Archive for Exchanged Life

“Everything . . . Springs From This Bloody Cross”

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Cor. 5:21

The Great Exchange is that wonderful one-sided trade of our sins, inadequacies, and numerous failings for Christ’s forgiveness, sufficiency, and triumphal victory. The greatest of all exchanges happened on Calvary’s Hill, Jesus Christ who was truly innocent and without sin, took upon himself all our petty selfishness, deep rebellion, and soul-rending brokenness and then substituted his perfect righteousness, unfailing forgiveness, and spirit-renewing healing. The exchanged life is not a one time event, but a life lived on a daily basis by faith. Each day, the Gospel reminds us that we are forgiven in Christ because of his most gracious grace (2 Cor. 5: 21; Gal. 2:20).

Everything that we know and appreciate and praise God for in all Christian experience both in this life and in the life to come springs from this bloody cross.

Do we have the gift of the Spirit? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we enjoy the fellowship of saints? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Does he give us comfort in life and death? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Does he watch over us faithfully, providentially, graciously, and covenantally? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we have hope of a heaven to come? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we anticipate resurrection bodies on the last day? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Is there a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we now enjoy new identities, so that we are no longer to see ourselves as nothing but failures, moral pariahs, disappointments to our parents—but deeply loved, blood-bought, human beings, redeemed by Christ, declared just by God himself, owing to the fact that God himself presented his Son Jesus as the propitiation for our sins? All this is secured by Christ on the cross and granted to those who have faith in him.”

D. A. Carson, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 70-71.

 

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It Should Have Happened to Me

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a ulamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

Isa. 53:7

A just judgment that is what we deserve: our selfishness, pride, and anger have pained God and hurt others. Without a reason why, we run roughshod over others needs, we ignore God’s commands, we indulge our passions, and demand our way no matter the cost. Even when others are hurting more, need compassion, and help, we want our way, or no way.

Punishment is what is required for our self-indulgent behavior, conceited attitude, and insensitive actions. Yet, Christ took our place, bore our judgment, and suffered our well-deserved punishment. Christ’s sufferings should have happened to us, but he paid the price for our selfishness and pride. The cross should have happened to us, but out of love, Christ bore our just judgment.

Every time a Jewish man watched the priest slaughter a sacrificial lamb for him and his family, he knew that an innocent, beautiful creature was taking their place–suffering the fate they should they should have suffered for their sins. There could be no escaping the awareness that the magnitude of their sin required such a death. Just before the sacrifice, the worshiper who presented who presented the lamb laid both of his hands on it. By his touch, he signified that he understood the exchange: What happened to the lamb should have happened to me. 

Jesus Christ is God’s Lamb for you and me. And as we come to the cross, let us come humbly, laying trembling hands upon the Lamb. He will hear us whisper through our tears: “What happened to you, Lord Jesus, should have happened to me.”

Let us remember, too, that one day–and for all eternity thereafter–this sinless, spotless Lamb who was slain will reign–receiving all praise, honor, glory, and power.

Michael Card, A Violent Grace (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2000), 129.

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One Answer to Every Human Need

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Heb. 1:1-2 ESV

Often our problems are complex, our lives frustrating, and our lifestyles lonely. We look for answers, we long for solutions, and we struggle for meaning. Yet, Christ calls, “come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden” (Matt. 10: 28-32) and, “whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). Christ is still the solution to our problems, the answer to our need, and the lover of our souls who fills our lives with meaning.

God makes it quite clear in His Word that He has only one answer to every human need — His Son, Jesus Christ. In all His dealings with us He works by taking us out of the way and substituting Christ in our place. The Son of God died instead of us for our forgiveness: He lives instead of us for our deliverance.

So we can speak of two substitutions — a Substitute on the Cross who secures our forgiveness and a Substitute within who secures our victory. It will help us greatly, and save us from much confusion, if we keep constantly before us this fact, that God will answer all our questions in one way only, namely, by showing us more of His Son.

Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life (Fort Washington, PA: CLC, 1985), 12.

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Love Lustres at Calvary

Love Shines in All Its Splendor at Calvary

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Cor. 5:21 ESV

As Good Friday approaches, we rejoice in the greatest event in the history of humankind. Here at Golgotha, God the Father, proved his love for us. Here, God the Son, took our place and received our just condemnation. Here, God the Holy Spirit, drew us to saving faith and deep repentance. Here, God’s grace is magnified as greater than our sin. Here, the mercy of God and the holiness of God met and kissed one another fulfilling the conditions of God’s justice and grace. Here at Calvary, the Holy Trinity’s love is displayed to the world.

