The Exchange Made at the Cross

There is one, and only one all-sufficient basis for every provision of God’s mercy: the exchange that took place on the Cross.

Jesus was punished
that we might be forgiven.

Jesus was wounded
that we might be healed.

Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness
that we might be made righteous with His righteousness.

Jesus died our death
that we might receive His life.

Jesus endured our poverty
that we might share His abundance.

Jesus bore our shame
that we might share His glory.

Jesus endured our rejection
that we might have His acceptance with the Father.

Jesus was made a curse
that we might enter into the blessing.

This list is not complete. There are other aspects of the exchange that could be added. But all of them are different facets of the provision which God has made through the sacrifice of Jesus. The Bible sums them up in one grand, all-inclusive word: salvation. Christians often limit salvation to the experience of having one’s sins forgiven and being born again. Wonderful though this is, however, it is only the first part of the total salvation revealed in the New Testament.

From “The Divine Exchange” by Derek Prince (1995), p.19 – posted here partly in response to this.

33 thoughts on “The Exchange Made at the Cross

  1. peter–


    you’re forgiven.

    you’re saved.

    you have that security.

    now what? what’s the rest of your life going to look like, now that you’re saved? what are you going to do with this salvation?


  2. Peter

    interesting that there has been little take up on this thread – as yet.

    Not least because this post opens up the queations on what is happening at the cross, Steve Chalke’s views on substitution and the like. I am clear, well at present I am??, that substitution is an inescapable dimension, though I agree there are other pictures we can examine. The fact that the idea may seem repulsive to us, is surely as much because of our fallen nature (depravity to use a Calvinistic term) as its inherent nature.

    I do like your use of the term “facet”. Looking in my bookshelves I recently found, and have been reading, +JWC Wand’s book, The Attonement (published 1963. He uses just this analogy to describe the ways we can look at the cross, including substitution. He emphasises that we must look at all of them.

    And as you and Scott suggest, in the light of the wonder of it, what happens next

  3. What now? How about learning to live out of the finished work?! I find many of us living in what is called “Covenantal Confusion.” We try to keep Law while professing grace. It is truly grace, justified, forgiven, etc… Learning to live out these truths is a marvelous flight in His love and provision. He has left nothing out in His provision for us.

  4. Colin, thanks. These words, including “facet”, are Derek Prince’s, not mine. I note also that he doesn’t say that God punished and wounded Jesus, so I don’t think there is any conflict with what Steve Chalke teaches.

    Iris, thanks for your good point.

  5. ..well, we are only ‘not under law’ if we are being led by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Love so if we walk according to him then we fulfill the law and we need no law to contain us. Rom 8:1

    However, if we chose to rebel against God and not walk according to the Holy Spirt / love then we are still under law and we have to fullfill it completely to be saved.

    PS I thought that Steve Chalke believed that Jesus just died on the Cross so he could identify with our suffering ? I didn’t think he believed that Jesus died to pay the price for our sin.

  6. Thank you once again Peter Kirk for having me consider these issues today, particularly poignant because this evening I went to a gathering all about healing. I followed your discussions on New Leaven with a great deal of attention. God is having me learn so much about Him – it’s so exciting. He’s definiteltly working through you for me. as well as in lots of other ways, some conventional (or rather what one would expect – Bible study etc), never conventional – some very surprising.

    God Bless
    Rachel at Re vis.e Re form

  7. So much western theology has that God was reconciled to man. God looks at us through Jesus glasses, God really wants to pour his wrath on us but Jesus convinces him not to, we’re dirty rotten sinners who are lucky to be chosen at random by God and so on.
    Actually, man was reconciled to God. Man had the wrong idea of God all along, God is the most loving wonderful creator who wants us to join his family and Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit have chased after us ever since we fell to tell us what they really think of us. Jesus doesn’t need to convince God to let us in to heaven, WE have to listen to the truth of Jesus about his Father.
    Everytime I think of what God has done for us it overwhelms me. Yes we are sinners in need of forgiveness, but we have a father in heaven who has sent his son to willingly die for us, not because he had to, not because he had to prove something about himself, but because he wanted to, because of the JOY set before him. We are the joy of the Father. HE rescues us because he delights in us and he rejoices over us with singing. He is truly Mighty to Save.

  8. Julie, have you read what Steve Chalke wrote on this subject, or only what his detractors have written? I’m sorry, but there are some very unscrupulous people out there who love to attribute to their theological enemies false doctrines which they have never held. See also my other recent responses to you.

    Scott, if I can answer your question to Julie, someone can rebel against God by persistently and deliberately disobeying him, such as by breaking his moral commands i.e. sinning. But I would differ from Julie in teaching that if someone has done that they can never be saved by perfectly obeying the law; however, they will be condemned for having broken the law.

    Rachel, thanks for your comment. Yes, God is at work teaching me as well as you.

