“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” — 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)
Have you ever played Snakes and Ladders? It’s a frustrating game – doing your best to climb all the way up to the top only to land on a snake that slides you down all the way to the bottom. Snakes and Ladders is an analogy of the experience many Christians have in their relationship with God. They view their life as an attempt to avoid spiritual snakes (sin) and to climb spiritual ladders (good works) in order to reach the finish line (heaven).
The problem with this approach is that it is impossible to achieve. When your walk with God is all about how you try to do everything right to gain His approval and reward, you are going to find yourself constantly struggling with the three Ws:
Willpower – You give your best until it feels like one of the snakes has swallowed you up.
Waver – The up then down battle tires you out, leaving you feeling far away from God and disappointed in your failure.
Worry – You worry if God still loves you and doubt that He cares about you. This leaves you stuck at the bottom.
Jesus had so much more in mind for us when He promised us life and that in abundance (John 10:10). The essence of the Gospel is so much more than Jesus taking our sins away from us. It also extends to the transformation of who we are in Christ.
This is the essence of the Gospel; a divine exchange took place that transformed us from sinners to saints. What once was seen as the finishing line has now become the point of departure…we start at the finish.
Arana Hills Church of Christ