2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV - God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
In major league baseball, it is common every year for teams to trade players. Most often, a losing team will trade players that can help a winning team do better while the winning team trades “prospects” - young players with potential. Eventually everyone will see which team got the better end of the trade, but the immediate winners are usually those players who get traded away from a hopeless, losing team onto a winning team that is in the middle of fighting for something meaningful.
The basic fact of Biblical Christianity includes the similar concept of a trade. The perfection and total righteousness of Jesus Christ traded to us for our losing record of sin that deserves God’s judgment. We who were part of a hopelessly losing situation are offered a trade onto the team that cannot lose. Jesus accepted “the trade” by becoming the sin offering for us on the cross so that we could be “traded” - going from eternal losing (damnation) to eternal winning (life). Veteran players can often veto a trade if they don’t want to change teams. Perhaps they value the familiarity of their dysfunctional situation over the fear of positive change. People may also choose to veto God’s offer of a trade. For those who accept the trade God offers, they will still experience growing pains - difficulties in learning a new team culture, playing the winning way, and discovering how they can help their new team. But who wants to remain on a hopeless loser when you can be traded to an immediate winner? What are some of the fears or growing pains associated with “accepting a trade” onto God’s “team”? How can you help “new arrivals” to God’s “team” become immediately comfortable and to learn a new culture and mindset for winning?
Titus 3:3-7 NLT - Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. 4 But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT - Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.