Do you remember from your childhood days ever giving one of your toys to a friend in exchange for one of his/her toys? If you do, then you understand what it means to “barter”. Bartering is simply trading goods or services with another person when there is no money involved. The history of bartering dates back to 6000 BC. Historians tell us that the Mesopotamia tribes introduced the concept to the Phoenicians. Later the Babylonian’s developed an improved bartering system. In more recent times, such as in the Great Depression when currency or cash was difficult to obtain, many people rediscovered that this kind of economic exchange was practical and convenient. No doubt most of us continue to trade something in order to obtain what someone else has more often than we realize.
Aren’t you thankful that God has never used a bartering system with mankind. He has never said, “if you will give me that, then I will give you this.” The Lord has always offered to “credit to our account His righteousness” when we simply believe Him. It’s beyond our imagination that the God of the universe willingly gave His Son so that we could have a right and total relationship with Him through faith. As Paul writes to the Roman believers he wants them to understand that there is no bartering involved. Their good works, their loyalty to the law and family heritage as Abraham’s offspring, are not of any value in God’s sight. It is by His grace and mercy that He offers to freely exchange our guilt and give us His righteousness.
This is exactly what the Gospel really means, isn’t it? It’s the very, very, very good news that we are acquitted, accepted and forgiven by God – through faith alone.