The Exchanged Life
When you became a Christian a great exchange took place. Jesus Christ took your place, and died for you on the cross. All of your sins were placed upon Jesus Christ, and He died in your stead. In that great transaction Christ got all your sins and guilt, and you received His righteousness as your eternal position in Christ.
The Apostle Paul expressed this great spiritual principle in the following words. "He (God) made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him"
THE PRINCIPLE OF THE EXCHANGED LIFE
Jesus died as our substitute
Our right relationship with God is based upon what Christ did for us on the cross. Jesus died as our substitute. He took our place on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins. The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
Justification is a legal standing with God based upon Christ's death and resurrection and our faith in Him. The word Paul uses (dikaioo), comes from Roman legal courts meaning to declare to be righteous, or to pronounce righteous. Therefore, justification is the legal and formal acquittal from guilt by God who is Judge. It is the pronouncement of the sinner as righteous, who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Justification means that at the moment of salvation God sovereignly declares the believing sinner righteous in His sight. The believing sinner is declared to be righteous in His standing before God. From that moment on throughout life, through death, that sinner who has believed is now and forever right before God. God accepts him, and he stands acquitted of his sins.
Something happened within you
The moment you believed on Christ as your personal savior something wonderful happened within you. You became a new person with new motivation, new interests and new principles. The Apostle Paul tells us what happened. "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (II Corinthians 5:17).
Something happened to you
Moreover, something also happened to you. You were automatically and instantaneously placed into the family of God. You didn't necessarily feel different. You didn't hear the angels sing, or hear voices, but in that moment you did become a member of God's family.
A new life style follows conversion because Jesus through His Holy Spirit has come and taken up residence within you. He desires to settle down and make Himself at home in your heart (Eph. 3:14-21).
It is a radically different life. Salvation has occurred. I have a new life in Christ; therefore, my life can not be the same. I can not live the same way. Because I am in Christ, my life style is not the same.
Yes, there will be times when I blow it, but there will be change. Sin comes from my sinful nature. It will remain there until I am glorified when Christ comes. The constant tension will exist between the two natures. (Read Romans chapter 7; I John 1:6-9.)
The Christian hope is a living hope for today and for tomorrow. Now that we are saved by grace through faith Christ wants to live His life in and through us.
We live the Christian life by grace through faith.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20). Literally it reads, "With Christ I have been co-crucified." When I believed on Christ I was so united with Christ, so linked with Him, that I am now so much a part of Him that His crucifixion positionally becomes my crucifixion. A part of me died there at the cross. My old carnal nature was slain there at the cross. Yet, I don't live there in that death. The life I now live, I live in resurrection power. Christ's resurrection has become my resurrection. The life I now live, I live in faith in the Son of God who gave Himself for me.
Paul admonishes the Roman believers to "consider (be constantly counting upon the fact, reckon) yourselves to be dead to sin." Furthermore in contrast to this co-crucifixion he adds "but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11).
Our lives are identified with Christ. We are identified with Him in our baptism, which is a beautiful symbol of His death and resurrection. It is also a beautiful spiritual picture of our co-crucifixion, our co-burial and our co-resurrection with Christ.
THE PERSON OF THE EXCHANGED LIFE
Christ wants to live His life through us.
It is only the life of Christ––His activity, clothed with you and displayed through you, that ultimately will find the approval of God. The Lord Jesus alone makes our sacrifices acceptable to God.
Only what Christ does in you and through you merits God's approval. That is probably the hardest truth to learn in the Christian life. Jesus said to His disciples: "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Apart from Christ we can do nothing.
It is not what I do for God
We want to do it ourselves. We want to do it our way. We want to do it the way we think best. We want to get the credit. Now that we are saved we think we can do it all in our own human strength. We even try to conduct His work in our fleshly, sinful nature. God will have nothing of it.
God will accept nothing less than His way! A lot that we have done in the name of Jesus is going to burn up because we have done it in the power and motives of the flesh.
THE POWER OF THE EXCHANGED LIFE
The exchanged life is a life of faith.
Can any situation possibly arise, in any circumstances, for which Christ is not adequate? Can there arise any pressure, or promise, or any problem, or any responsibility for which the Lord Jesus Himself is not adequate?
When I realize the total adequacy of Christ in me is there any situation for which He is not adequate? If there is any situation in which Christ is inadequate then it is a clear indication that I am not in the will of God.
Christ is limited only by the measure of our availability to all that He makes available to us.
The exchanged life is a Spirit-controlled life.