    Ferg, I agree with you. But do you think you are disagreeing with Derek Prince? I don’t see any contradiction, although possibly a slightly different emphasis.

  9. Pete, I don’t think I’m disagreeing, sorry it may have looked that way; it wasn’t my intention. I wouldn’t be disagreeing with Mr. prince often. His writings on spiritual warfare are very good, as are Don Bashams.

  10. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » How would Derek Prince have reacted to Todd Bentley?

  11. I have been dewlling on the theme of the “divine exchange” on and off for many months now. I am beginning to think that its not entirely true, at least, not in the way its often told.

    I note however, that the wording of the exchange given above (Prince’s wording?) seems more biblical than the phrases I am thinking of. For example, compare:

    “Jesus received my punishment,
    so that I might be forgiven.”


    “Jesus was punished
    that we might be forgiven.”

    Is there a big difference between the two statements? Is one more biblical than the other?

    I’m not sure if I had express myself clearly right now (its quite late!), but there is a version of the Divine Exchange that ties one to a particular theory of penal substitution, that along with N T Wright, I find a little uncomfortable, as its goes beyond biblical revelation of the Cross.

    EG, the scriptures say that God condemned sin in the flesh of Jesus, but not that God actually condemned Jesus.

    Also, with Wright I have my doubts that 2 Cor 5:21 is about any divine exchange.

    If I get some time I’d like to look into this a lot more…

    So I sort of believe in the Divine Exchange, I just don’t think the exchange is as symmetrical and as neat as it is sometimes presented.

  12. Thanks, Alastair. As I’m sure you remember from past not so divine exchanges on this blog, I’m not sold on certain descriptions of penal substitution, such as that God punished Jesus for our sins. In this booklet (I have a print copy of this one, unlike the one I discuss here) Derek Prince probably goes a little further down that line than I am happy with, writing “Jesus endured in our place all the evil consequences that were due by divine justice to our iniquity … received the punishment due to our transgressions and iniquities” – although he avoids making God the explicit agent. But like you I have no objections to his wording “Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven.” After all, no one can doubt that the Jewish and Roman authorities punished Jesus, gave him the wounds that we might be healed etc. In some sense this was all according to God’s will, but I don’t understand God as the direct agent of any of the first lines of Prince’s couplets.

  13. Will, read the last part of my previous comment 102040:

    After all, no one can doubt that the Jewish and Roman authorities punished Jesus, gave him the wounds that we might be healed etc. In some sense this was all according to God’s will, but I don’t understand God as the direct agent of any of the first lines of Prince’s couplets.

    That’s my take on the matter. Derek Prince may not have entirely agreed.

  14. No, Will, I denied that God was the agent in this, while suggesting that in some less direct way it was according to his will. To go further into this and understand exactly what I mean we need to get into some rather deep philosophy. But I specifically deny that God punished Jesus, rather God was in Jesus being punished.

  15. Hi Peter

    Yes, I did read Steve Chalke’s book. The Evangelical Alliance took him to task because they said that he did not believe in Penal substitution (which I take it means that he believes Jesus didn’t die on the cross from our sins).

    I didn’t get that from the book, i thought he was saying the opposite. That is why I’m asking you if you know what Steve Chalke does believe?

    Changing the subject I don’t believe we are condemned just because we don’t obey God once we are born again. I just believe that sin can grow if we don’t deal with it by putting it to death by the Holy Spirit and the end result can be death. And of course God is faithful to forgive us when we confess our sin to him.

    Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Rom 8:12 NIV

    There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Rom 8:1 NKJV

  16. Will, that is not an easy question, but it does depend on the meaning of hilasterion, translated “sacrifice” but in fact referring to the “mercy seat” in the Tabernacle. I would suggest tentatively the meaning that when Jesus had died, with God not being the direct agent, God who raised him from the dead was able to use him as the means by which other people’s sins were forgiven. That’s all I have time to write on this just now.

    Julie, I don’t know exactly what Steve Chalke does believe. You have the advantage over me that you have read the book. But I think a lot of people misunderstood it: Chalke’s target was not mainstream evangelicals but an extreme fringe with a very distorted view of the Trinity.

    Sin can indeed grow if we don’t deal with it. I just don’t believe that Christians will be eternally damned because of it.

  17. Will, you are probably right, but this is complex and debatable. But there are ways to propitiate someone’s wrath other than to be receive on oneself the full force of that wrath. If I wanted to propitiate the wrath of an angry and violent man against a third party who has done something wrong, I would do so by calming him down, perhaps offering to pay some kind of compensation, and showing him an example of love – not initially by allowing him to beat me up instead of the guilty party.

  18. I appreciate your comments Peter, I’m trying to work my way through the differing views on the atonement.

    You talk about propitiating the wrath of an angry and violent man by calming him down – point taken –
    I guess you can be beaten or try reasoning.
    But God isn’t an angry and violent man that needs Jesus to calm him down, so the metaphor breaks down.