The Puritan prayer, “Love Lustres at Calvary,” describes this great exchange: we receive Christ’s holiness and forgiveness while Christ takes upon himself our guilt and just judgment. As an act of love, God gladly made this unfair, one sided trade of our selfishness and pride for Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Therefore, we can live a life of intimacy with the Father because Christ has made all things right. This great exchange means that we can live on a daily basis an exchanged life of victory.

At Calvary, the greatest of all exchanges occurred. Jesus Christ, the one who is fully man and fully God, truly innocent and without sin, took upon himself all our selfishness, rebellion, and hate and substituted his righteousness, forgiveness, and love. Christ bore the just judgment of God for our miserable sins, guilt, and shame. Some theologians call this act, double imputation. I call it glory.

We can daily live the exchanged life because Christ by his gracious grace made the exchange of our sins for his righteousness on the Cross. The exchanged life is not a one-time act, but a lifestyle lived as we abide in Christ, trusting the Holy Spirit to live Christ’s life in and through us.

Love Lustres at Calvary

My Father,

Enlarge my heart, warm my affections,

open my lips,

supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres at Calvary.’

There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son,

made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;

There the sword of thy justice smote the man,

thy fellow;

There thy infinite attributes were magnified,

and infinite atonement was made;

There infinite punishment was due,

and infinite punishment was endured.

Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,

cast off that I might be brought in,

trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,

surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best,

stripped that I might be clothed,

wounded that I might be healed,

athirst that I might drink,

tormented that I might be comforted,

made a shame that I might inherit glory,

entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,

groaned that I might have endless song,

endured all pain that I might have unfading health,

bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,

bowed his head that I might uplift mine,

experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,

closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,

expired that I might for ever live.

O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,

All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;

Help me to adore thee by lips and life.

O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,

my every step buoyant with delight, as I see my enemies crushed,

Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,

sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,

hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open.

Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

Arthur Bennett, ed., Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers (Carlisle, Penn.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 76.

 

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Simple Faith

Simple Faith Pleases

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Heb. 11:6 NLT

Faith is a response of the heart which receives what God has already done for us in Christ. Faith is relying on God’s character, standing on God’s promises, believing God’s Cross, and obeying God’s Spirit with a certainty that surpasses physical sight and human reasoning. Faith ignores bad circumstances, negative feelings, or discouraging thoughts to stand on God’s word and walk in his ways (Isa. 55:8-9). In short, faith simply believes what God says is true.

Just as salvation is by faith, so also is the exchanged life. Just as we accept the Lord Jesus by faith as Savior, so by simple faith we receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Just as we took the Lord as our sin-bearer, we take the Holy Spirit as our burden-bearer. Just as we take the Savior as our penalty for sins that are past, we take the Holy Spirit for power over indwelling sins that are present.

The Savior is our atonement, the Holy Spirit is our advocate. In salvation we receive newness of life, by the Holy Spirit we find life more abundant. In each case the appropriation is by faith, and by faith alone, wholly apart from any feeling on our part.

V. Raymond Edman, They Found the Secret: Twenty Lives That Reveal a Touch of Eternity (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 152.

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“Do Not Despair Then, O Faithful Soul”

Jesus Bore Our Just Judgment

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

As a pastor, I counsel with many believers we have experienced an unexpected and difficult hardship. In many cases, they somehow have decided in their minds that the bad event happened because God was judging them for a past sin (Rom. 8:31-32). They assumed that the Christian life is based on performance. Since, they did not perform according to expectations, God must be out to get them. However, Christ died taking upon himself our just judgment (Isa. 53:5). The Cross dealt with all our past, present, and future sins (Rom. 4:5, 7-8). We need not live under the shame and guilt of a past failure (Rom. 4:25). Christ bore our retribution on that awful and awesome tree (Gal. 3:13-14).

Bad things that happen to the Christian believers are not God’s judgment, but the painful result of continuing to live this life in a fallen world (2 Cor. 4:16-18). Gratefully, the pain and sorrows that we experience can be redeemed by God’s grace and used by the Holy Spirit for our greater good (Rom. 8:28). As we thank God for our trials and tribulations, Christlike transformation can be our experience (Rom. 8:17).

