Today’s Reading: Revelation 5
When I travel overseas, the first thing I have to look for in that new country is a currency exchange counter. I need to turn US dollars into the currency of that country. My currency doesn’t work on their foreign soil. I can’t use dollars when they only accept pesos or euros.
In today’s reading, we are introduced to a currency that is required to live on eternal soil and a transaction that benefits the planet. The return or rate on the currency is unlike anyone has ever seen or heard. Listen to these words that John hears being sung in heaven: “They sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation’” (Revelation 5:9).
Did you see the transaction?
“You [Jesus] purchased for God”—the transaction
“With Your blood”—the currency
“Men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation”—the product purchased, all humanity
The blood of Jesus was the currency that heaven accepted to purchase our redemption. The blood of Jesus is the only acceptable currency that allows me to go to heaven. If the value of an article is determined by the price paid for it, and Jesus died for you, then you can believe you are very valuable to God because God is not a foolish investor. Your worth to Him is the price of His precious Son’s life.
“The temptation of our times is to look good without being good.” In other words, we try to use bogus currency that heaven, that foreign land, will not accept. We spend money and time trying to fix the outside, thinking it will fix the inside. “We suck and tuck and are still stuck and out of luck” (Brennan Manning). The inside issue is the issue, and the issue is a sin issue. The cross has revealed to good men that their goodness has not been good enough.
Men have tried for ages to get by on bogus currency. Let’s see why this currency called the blood of Jesus is so important to understand. Jesus was punished for my sin because sin had to be punished. His shed blood was the result of my sin and its payment for my sin.
If my sin was not transferred to Jesus, then someone else has to pay for it. Why? Because it is a crime against God, and all crimes must be paid for. You and I would not be here if we had to pay for that crime against God. Someone had to die for committing crime against God—and it was Jesus who died in our place. But with one caveat: the One who died for me rose again!
Jesus’ death is the acceptable payment, the currency for all of humanity. Why is sacrifice necessary for the atonement of sin? Because Justice demands it. A crime cannot be forgiven without a payment or just an “I’m sorry.” We live in a time in which people try to pay the crime with the wrong currency and have never done the currency exchange.
Let me give you three currencies that God won’t accept:
Currency #1: Sincerity. Some think that because they mean well that this is enough. But we have to exchange for the blood of Christ.
Currency #2: Service. Some think that God owes them something because of their basic decency. That good people go to heaven, and goodness is measured on a scale against their bad things, and if the scale tips in the good favor, then they’re in. Doing good or being good is their currency. But we have to exchange for the blood of Christ.
Currency #3. Feeling sorry. Some think that if they feel bad for their sin and they cry, God knows their heart. The problem is that He does know our hearts, and the only remedy is a currency exchange, the blood of Jesus.
Romans 5:10 says, “we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son,” not by men’s currency of sincerity, service, or apology. We can’t leave Jesus out of the equation.
Recently I read the best mathematical equation ever: 1 Cross + 3 Nails = 4 Given. That’s the currency we need.
Consider this: who was the greatest sinner in human history? Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden? Some say the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Some list serial killers Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer. Some say, the men who planned and acted out the events of September 11, 2001. But the greatest sinner in human history was Jesus.
He took all of their sins and ours at the same time to the cross. At some point between noon and 3 p.m. on that Friday two thousand years ago, God charged Jesus as “the” sinner of the planet, with every human sin on Him: “For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!” (2 Corinthians 5:21, TLB).
Why did He die? So you and I would not have to. That’s why the most precious metal is not gold, silver, or platinum. It was four rusty nails.
Toward the end of the Civil War, when it was clear the North was going to win, Southerners had Confederate money that they realized was soon going to be worthless. Their currency wasn’t going to be accepted, so they needed to figure out how to get US currency.
Right now, we Christians are living in the south (this world), and when Jesus comes, He is going to take us North (heaven). The only currency that works up there is what has been transmuted into heavenly currency, the blood of Jesus. We need a currency exchange to live on that foreign soil. Calvary shows how far men will go in sin and how far God will go for man’s salvation. God always goes further, a lot further.
If you need to find a currency exchange counter for heaven, it’s as close as asking Jesus to change you. And your currency gets exchanged when you choose to be born again.