Thursday, February 10, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 31

Last day from this book. I am a little bummed to be finished, but also happy to have completed something. I may give a review/reflections from the book sometime soon. On with today.

The Tree of Life

He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" - Genesis 3:11

Today's reading begins in Genesis 3. Even if you are familiar with the story, go there and read it again.  These verse often prompt different emotions. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, we would still be in perfect communion in the Garden with God. If Adam and Eve had just been satisfied with the many blessing of the Lord, we would not have to deal with the evil and sin in our world. It is pretty easy to play the "what if" game with Adam and Eve, but what if is not the truth or reality.  The reality is that Adam and Eve sinned, death entered the world, paradise was lost.

"On this side of the fall, we cannot possibly imagine what was lost on that day. To have been perfectly cared for and perfect protected and to enjoy unhindered communion with one another and with their Creator is a life we cannot possibly comprehend." God had to punish their sin, their disobedience.  He killed an animal, made them clothing from the animal skins and sent the out of the garden. "Go out now, covered in the blood of another. You deserve to die; you deserve to be shamed, but I have covered you." Verses 14-19 show God's curse because of sin. We see one glimpse of hope for the future in verse 15, "Her offspring shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." From this verse, prophecy of hope - a Messiah who would come and defeat Satan.

Much later, a child was born. "Adam had been clothed with skins; now, the Son of God was clothed in Adam's flesh." Amazing that He would live on this earth for years, and yet not fall to the deception and temptation of Satan (example in Matthew 4), but would indeed be the Only One worthy to provide redemption. He came to reverse the curse that sin had brought. "We are all the same. We have plucked fruit from the forbidden tree. We have declared that we know best, that we can take care of ourselves." Just like Adam and Eve, we need to be covered in the blood of another. "The God-man has been slain. The Lamb's blood has been spilt, and it covers us. Our rags have been replaced with His robes. The garden has been reopened; we've been invited back in, "Here, eat of this, it will give you life."

Today, I rejoice in the Lamb that was given to reverse the curse of sin and death. The words of John 14:6 will forever ring true, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me." He is the Life and because He is, we have life. May you rest in Him and His life-giving work today. 

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 30

Sit Down and Believe

We are treated as imposters, and yet are true; as unknown and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. -1 Corinthians 6:8-10

Before, I tell you about today, you need to start with this story in John 6. This is a familiar story recorded in all four gospels when Jesus feeds the multitude. Two really interesting things stand out - Jesus asked Philip where to buy bread? I'm sure Jesus knew exactly what He was going to do, but gave a little test to His disciple. Second, Andrew offered Jesus the loaves and two fishes from the little boy and then said, "what are they with so many?" After taking the loaves and fish, Jesus says something so simple, "Have the people sit down." You have read and know the story. Thousands of people were fed that day and twelve baskets were left over.

In some ways our situation is no different than the people that were following Jesus that day. Some want Jesus in hopes that He will bring healing or meet a need. Others desire Jesus because someone told Him the amazing things that He does, but when we look closely, we see we are all the same. We all have nothing. "We have no innate goodness, no righteousness, no wisdom, no strength, no miraculous power to enable us to work hard enough to meet the overwhelming needs of our souls. We are starving for true righteousness, hungering to be able to meet God's standards, languishing as we try to satisfy the ever-growing needs of those around us." Jesus bids the same for us, "Sit Down."

Later on in John 6, Jesus would share these words with those who were hungry. "Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."  (John 6:26-35 ESV)

Paul testified in 2 Corinthians 6, that we have nothing, yet possess everything. Remember what you bring to the table - absolutely nothing; no good works, no righteousness. Rest in the promises of God's Word. As a believer, God loved you in your sin and made a way for your redemption, your sin debt has been canceled, you have been given the righteousness of Christ, you have been adopted into the family of God, you are promised a home in Heaven, and the list goes on and on. "When Jesus serves you expect to be overwhelmed."