Christ has been judged in order to free us from the judgment of God. He has been prosecuted as a criminal so that we criminals may be pardoned. He has been scourged by godless hands to take away from us the scourge of the devil. He called out in pain in order to save us from eternal wailing. He poured out tears so that he could wipe away our tears.

He has died for us to live. He felt the pains of hell through and through, so that we might never feel them. He was humiliated in order to bring forth the medicine for our pride; was crowned with thorns, in order to obtain for us the heavenly crown.

He has suffered at the hands of all so that he might furnish salvation for all. He was darkened in death so that we would live in the light of heavenly glory. He heard disgust and contempt so that we might hear the angelic jubilation in heaven.

Do not despair then, O faithful soul.

Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations VII

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Change or an Exchange?

What is the Exchanged Life?

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Col. 3:3

The Exchanged Life is practical day-by-day trusting in an all-sufficient Christ who lives within us by an all-powerful and sufficient Holy Spirit. This same Holy Spirit enables us to live the life of Christ in a world gone mad. Christ’s life is our life when we receive his life by faith. As Christ lives his life in and through us, our life becomes an abundant life. As a result, our  Christian lives becomes lives of spontaneous joy. Joy is that deep, supernatural fulfillment that comes in knowing that we are experiencing and expressing the one who is true satisfaction, Jesus Christ. Joy is knowing that we are unconditionally loved, graciously forgiven, and eternally kept. Joy is released in our lives when we cultivate Christ’s conscious, constant presence. The Exchanged Life is the direct daily application of the Great Exchange—a continual substitution of our weaknesses, shortcomings, and failures for Christ’s strength, adequacy, and victory. The Exchanged Life is Christ changing us from within:

You can never have a changed life until you experience the exchanged life. Christians are continually trying to change their lives; but God calls us to experience the exchanged life.

Bob George, Classic Christianity: Life’s Too Short to Miss the Real Thing (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1989), 108.

The exchanged life is passive in that Christ works in us, but it is active for Christ empowers us to make righteous right choices. We must choose to walk in the Spirit, put on the new man, and trust our heavenly Father’s guidance and direction. As we maintain the confident expectation that God will be faithful to his promises, then we can anticipate and expect his gracious exchange of our weaknesses for his strength.

Brothers and sisters, victory has to do with an exchanged life, not a changed life. Victory does not mean that one is changed, but rather that one is exchanged. We are very familiar with Galatians 2:20, which says, “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith in the Son of God.”

The overcoming life is not a change but an exchange. If it were up to you, you could not make it. But if it is up to Christ, He can make it. The question is whether it is you or Christ who overcomes. If Christ overcomes, it would not matter even if you were ten times worse than you are now . . . .

Thank and praise the Lord. We have not been able to change ourselves for all these years. Now God is making an exchange. This is the meaning of holiness. This is the meaning of perfection. This is the meaning of victory. This is the life of the Son of God! Hallelujah! From now on Christ’s meekness becomes my meekness. His holiness becomes my holiness. From now on His prayer life becomes my prayer life. His fellowship with God becomes my fellowship with God. From now on there is no sin too great for me to overcome. There is no temptation too great for me to withstand. Victory is Christ; it is no longer I! Is there any sin too great for Christ to overcome? Is there any temptation too great for Christ to surmount? Thank and praise the Lord! I am not afraid anymore! From now on, it is no longer I but Christ.

Watchman Nee, The Life That Wins (New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers, 1986), 35.

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Oh No, Not Me! I Didn’t Do It.

repentance

The Human Heart (Chapter Ten)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer. 17:9 KJV).

Our Hearts

Chapter ten of Roy Hession’s’ The Calvary Road addresses the human heart. A heart affected by the Fall is deceitful, conniving, prideful, and defensive (Mark 7:21-22). We protest as innocent when God reveals, convicts, and corrects the foolishness conceived within our hearts. We deny, obfuscate, and protest when our actions manifest our selfishness to others. “How often have not we, too, protested our innocence on the many occasions when God has been convicting others, and when He has wanted to convict us too” (pg. 108). We cover up our sinful struggles assuming that if we do not confess our moral failings, then God will not know about our sinful indiscretions (Ezek. 21:24).

