A man is standing on a sidewalk. He is wearing a hoodie that was once white. However, it’s original color is unrecognizable. It is now torn, faded, stained, smeared, filthy and disgusting. It’s dirty stench is very evident, as if something died in it. It is covered with imperfections and tears. There is nothing good about it. Filthy.
A friend walks up to this man with a very different coat on. The friends hoodie is a perfect white color with no blemishes. It has no imperfections, no tears, no dirt. It’s as if this coat just came from the factory, it’s white as snow and it’s brightness almost strains the eyes. The friend’s coat is perfect in everyway. Spotless.
The friend walks up to the man and begins talking to him.
Friend: Hey, How’s it going? (energetically)
The Man: Ok. (staring away, downcast and barely able to speak)
Friend: What’s going on with your coat ?
The Man: Well, it keeps getting more stains each day and it looks more and more like a dirty old rag.
Friend: How is that happening?
The Man: You see, it happens based on the choices I make in my life. I know what the right choices are, but I continue to make the wrong choices. I recognize what is good, but I still do wrong. Everytime I do wrong another stain or tear shows up on this coat.
Friend: Why do you keep doing the wrong things when you know what is right?
The Man: I was born this way. I would love to be perfect but I just can’t be. In fact, I have tried so hard to behave perfectly but I just can’t do it. I have tried to wash out these stains that I’ve caused but they won’t go away. I keep thinking if I just work harder and do more good deeds then I may be able to get these stains to go away. I have attempted to scrub these stains and sew up these holes but it’s hopeless.
Friend: Wow, so you realize there is nothing you can do on your own to make that coat look good?
The Man: That’s right, I can’t do it. I cannot fix this.
The friend takes off his perfect, unblemished, spotless coat and holds it in his hand. Then he says to the man…
Friend: Take off your coat
The man looks down at his dirty rag of a coat. He stares at his disgusting mess and then looks at the spotless, perfect coat of the Friend. The man cannot speak.
Friend: Here, lets trade, you take my coat and give me your coat
The Man is speechless. He doesn’t know what to say. The Man takes off his dirty rag of a coat and hands it to the Friend. The Man takes the spotless perfect coat from the Friend and puts it on. The Friend takes the horrid, filthy, disgusting coat from the Man and he puts it on. The two have made an exchange.
The Man takes a look at his new coat.
The Man: Wow, this coat is perfect!
He lights up and becomes engergized. It’s as if he just came to life. He is a new person.
The Man: I don’t deserve this perfect coat. It looks amazing. I can’t believe this!! Why would you do this? Why would you exchange your perfect coat for my broken, stained, dirty rag of a coat?
Friend: One reason……..because I LOVE YOU !
This is a demonstration of exactly what Jesus Christ has done for us. Due to the fall of man, all of us were born with sin in our hearts. We are all imperfect humans stained with sin. There is absolutely nothing we can do to make up for this sin in our life. No matter how hard we work it’s impossible to wash away our own sin.
So what’s the problem with having sin? The problem is there is a punishment for our sin. The one God of all the universe, the creator of all things, is perfect, Holy, just, and fair. So he must punish all sin. This punishment is an eternal life of darkness and despair, separated from God. We cannot know God or be close to Him because of our sin. That is the bad news.
But, there is good news. Because of the enormous love of God, he sent his perfect Son, Jesus Christ, down to earth to take the punishment for our sin. The punishment we deserve, Jesus took in our place, when he died on the cross and rose from the grave 3 days later.
Just like our demonstration today, Jesus made an exchange with us. When he died on that cross, He took our stained, imperfect, sinful lives and gave us His perfect, righteous sinless life. Why? Because of His love. So now, because of this great exchange, we can live with God forever in Heaven. We don’t have to be separated from God. We can stand before the Holy God, perfect, and righteous in his eyes. Not because of anything we did, but because of what Jesus did.
This is the gift of God to us, eternal life in a perfect Heaven, forever. However, you must make the exchange. You must trade your old sinful life for a new life in Jesus Christ. You’ve gotta take off the dirty rags and put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
If you believe that Jesus is the living Son of God who died for your sin and rose again, and if you are willing to let Jesus change your heart and turn from your sin, then you can make the great exchange. Faith and Repentance. It’s the only thing required for eternal life in Christ Jesus.
This new life in Christ is available to all of us. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what your stains look like. The gift of eternal life in Heaven is available to everyone. If you have never asked Jesus to save you then you can do that right now by simply praying in faith with a surrendered heart to Him.