Today, I rejoice that the Savior satisfies. He is more than enough. "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (John 6:35) Sit down; eat, drink, believe.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 29

Draw Near

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. -Hebrews 10:22

Prayer. Why is it so much easier to pray when times are tough? I cry out to God in my time of need and beg for Him to hear. Most Christians you encounter would say they desire a better prayer life, myself included. Why is prayer a struggle? Elyse gives two possible reasons. First, "we don't pray is because we don't think we need to." According to the world's standards, do you think you are doing pretty well right now? I've definitely been there thinking that I was self-sufficient. God had provided food, clothing, shelter, and even many of my wants. Why pray when things are good? The problem is that "we are confirmed in our self-sufficient blindness, convinced that we are doing okay. We function as unbelievers." Has prayer ever been more a duty to you? Elyse describes it as a way to "silence our nagging conscience." We pray to make us feel better, so it is not really about Him, but us.

Second, "we have little fervor in prayer because we are not really very comfortable in God's presence." When I think that God knows my heart and my self-sufficient thinking, am I really comfortable going before Him? "We concede that we're sinful and flawed, but we are not really desperate."  Do you know the only thing that will motivate us and help us to love to pray? The Gospel. The truth of the Gospel shatters my self-sufficient thinking and reminds me that I am nothing without Christ. I cannot come before Him on my good efforts.  Hebrews 10:19 shares, "we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus." Do you want to learn to pray more? "Learn of your sin. Ask Him to show it to you, to give you a glimpse of your need. Ask Him to make you dependent on Him!"
As the Gospel shows me the reality of my sin, I can rest in the promise of Hebrews 10:21-22, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. "Only the Gospel will warm your affections so that you will long for an opportunity to be near Him. Let the Gospel motivate you to pray." Our High Priest is also our waiting Bridegroom. He has done the work of cleaning our hearts, so that we can with full assurance draw near to Him.

As the day's reading conclude with the admonition to draw near, Elyse ended the day with these words, "Run, now, to the lover of your soul." My mind was immediately drawn to one of my favorite super old hymns is Jesus, Lover of My Soul. My mom used to sing it to me, but I recently heard it again. I think it just fits with the truths of today's reading.  I thought I would just share a few of the verses, but the entire hymn is so beautiful, so you get to read all of it. The last two verses are my favorites.

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

Wilt Thou not regard my call? Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—Lo! on Thee I cast my care;
Reach me out Thy gracious hand! While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand, dying, and behold, I live.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 28

Today, I am sharing the entire day's reading. It was too hard to try to pick and choose parts of it. It is long compared to my normal blogs, but so worth the read.

Passed Over

On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. -Zechariah 13:1

Today is just like every other day. Yes, there is some commotion in the temple. Yes, there is to be an execution. But, after all, this Jerusalem; those Romans aren't squeamish about punishing us Jews. Yet our religious leaders aren't the sort of people who let things get out of hand, especially not now, with a city so full of Passover pilgrims. yes, this is just another day in just another city under Rome's harsh rule. Just another day, remembering our slavery in Egypt and straining to be free from our slavery to Rome. Just another day...

As we progress through our Passover celebrations, we recall the prophecies. But will Messiah come? Will a deliverer rescue us as Moses did so many thousands of years before? We eat the Seder meal. The youngest child asks the question, "Why is this day different from any other day?" and the rote answers are recited. This is the day we remember our deliverance from slavery. These are the days we let hope live again. But is this Passover somehow different?

Yes, we are prepared. We've chosen a young lamb for our celebration one without blemish, three years old. We've slaughtered it, drained its blood, and painted our doorposts. We are careful not to break one bone. We will eat the meal, the lamb, the unleavened bread, the sweet wine. We will sing together, dip our bread in bitter herbs, remember our slavery, rejoice because death passed over us and struck down our enemies' beloved sons. Our tradition is beautiful; it brings us hope.

He has walked through our towns for three years. He has touched lepers, invited children to crawl up into his lap. He has invited us to come to him, and we would have, but there was that shocking saying, "You must eat my flesh and drink my blood." Our leaders warned us, "If you follow Him, we'll put you out of the temple." His followers were untaught fishermen and tax collectors. Surely the true Messiah wouldn't associate with such as these We thought perhaps He was the One, but no. He is just another religious zealot in a long line of religious zealots. And now He is going to die. Oh, well. Neither we nor the Romans could have someone going around claiming to be God, claiming to be King.