Cover-Up

We do not confess our failures. We worry that if others know, then God will know, how terrible we really are on the inside. We assume that God will reject us if our secret sins are exposed. We avoid being honest with God and ourselves for fear that love and forgiveness will not be found if the true condition of hearts were known. We wrongly assume that God’s love is conditional based on our good behavior. Therefore, we do not call sin, “sin.” We protest our innocence even though we know that our lives do not measure up to God’s holy standards. One more sin, one more failure, one more shortcoming, we cannot and will not admit. Our failures overwhelm us for we did not have the willpower or the energy to fix it (1 John 1:8).

Defensive

God has said that we are self-centered, prideful, and dishonest, yet we continue to defend ourselves. Not only are we dishonest with God, we defend our friends, and loved ones from the Holy Spirit’s conviction as well.

There is yet another error we fall into, when we are not willing to recognize the truth of what God says of the human heart. Not only do we protest our own innocence, but we often protest the innocence of our loved ones. We hate to see them being convicted and humbled and we hasten to defend them. We do not want them to confess anything. We are not only living in a realm of illusion about ourselves, but about them too, and we fear to have it shattered. But we are only defending them against God – making God a liar on their behalf, as we do on our own, and keeping them from entering into blessing, as we do ourselves (pg. 110).

Righteousness of Christ

We assume that our performance of the Christian life is the measure by which God accepts us into his kingdom. We are sure that we have forfeited God’s acceptance by our disobedience. Our hearts condemns us, therefore we assume that we are condemned by God. However, one truth stands forth above all others for us as believers: the only righteousness that exists in our lives is the righteousness of Christ. Christ’s righteousness was imputed (and imparted) to us when we believed that Christ’s terrible death on the Cross was punishment for our sin (Gal. 3:10-14).

Christians are not made righteous by doing righteous things, but being made righteous by faith in Christ, they do righteous things.

[Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians, CD-Rom (Simpsonville SC: Christian Classics Foundation, 1996), 3:11.]

The Great Exchange

We received God’s forgiveness and Christ’s righteousness not based on our personal performance, but because of Christ’s beautiful performance on the Cross. This beautiful exchange of my sin for his righteousness is the Gospel (2 Cor. 5:21).

The simple truth is that the only beautiful thing about the Christian is Jesus Christ. God wants us to recognize that fact as true in our experience, so that in true brokenness and self-despair we shall allow Jesus Christ to be our righteousness and holiness and all in all – and that is victory (pg. 107).

This wonderful exchanged is the one-sided trade of my sins, inadequacies, and numerous failings for Christ’s forgiveness, life-sufficiency, and overcoming victory. Ultimately, the greatest of all exchanges is Jesus Christ, the one who is fully man and fully God, truly innocent and without sin, taking upon himself at Golgotha all my selfishness, rebellion, brokenness, and hatred by substituting his righteousness, forgiveness, restoration and love. We can live the exchanged life because Christ by his gracious grace made the Great Exchange of my sin for his righteousness on the Cross (Gal. 2:20).

Abundant Grace

Because of the Cross, our lives are lived in a state of grace. We receive all the blessings of Christ’s obedience as if these great acts were our own. Because of grace, the Christian life is not a performance based on moralism and legalism, but a life lived in God’s acceptance.

No one can understand the message of Scripture who does not know the meaning of grace. The God of the Bible is ‘the God of all grace’ (1 Pet. 5:10). Grace is love, but love of a special sort. It is love which stoops and sacrifices and serves, love which is kind to the unkind, and generous to the ungrateful and undeserving. Grace is God’s free and unmerited favor, loving the unlovable, seeking the fugitive, rescuing the hopeless, and lifting the beggar from the dunghill to make him sit among princes.

[John Stott, Understanding the Bible, Revised (London: Scripture Union, 1984), 127.]

Since we are saved by grace and not by our performance, we are now free to be brutally honest with God (Eph. 2:8-9). We can say with David,

Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight, that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest and be clear when Thou judgest” (Psalm 51:4 KJV). Let us not fear then, to make such a confession where God convicts us that we must, thinking that it will “let Jesus down.” Rather the reverse is true, for out of such confession God gets glory, for we declare Him to be right (pg. 112).

