Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Exchange of Robes

Standing before a holy God, I have no defense. I am who I am, I have done what I have done. I wear it printed on my robe. All the cleaning up of myself that I have tried to do over the years has failed. The sin that stains I can not hide. Marred with black for all to see, I weep nightly, wondering if a way exists to climb out from under the weight of it. My spirit is crushed, hopeless.

Reading my life is like watching an R-rated movie that offends. The robe I wear bears my sins: sexually immoral, lies, cheats, hates good, does evil, disobeys parents, rebels against God, ruled by anger, controlled by alcohol and drugs, steals, self-centered, worships self, money-hungry, selfish, covets, hates and murders....and the list goes on. I stand in front of the crowd for all to see...but the only One that matters is the Holy God. And He is the only One who does not gasp in horror at who I am and at what I have done. Amazing, since He is the only One who is without sin - He alone truly understands the magnitude of of my sin.

The holy God takes off His snow-white robe to cover my sin. He offers it to me. The exchange of robes, this symbol of covenant, is unbelievable to me. Who is this God who would exchange His robe for mine? Why would He choose to do such an incredible thing as take my marred, dirty robe and give me His snow-white one? What has the Perfect to gain from the imperfect? What does the Holy need from the sinner? Why does a King enter covenant with the lowliest of low?

I am stunned as I contemplate the answers. I have nothing to offer this holy God. He can gain nothing from me for His robe. Covenant, usually entered into by two equals, is being entered into by the Holy and the helpless...the One who needs nothing and the one in desperate need. He will not clean my robe, He will take it. He will wear it to the cross that is prepared for me because of my sin. He will take the punishment for what I have done. And what do I receive in exchange for the pain I am sending him to? I receive His robe, His righteousness, His blood washing away my sin. And I am humbled, overwhelmed and trembling.

Will I choose to enter into this covenant with Him? Will I choose to leave my life of sin and trade it for His life of holiness? Will I choose a new robe, not marred by sin, but white as snow? What is my response to this Holy One giving His robe, His life for me?

Covenant: His promise to make me into what I can not make myself, His promise to enable me to be what I alone am incapable of being. Oh, yes, I will enter into this covenant. He will take this robe that is heavy laden with sin from me and He will place boldly around my shoulders His blood drenched robe that is snowy white. And my response is one of could I ever begin to thank this holy God?

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