 27:45-46).
This desperate cry is prophesized in Psalm 22:1-2,
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my help are the words of my groaning. My God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest.
Who can imagine the suffering Jesus experienced during this devastating interval of time—the unbearable rejection, the agonizing fear and chastening shame?
It was during this all-consuming darkness that Jesus was judicially forsaken by His Father and became the sin offering for mankind. And it was at the Cross that Jesus bore the curse and identified Himself with the sins of the whole world. So evil was this iniquity that even God had to turn away from His only Son.
Matthew described our Redeemer’s final moments, “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost” (27:50). Luke 23:46 recorded Jesus’ last declaration, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” John’s gospel said that Jesus simply uttered the words, “It is finished” (John 19:30). When Jesus died, He committed Himself back into His Father’s hands.
John Walvoord stated,
Jesus had lived as no man has ever lived, and He died as no man ever died. Having completed His act of sacrifice, He dismissed His spirit by an act of His will. As He had stated earlier, in John 10:18, in regard to His life, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”
When Christ declared, “It is Finished,” He affirmed a great exchange had occurred and that Propitiation, Redemption and Reconciliation had been accomplished on our behalf.
Although these are multifaceted theological words, we should not be intimidated by them—instead let us learn what they mean and how they apply to us.
Propitiation is a complex word that simply means satisfaction. Because God is holy, He cannot co-exist with sin. Therefore a fitting payment had to be made for our iniquity. God had two choices: punish us and send us to eternal hell because it was impossible for us to pay the incalculable price for our transgressions. Or, the Father would provide His Son as an appropriate payment for our debt.
Because of God’s immeasurable love for us He took our sin and placed it upon His Son, making Him—a righteous judgment and acceptable substitute for our iniquity. And, because of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross—the payment for our sin was satisfied.
1 John 4:10 declares, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
Christ separated us from our sin by becoming our substitute and assuming our transgressions through the punishment and death He endured on the Cross. By separating us from our sin, God the Father is now able to have relationship with us and bestow His blessings on us.
Propitiation is GOD-WARD. Christ’s death separated us from our sin, and as a result of that sacrificial act, God the Father is able to receive us.
Redemption is SIN-WARD. It is a verb associated with the action of buying something or someone. Because of the price Christ paid for our sin—we are released from our penalty so that we can return to God. Please note, there was no partial payment—our debt was paid in full—we have a zero balance.
Propitiation relates to the satisfaction of the righteousness of God. Redemption is the payment Christ made for our sin. Reconciliation extends to the total work of Christ on our behalf—it deals with man’s total restoration.
Reconciliation is MAN-WARD. It is the elimination of the separation between man and God. Reconciliation restores our relationship with God, made possible by propitiation (satisfaction) and redemption (the price paid). Because of reconciliation, believers can now walk in fellowship with God. Walvoord states that, “The final state of reconciliation is that of glorification in the presence of God in which the last evidences of sin are destroyed and the believer stands perfect and complete, sharing the very glory of Christ in heaven.”
This beautiful Exchange is described in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21,
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God]. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God.
Verse 21 describes this transaction perfectly...
He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].
Remember this truth: our sin did not take God by surprise. He invites sinners to come to the Cross as we are—not wait until we have it all together. God the Father put the perfect plan in place, and it was consummated by the blood of His Son. The Great Exchange happened when Jesus died on the cross. Christ exchanged:
His RIGHTEOUSNESS for our SIN.Through this exchange the Lord becomes our RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jehovah Tsidkenu). Isaiah 61:10 declares,
“I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has covered me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom puts on a turban, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Christ exchanged His FORGIVENESS and JUSTIFICATION for our CONDEMNATION. Through this exchange the Lord becomes our PEACE (Jehovah Shalom). Isaiah 53:5 declares,
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]; The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him, And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed [of disease, bad memories, hurts, rejection]
Christ exchanged His KINGDOM in for Satan’s dominion. Through this exchange the Lord becomes our SHEPHERD (Jehovah ROHI). 1 Peter 2:25 declares,
For you were continually wandering like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
Christ’s exchange gives us His BLESSINGS instead of CURSES; LIFE in lieu DEATH. Through this exchange the Lord becomes our VICTORY (Jehovah Nissi). Galatians 3:13-14 declares,
Christ purchased our freedom and redeemed us from the curse of the Law and its condemnation by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs [crucified] on a tree (cross)”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might also come to the Gentiles, so that we would all receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit through faith.
Christ exchanged A NEW MAN for the OLD MAN. Through this exchange the Lord is our SANCTIFIER (Jehovah McKeddesh).
2 Corinthians 5:17 declares,
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].
Christ exchanged His ACCEPTANCE for our REJECTION, giving us DIGNITY for our SHAME. By means of this exchange the Lord is our Overflowing PRESENCE (Jehovah Shammah). Isaiah 61:3 declares,
“To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that He might be glorified.”
Christ exchanged His HEALING for our SICKNESS. Through this exchange the Lord is our HEALER (Jehovah Rophe). Matthew 8:17 declares,
“so that He fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He Himself took our infirmities [upon Himself] and carried away our diseases.”
Christ exchanged His PROSPERITY for our POVERTY. Through this exchange the Lord is our PROVIDER (Jehovah Jireh). 2 Corinthians 8:9 declares,
“For you are recognizing [more clearly] the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [His astonishing kindness, His generosity, His gracious favor], that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich (abundantly blessed).”
When the enemy reminds you of your past remind him that a divinely ordained exchange occurred on the Cross where our Redeemer received the evil due to us, that we might receive the good due to Him.
BECAUSE OF THIS GREAT EXCHANGE:
We have been forgiven and made righteous
We are justified—just as if we had never sinned
We are part of God’s Kingdom
We are victorious—surrounded by God’s blessings
We are a new person
We are accepted and walk in dignity
We are healed—mind, body and soul
We are surrounded by God’s prosperity
Proclaim these truths often and declare that your chains are gone—and you have been set free!
“I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)The Great Exchange occurred on the cross and as Jesus Christ declared—IT IS FINISHED!