But on this day, in the heart of Jerusalem's power, Pilate's jaded conscience is strangely trouble. "I find no guilt in him" (John 18:38).

"If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend" (John 19:12).

"What have you done, Jesus? Answer me! Don't you know I have authority to punish you?"

"You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above" (John 19:11).

Yet even more troubled, Pilate sought to relieve his own distressed conscience. "When Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the the crowd, saying, 'I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.' And all the people answered, 'His blood be on us and on our children!'" (Matthew 27:24-25)

Now, in the streets, they thrust the tree upon Him. He stumbles. "You don't think we're going to carry your cross for you, do you?" the soldiers mock. "This is your execution. Not ours."

"Let someone else carry it for Him. We don't want Him to break a bone before He climbs up The Skull."

Now on the hill. "Look at Him. Hanging there, naked; a mockery. The 'I Am'? Hardly. If you're God, then come down here and prove it. Be careful not to get too near. We don't want to be defiled for the celebration."

"Here, dip this rag in bitter wine for Him."

The guards receive a command, "Kill the prisoners now. These superstitious dogs don't want their land defiled by letting them hang here overnight."

"This one seems to be dead already. I will make sure."

"One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water" (John 19:34).

"The beloved Lamb is beaten, mocked, cursed, pierced. how does His Father respond?"

"I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and please for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn." (Zechariah 12:10)

Our sins call for unimaginable wrath and fury. We're religious; we delight in our traditions. We love feeling chosen, righteous, separate from Gentile scum. Yes, pass the bread, answer the questions, remember the deliverer, feel good. But we're also Roman oppressors. We, too, relish opportunities to mock the weak and scorn sufferers. We gleefully watch as this man Jesus stumbles down the street. We would have enjoyed taking a crack at Him, too.

Our sins call for unimaginable wrath and fury. How does He respond? Will he pour out wrath? No, He pours out a spirit of grace and mercy. Grace and mercy for us all--for Jew and Gentile--to repent. "Why is this day different from any other day?" Because we have seen our sin and been given grace to repent.

On this day, this marvelously different day, God applies the blood to the doorpost of our soul. This precious blood springs from the found in His Son's bleeding side. Again He sees blood. Again He passes over His chosen ones.

We haven't prepared for this. Our souls are full of self-righteousness, our hearts infected with leaven; our consciences have grown callous. We aren't really looking, waiting, hoping for our Deliverer. We're simply enjoying our tradition, living each day as it comes to us.

On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleaness. (Zechariah 13:1) 

On this day in Jerusalem a fountain has been opened for Jew and Gentile alike. It flows and flows, on and on, from His pierced side and covers all our sin. It covers our religious sin. It covers our irreligious sin. In one stroke, the Father has opened this fountain and with it He washes away all our sin and uncleaness. Our souls are cleansed by this water, atoned for by this blood. He opens a fountain that will never run dry; this well is sufficient for us all. We have pierced Him. He has taken that blood and water and made us His own.

Dear friend, the day you are facing may seem like any other day: uneventful, business as usual, nothing to celebrate. But ask yourself, what makes this day different from any other day? Then look on Him whom we have pierced and remember, there is a fountain opened to cleanse you from all your sin and uncleanness. "For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate" (1 Corinthians 5:7-8) Yes, let us celebrate this day that is different from every other day. Let us celebrate Christ, our Passover Lamb, today.

(Comforts from the Cross, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Day 28, Passed Over, pp. 123-126)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 27

Controlled by Love 

The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died. -2 Corinthians 5:14

"The Christian life is a war. We are called to battle the world's deceptions, our own sinful desires, and our enemy's treachery." For some, we feel like we have battled for years, others have been battling a short time. The reality is that it is hard to admit that we have experienced failures and are not the people we have been trying to be. In fact, this reality humiliates my prideful self. "It is easy to say that we are fighting this war for God." Is that really truth?  Elyse writes about two different thoughts concerning this war, "If we are self-righteous, demanding, proud, or critical of others' failures when we succeed, then we are not fighting this war out of love for God." The truth of that is that I am participating in this war for the glory of myself. "On the other hand, if we're self-condemning, unbelieving, and angry with ourselves when we fail, then we're fighting because we long to approve of ourselves, and we despair when we can't." 

