As Adam failed in the garden to trust God’s love and good intentions for us, all men have failed also. In the Garden the failure was an issue of trusting God’s love. But when God calls his children, Israel, out of Egypt and gives them the law at Sinai 20 great exchangethey fail in the wilderness to obey God’s laws. Generally speaking, man failed in the garden through lack of faith and in the wilderness through lack of obedience. Jesus on the other hand was led into the wilderness in Matthew chapter 4 to be tempted to disobey God’s law, but he was victorious over Satan. Then in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus wrestled with trusting God regardless of the circumstances he was facing. He prayed “not my will but thine be done.” Adam failed! All of us fail. There is none righteous, no not one! That is, there is not one born of Adam’s seed. But the one born of the seed of the woman, conceived of by the Holy Spirit. He is righteous and perfect in every way.

Now this is where the greatest miracle of all takes place. Through our faith in Jesus a great withdrawal from our account is made. Jesus takes away our sin and deposits it in His own account and then pays the penalty for it all on the cross. But it’s not only that our sins are credited to His account and considered His, his righteousness is deposited back into our accounts. J. I. Packer writes, “The judge declares guilty sinners immune from punishment and righteous in his sight. The great exchange is no legal fiction, no arbitrary pretense, no mere word-game on God’s part, but a costly achievement.” The biblical statement of “the great exchange” is 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

There are two sides to this transaction; the removal of our sin and the deposit of Christ’s righteousness into our accounts. This is the best news in the world, and that’s what the word “gospel” means: good news! In Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” This is called the “Great Exchange:” My sins for Christ’s righteousness. Adam and Eve attempted to cover their sin with fig leaves, but found them inadequate. Mark Water puts it this way, “The gospel is given in Genesis 3:21 when Moses tells us that God clothed them. They needed something they couldn’t provide for themselves; and God giving man what man needs to stand in His favorable presence is the essence of the gospel. Luther merely restated what true Christians have understood for centuries that justification is by faith alone.”