The Gospel for Everyday

We learn to apply the gospel not only to my salvation experience, but also to my on-going growth in Christ (Rom. 8:1-4). As Jerry Bridges has noted,

The gospel applied every day to our hearts, frees us to be brutally honest with ourselves and with God. The assurance of His total forgiveness through Christ’s blood means that we don’t have to play defensive games anymore. We don’t have to rationalize and excuse our sins. We can say that we told a lie instead of continuing to blame others for our emotional distress. We can call sin exactly what it is, however ugly and shameful it may be, because we know Jesus bore that sin in His body on the cross. We have no reason to hide from our sins anymore.

[Jerry Bridges, Holiness Day by Day (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2008), 25.]

Brokenness Though the Cross

Thank God, we know longer have to pretend, cover up or hide from our sins and failures. We no longer have to fake a victory that does not exist. We no longer have to act holy when we know that we are behaving badly. Because of the Cross, we can come to a place of brokenness–a place where all my sins can be washed away by the blood of the Lamb.

A man never comes to this position of brokenness, but God shows him the Divine Lamb on Calvary‘s Cross, putting away his sin by the shedding of His Blood. The God who declares beforehand what we are, provides beforehand for our sin. Jesus was the Lamb slain for our sins from the foundation of the world. In Him, who bore them in meekness, my sins are finished. And as I, in true brokenness, confess them, and put my faith in His Blood, they are cleansed and gone. Peace with God then comes into my heart, fellowship with God is immediately restored, and I walk with Him in white (pg. 113).

With this post, we conclude our study of personal revival as taught by Roy Hession in his classic work, The Calvary Road.

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Daily Choices that Matter

The Daily Choice: Reacting or Responding (Chapter Four)

We continue our study of Roy Hession’s classic work on personal revival, The Calvary Road by examining a major theme found in chapter four: choices. In order to enjoy the constant, conscious loving presence of our Savior, I must make moment-by-moment choices to trust him. Trusting the Lord means laying down my life, my pride, my selfishness, and trusting his goodness, his wisdom, and his sovereign purposes (Phil.1:27-30). I choose to trust my Lord with people and their attitudes, circumstances and their disruptions, and situations and their disappointments (Heb. 11:6).

Holiness consists of daily yielding to God my experiences of the Fallout of the Fall: sinning people, selfish actions, broken things, and disrupted plans (Phil. 3:7-8). The issue of holiness is not what people do to me, but how I respond to their fallenness (Heb. 12:14-15). My choice: respond by thanking the Lord for difficult people and situations or react with burning anger toward God and others over my frustrating circumstances.

Amy Carmichael says that nothing anyone can do to us can injure us unless we allow it to cause a wrong reaction in our spirits. Only our reaction can bless or burn.

Paul Billheimer, Mystery of God’s Providence (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1983), 15.

Hession emphasizes that God sovereignly uses people’s faults to challenge our own unbrokenness. My pride, stubbornness, and selfishness are revealed when I feel slighted and overlooked. Do I get angry when I am not praised? Do I get easily offended when people do not do what I want? Do I harbor ill feelings when others do not recognize my efforts?

Do not let us imagine that we have to be broken only once as we go through the door. Ever after, it will be a constant choice before us. God brings His pressure to bear on us, but we have to make the choice. If someone hurts and slights us, we immediately have the choice of accepting the slight as a means of grace to humble us lower or we can resist it and stiffen our necks again with all the disturbance of spirit that that is bound to bring. Right the way through the day our brokenness will be tested, and it is no use our pretending we are broken before God if we are not broken in our attitude to those around us. God nearly always tests us through other people. There are no second causes for the Christian. God’s will is made known in His providence, and His providences are so often others with their many demands on us. If you find yourself in a patch of unbrokenness, the only way is to go afresh to Calvary and see Christ broken for you and you will come away willing to be broken for Him (Hession, The Calvary Road, pg. 49).

Emotionally reacting to my circumstances resists and rejects God’s working in the midst of my disappointment. My reacting leads to anger deepening into a bitter and unteachable spirit. My frustration and impatience expresses disbelief in God’s sovereign working in my daily affairs.

It is almost terrible to live with these thoughts pressing on one’s heart – that one can never speak a word, never transact a piece of business, that one’s face is never seen lighted up with the radiance of God, or clouded and despondent, without it being harder or easier for other men to live a good life. Every one of us, every day, resembles Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made other men sin; or we are lifting other men into the light, and peace, and joy of God. No man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself; but the life of every one is telling upon an increasing number of mankind. What a solemn responsibility it is to live!