If you visited a bookstore (Christian or secular), you would encounter lots of self-help books. Christians want to change, people in our world want to change.  Most of these things don't seem so bad.  Who doesn't want to be healthy, overcome addictions, be more organized, etc? Here's the problem, "self-improvement isn't a Christian construct; death and resurrection are." Wow! Check out 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, "For the love of Christ controls us; because we have concluded this; that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised." The Bible says that all are dead, you know what dead people do? Nothing. This shows our need for resurrection. Another self-help book is not the solution. Resurrection is. "When He died, He died for us. When He was raised, we were raised with Him." So, actually, you are not having to war on your own. "We will not be able to fight victoriously against our sins unless we fight under the the banner of the Gospel and thereby detach ourselves from our hedonistic plans self-improvement." Verse 15 says that we live for Him!

Think about your self-improvement efforts; they are meaningless apart from the love of Christ.  The love of Christ compels, controls, motivates us! My effort to try to make myself better must be met with the truth that God is Who He says He is and the work that He has done. "Our longing to approve of ourselves becomes absurd when we survey the cross, our deserved end, and our undeserved resurrection. Look at the great love poured out there. Live in that love and war on." Well said. 

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 26

I skipped Friday. I read the words on rest and decided to actually practice it. Turns out I had a most restful day. Without further ado...


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. -Matthew 11:28-29

God has always promised rest to His children. The Father even showed us an example of rest after he completed Creation and in telling His people to take a day of rest in Exodus.  Hebrews 3:7-19 shows how the Israelities actually missed out on the rest that God promised. In Exodus 33:14, "My presence with go with you, and I will give you rest." "The good news, these Gospel words, were preached to them for hundreds of years, but it did not profit them because most of them just couldn't believe that God was that good, that loving, that powerful.  They just wouldn't rest in Him, in the work He had done, and the work He would do."

The same good news is available to us today. Do we trust in the promises of God's Word? If God says it, do I truly believe that He will do it? Remember when God finished Creation, He looked over it and described it as "very good." Then the next verse tells of the seventh day when He rested.  Hebrews 4:10 says this, "for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from His." What is the Bible telling us to do in this verse? "Sit back, survey His wonder---His power, His grace, His mercy, His kindness, His love---and then glory in it. Rest in Him." The Bible doesn't stop in verse 10 though, Hebrews 4:11 gives us an admonition, "Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience." The Bible says that when we don't rest we disobey? Disobedience really comes into play when we experience fear, rebellion, self-indulgence, anger, or self-pity as an act of unbelief in the goodness of God and His work.

Remember the verses in Matthew 11:28-30, our need and desire for rest isn't met on our own merit, but when we respond to the invitation of the Savior to rest in Him. Just like our salvation, our rest is not dependent on what we do, but on the work of Christ.  His invitation is, "Come to me... and I will give you rest." Today, I rejoice that God grants true rest.  It is a Saturday, so be intentional about taking some time to rest in the Lord. Respond to His invitation to come to Him, the Word tells us to strive to enter that rest. And when you rest in Him, survey the wonder that can be found in Him alone. I promise it will delight your heart!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 25

Hope of Glory

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness... 1 Timothy 3:16

Not much can be said tonight, besides my desire for you to read this whole verse, to look at it over and over again. Creeds were an important part of early Christianity and church history. This is like a creed, but even better, it is Scripture.

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:       
    He was manifested in the flesh,
        vindicated by the Spirit,
    seen by angels,
    proclaimed among the nations,
        believed on in the world,
    taken up in glory.