    We are still left with the question “How can a just God declare a sinner just, and still remain just himself”
    The judge that lets someone off isn’t just.

    Thanks for your comments so far..

  19. How can a just God declare a sinner just, and still remain just himself?

    Or how can a righteous God declare us righteous even though we are not perfect and therefore less than God’s standard? We are not righteous or justified in that we are NOW perfect, but we have a right standing before God in acknowledgement of our sins and our old lives, constantly submitting and re-submitting ourselves to God in order to keep our walk straight.

    Paul uses the metaphor of death at work in us (who are saved) and here I think there is something of the work of God. We do not live our own lives – that is sin. Our lives are hidden in Christ in many ways, but as we participate in Christ’s death by constantly putting off our old self (only possible by the Spirit’s help) and counting ourselves dead to sin, we are sharing in Christ’s death and suffering. Also with the resurrection which we are graciously allowed to participate in daily.

    Did God punish Jesus? Can God punish Himself? There are questions we can never answer. Another might be how can God punish Himself by allowing his creation to ignore, reject and mock Him openly, vehemently and wholeheartedly, sending His Son and still have people do the same? I’m amazed by God’s grace that preserves all of us. The flood shows us a glimpse of God’s hatred of sin, but we remain on the earth either to live our own rebellious lives or submit to death in order to gain the prize that is the upwards call of Christ Jesus.

    May we be given wisdom to ask the right questions, not be bogged down by pointless ones, and grace to seek God in truth together.

  20. Jamie,
    you talk about a “right-standing” with God. This reminded me of many times I have spoke to Jehovah’s Witnesses who use the same phrase. However, their ‘salvation’ is in peril, as at any moment they can fall away and loose that right-standing. It sounds a bit like you are saying we are saved by grace, but kept by works….Forgive me if I have mis-understood you.

    Surely when God declares us ‘righteous’ it is because of what Jesus did for us. 1 Cor 1:31 tells us that our righteousness is “in Christ”. So it is not our own, but an alien righteousness that is imputed to us (NT Wright may disagree…)

    So when God looks at us, he sees Jesus’ righteousness, not our sin. (Rom 8:1 – “there is NO condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus”.

    But on earth, in our ‘flesh’, we still struggle with sin – and live lives of repentance and faith.

    What makes grace all the more marvellous is that it is Jesus who sustains us and will present us faultless (1 Cor 1: 4 or 5 – I think, haven’t got my bible to hand).

    Thats what I used to try and impress upon my JW friends anyway…


  21. Will, I agree that the metaphor of calming down an angry man is not a perfect one, but it was you who first mentioned this propitiation of wrath idea. It is of course a biblical metaphor or model of the atonement, but only one among many, none of which is perfect because no human description can be adequate.

    The judge that lets someone off isn’t just.

    Indeed. But the judge who punishes an innocent third party and lets the guilty one off is doubly unjust. There is something deeper going on here, linked closely to the fact that the one who bears the punishment is himself God.

  22. Peter
    I think your point that “the one who bears the punishment is himself God” is the crux (scuse the pun) of the matter.

    The fact that the triune God is both judge and willing “victim” is unbelievable awesome. I don’t like the word “victim” as it implies, to me, someone who is not in control of their situation. Whereas Jesus goes willingly and “for the joy set before him…”.

    The fact that Almighty God provides a way out of our helpless by becoming human and bearing the punishment that we deserve is beyond me, as I know my own desperate shortcomings.

    I partly agree that “no human terms are adequate”. In some senses, words cannot do justice, as we accept this by faith and not sight.

    However, language is God-given, God is the great communicator (He speaks and worlds come into existence). The God who is there has a voice (as Francis Shaeffer used to write) – He has told us what we need to know for salvation.

    I get concerned when I hear people say that “it is unknowable”, I’m not sure that you meant it this way Peter. The water may be deeper that we can imagine, but it is still wet (probably a terrible metaphor, I apologise), but hopefully that makes sense!

  23. Hi Will,

    Thanks for that, and yes it did sound like I might have been suggesting that we are kept by works.

    Which is indeed rubbish.

    James tells us works are a result of faith and we know that they will be tested, but we are saved by grace. You put what I was getting at in a better way – our righteousness is alien, not inherently ours but something we can share in because of Christ. We are sinful and constantly battle against the flesh and the devil, and as such can never be righteous by ourselves. The awesomeness of salvation goes far deeper and greater than we first think!

    Jesus is the author and perfector of faith. Both. Together. Great! We can’t do it by ourselves, and don’t have to.

  24. Thanks, Will. I don’t mean that God is entirely unknowable, but that we can’t know more about him than he has chosen to reveal, which implies that a lot of systematic theology is in fact empty speculation.

    Jamie, Amen!

  25. Deut 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever…”

    Systematic Theology should be a discovery of, revelling in and enjoying those “things which belong to us”

    The secret things can wait until we are perfected and have minds that can handle them.

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