Since the exchanged life is a walk of faith, it must be a life that is filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are allowing the Holy Spirit to occupy the whole of our personality with the all sufficiency of Christ.
How wonderful it is to be in such an intimate, personal love relationship with God that everything you need, for any circumstance, is always yours, by the hand of God upon you!
God has given you unlimited resources.
The following is a sermon help that has been used far and wide to illustrate this principle. I can say to my glove, "Glove, pick up this Bible." Somehow, that glove cannot do it. It has all the resources. It has a thumb, four fingers, the shape and form of a hand. Yet, it is unable to do what I command it to do. However, I have another glove that has picked up my Bible dozens of times! When my hand comes into that glove, the glove becomes as strong as my hand. Everything possible to my hand becomes possible to that glove. The glove is simply to clothe the activity of my hand.
God can use any old glove that is reconciled to Him, and reserved for His use.
Now, in the Christian life that is what it is to have Christ, by His Holy Spirit, dwelling within your redeemed humanity. You are the glove; Christ is the Hand! Everything that is possible to Him becomes possible to you.
The presence of the living Christ, by His Spirit within you, imparts to you all the things that pertain to life and goodness. Christ has provided for you all that you need to live a life of righteousness.
We were in the bondage of sin and Jesus came and set us free. We were overwhelmed by sorrows of sin and Jesus filled our hearts with gladness and songs in the night.
Those who wait upon the Lord
The ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah described a situation in which the people of Israel felt powerless to accomplish God's purposes. The prophet sought to remind them of the Everlasting God who never becomes weary or tired. He is never lacking in wisdom or power to accomplish His eternal purposes. Though we become weary and tired and stumble badly, he reminds us "those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isa. 40:31). The King James and the New American Standard translations read, "Those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength . . ."
Isaiah uses a beautiful word in the original (qavah, kaw-vaw') to describe the unique relationship between the LORD God and His people who walk by faith. The word translated "wait" or "hope" in the original has the idea to bind together (perhaps by twisting), i.e., collect or gather (together).
Isaiah pictures the workers picking up cords of hemp or flax and then pulling and twisting them together, one after another until he has plaited a strong rope or cable. They pulled the hemp and wrapped it around other pieces of hemp to form a strong rope.
For those who patiently wait upon the LORD He wraps His strength around our stand of life and gives us inner strength. We can live above the chances, the changes and circumstances of life. We exchange our weakness for His strength. We can only get that strength by waiting upon Him and wrapping ourselves around Him and drawing our strength from Him.
Christ died not only to save you from sins in the past, not only to give you eternal life so you will go to heaven, but also to give you His resurrection life today! He gives you His strength for your weakness! He gives you His wisdom for your foolishness. He gives you His grace for your greed. He gives you His love for your lust. He gives you His peace for your conflicts. He gives His joy for your sorrows. He gives you forgiveness for your guilt. He gives you His plenty for your poverty.
Christ in you
Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us. That is a truth. Are you resting in it?
The Lord Jesus gives grace as we need it, not before hand. We don't get grace for the hour of death until that hour arrives. But He does not fail us when it comes! His grace is available for us to draw as our burdens in life increase. He gives His strength as our work demands it. When I am weak, He is strong. When I am weak I draw from His infinite strength. He gives more grace as our labors increase. That is His nature.
The power we need to serve Him comes in abundant supply from Him. When we are afflicted, He gives us more grace to endure. When we feel crushed, He sustains us by giving more grace.
When the fires of persecution burn hot against us He gives more grace. When we are struck down from every side His grace has no limit. His grace endures and we receive more grace to deliver us.
God does not measure out must a little bit of love to us and refuse to give more. He gives love and keeps on giving it in our time of need.
His infinite power is unlimited. His power is perfected in your weakness. The grace of Jesus Christ is all sufficient for you regardless of your need. He is an all sufficient Savior. His compassions fail not. When you feel like your inner person is drying up He gives more grace and your inner person is renewed day by day.
Have you experienced this kind of grace? Have you come to a place in your spiritual life where you can say I am walking in that grace by faith? It is a daily walk. It is not something magical. It is a moment by moment trusting Christ to live His life through you. If you are already a Christian will you commit your life once and for all to Christ as Lord of your life? Just pray, "Lord I do know you as my Savior. I want you to be the Lord and Master of my life. Here is my life. I give it to you. You live it through me."
This kind of life begins by asking Christ to come into your heart by faith. If you have never done so pray with me this simple prayer, "Lord Jesus I now believe that I am a sinner, and that you died for me on the cross and rose from the dead to save me. I want you to be by personal Savior. I ask you to save me right now. Amen."