One beautiful verse shows the incarnation, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. A thought that Elyse writes for today. "The gospel shatters our glory-seeking and self-confidence and tells us that the godliness that pleases the Father is a mystery. Our only hope of glory is the Gospel. The incarnated, resurrected, and ascended Son of God, the Christ, lives in us. Christ is in us, and because He is, His godliness (the only godliness there is) is ours. This mysterious truth is the sweetest, most liberating truth you will ever know. Christ is in you; He's your hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 24

Safe in His Care

Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward and said to them, "Whom do you seek." -John 18:4

Remember, the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden right after they sinned. The Bible says in Genesis 3 that they hid themselves. It was almost like the game we play now of hide-and-seek, except they were trying to hide from the God of the universe (not possible.) Much like Adam and Eve, we still like to hide. We try to hide from ourselves, from God, for uncomfortable situations, you name it; someone has probably tried to hide from it.

Today's reading needs more than just one verse, so start here in John 18:1-11. Verse 4 is the key verse for today, and shows that He came forward to His attackers. When Jesus presented Himself to these religious leaders and Judas, they drew back and fell to the ground. Then Jesus handed Himself over to these as the One who they were seeking and asked that the others be let go. Here we see our Good Shepherd. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11) Why would He do such a thing for those who would deny and betray who He is? Love. Love was and always has been the motivation. We are unworthy, yet, the life of our Lord Jesus says, "Take me. Let them go." "This has been His theme throughout all eternity, 'Take me. Punish me. Let them go.'"

If I believed Jesus was who He says He is, would I hide from Him? In the Gospels, we see how He loved those who were His. Do you grasp the magnitude of what He did? "He interposed His precious blood between the righteous wrath of His Father and His sinful bride! What a Savior!" We do not need to follow the example of Adam and Eve and hide, but the Savior invites us to draw near.  As I have been considering the Good Shepherd and His care for His sheep, my mind quickly went to Colossians 1:17b, "in Him all things hold together." I can draw near to the Savior because of what He did and because of who He is. Today, I rejoice that God's Word reminds me that He holds all things together, He knows, we cannot hide from Him, and I can find comfort that I am safe with the Good Shepherd.

My family used to listen to Elisabeth Elliot on the radio when I was younger, she is one of my missionary heroes. She always ended her radio program with Deuteronomy 33:27, "The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms..." As believers, we serve a big God, bigger than you and I can imagine. Find your dwelling place in Him!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 23

His Appearing

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing. -2 Timothy 4:8

A little over a month ago, we celebrated the first coming of Jesus to earth. As believers, the Christmas season is quite exciting, but we mostly celebrate a baby. A sweet baby Jesus born in a manger. He coming was meek and lowly, it probably wouldn't make the evening news in our world today. Here's a question that Elyse pondered in today's reading, "Because of how Jesus came to earth the first time, do people think He will come again the same way?"

My pastor preached on Revelation 19:11-21 this past Sunday night, so the message is fresh in my mind. Go check out the passage. I know the world did not expect a baby born in a manger the first time our Savior entered the world.  I can only expect that the heavens being opened and a Rider on a white horse will take most of our world by surprise as well. "For some, His return will be a terrifying introduction into an even more horrifying eternity." The truth of Revelation 6:15-17 will come to pass, "Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” "Smug unbelief would be instantaneously transformed into terrifying understanding."

What would be your response? How should a believer respond as we think about this? (I personally believe the church will have been raptured before this time, but this is not about my eschatology.) Think about those who experience the Rider on the white horse, they won't love His appearing; they will hate it.  The Bible tells me that I will love His appearing. Why? Because of the Gospel of grace. Over and over again, the Bible tells me how God has given me His righteousness. He replaced my sinfulness with His righteousness. Trusting in His righteousness comes by faith alone, faith that God grants! Are you trusting in that today? I rejoice that I will love His appearing because of what He did. I end today with one of my favorite "non-Scripture paragraphs" that is deep with the truths from Scripture. It sums up what I have seen as I have read in Comforts from the Cross. The words are quite beautiful...

"He himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! that the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!" 
From The Letter to Diognetus, chapter 9.
O Sweet Exchange- my wickedness for a Crown of Righteousness!