I was in Eastern Europe and needed local cash. My friend took me to the back of a jewelry store, of all places, where I passed American greenbacks through a small window to a shadowy figure I could barely see. It was a strange experience for a North American who would normally enter a bank for such transactions. Yet, soon I was passed a large stack of the new currency to use – presumably to immediately buy jewelry!
The Great Exchange
Our Great God has completed the Great Exchange. The Bible says that through Jesus Christ, we are reconciled to God. This is the best of news. God has exchanged the brokenness caused by sin that was the nature of our relationship with God for the lasting peace of adoption into the family of God. We are children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, who laid down his life for his enemies (Romans 5:10; John 1:12; Galatians 3:26).
To be reconciled is to exchange one reality for another. The Greek word katallasso (translated “reconciled” in English) was originally used for the exchange of coins or money and then evolved to express the exchange of one reality for a new one (like singleness for marriage or warring for friendship). In other words, you exchanged one currency for another as if you have entered a new land altogether. When we surrender our lives to Jesus, we become residents of a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and the old cash simply doesn’t work anymore – in fact, it has been traded into something new entirely. God himself was the mysterious figure who made our exchange into this new world possible.
Living In A New Reality
But it gets even better! As a result of this new lasting peace with God (Romans 5:1), we have also been given a ministry: the ministry of exchange. We are given the gift and privilege of participating in God’s work of reconciling the world to himself. Having the spiritual identity of the reconciled, God now gives to the church the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). We join him as currency exchangers in the world. We become “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), the people through whom God is revealing his will and imploring the world to the Great Exchange and its ways.
We are given the gift and privilege of participating in God’s work of reconciling the world to himself.
Spiritual growth embraces the full reality of this exchange. On one side of the reconciled coin, we have a new identity and standing with God. On the other side, we have a ministry to be about in the world. We are now reconciled and reconcilers.
Where Has God Placed You?
Slow down and consider where God has placed you. There are likely Great Exchanges necessary all around. Perhaps co-workers are constantly at odds. Perhaps enmity and strife swirl in your home or neighborhood. Perhaps it is the political discourse you follow. The reconciled are new, see the world anew, and have the ministry of reconciliation wherever there is the opportunity.
Is there a place, a relationship or a situation that the Spirit is God is opening your eyes to see with new reconciled clarity? How will you become a reconciler there? How can you be an ambassador of the Great Exchange? What spiritual roots are needed for you to live out the ministry you have been given for the opportunities in front of you?