F. B. Meyer, Devotional Commentary on Philippians (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1979), 116.

Responding is trust. I believe that my Heavenly Father has a divine appointment in my various trials and tribulations. I counter my flesh and believe God’s goodness by trusting his sovereign hand in the baffling and trying times. I may not understand “why,” but I choose to trust God, my Heavenly Father, who is good, loving, and gracious. I believe that my Lord has my best in mind and he is not rejecting me by allowing difficulties. Responding comes forth from a thankful heart drawing me into the Holy Spirit’s wellspring of grace. Responding says “yes” to God in my daily circumstances and looks for opportunities to grow in my intimate love relationship with Christ (James 4:6).

We must see our circumstances through God’s love instead of, as we are prone to do, seeing God’s love through our circumstances.

Jerry Bridges, Christian Quote of the Day website, daily email, May 21, 2005.

It is God’s grace that enables us to make righteous choices throughout the day (2 Cor. 12:9-10, Titus 2:11-14). Sanctifying grace is Jesus being the desire, ability, and power in me to respond to every life situation according to the will of God. Jesus is my desire for he works in me a hunger for holiness. Jesus is my ability for he enables me to make godly decisions and choices. Jesus is my power for he strengthens me to overcome the world, the flesh, sin, death, and the devil. Grace is the person, Jesus, living his life in and through me empowering me to live a righteous and holy life.

DeVern Fromke, Life’s Ultimate Privilege (Cloverdale, Ind.: Sure Foundation, 1986), 118.

My daily choices matter –my choices are the difference between abiding and sinning.

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The Exchanged Life

The Exchanged Life

The Exchanged Life is the one-sided trade of my sins, inadequacies, and numerous failings for Christ’s forgiveness, life-sufficiency, and overcoming victory. Ultimately, the greatest of all exchanges is Jesus Christ, the one who is fully man and fully God, truly innocent and without sin, taking upon himself at Golgotha all my selfishness, rebellion, sin and hatred and substituting his righteousness, forgiveness, restoration and love. I can live the Exchanged Life because Christ by his gracious grace made the Great Exchange of my sin for his righteousness on the Cross.

At the foundation of the Christian life lies vicarious atonement, which in essence is a transfer of guilt from the sinner to the Saviour. I well know how vigorously this idea is attacked by non-Christians, but I also know that the wise of this world in their pride often miss the treasures which the simple-hearted find on their knees; and I also remember the words of the apostle: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Cor 5:21, NLT).

This is too plain to miss for anyone who is not willfully blind: Christ by His death on the cross made it possible for the sinner to exchange his sin for Christ’s righteousness. It’s that simple. No one is compelled to accept it, but at least that is what it means.

A. W. Tozer, That Incredible Christian (Harrisburg, Penn: Christian Publications, 1964), 32.

The Exchanged Life is practical day-by-day trusting in an all-sufficient Christ who lives within me by an all-powerful Holy Spirit. This same Holy Spirit enables me to live the life of Christ in a world gone mad. Christ’s life is my life when I receive his life by faith. As Christ lives his life in and through my life, my life becomes an abundant life. As a result, my Christian life becomes a life of spontaneous joy. Joy is that deep, supernatural fulfillment that comes in knowing that I am experiencing and expressing the one who is true satisfaction, Jesus Christ. Joy is knowing that I am unconditionally loved, graciously forgiven, and eternally kept. Joy is released in my life when I cultivate Christ’s conscious, constant presence. The Exchanged Life is the direct daily application of the Great Exchange—a continual substitution of my weaknesses, shortcomings, and failures for Christ’s strength, adequacy, and victory. The Exchanged Life is Christ changing me:

You can never have a changed life until you experience the exchanged life. Christians are continually trying to change their lives; but God calls us to experience the exchanged life.

Bob George, Classic Christianity: Life’s Too Short to Miss the Real Thing (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1989), 108.

The exchanged life is passive in that Christ works in me, but it is active for Christ empowers me to make righteous right choices. I must choose to walk in the Spirit, put on the new man, and trust my heavenly Father’s guidance and direction. As I maintain the confidant expectation that God will be faithful to his promises, then I can anticipate and expect his gracious exchange of my weaknesses for his strength.

But those who wait (or hope) on the Lord shall renew (Hebrew: exchange) their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isa. 40:31, NKJV).

The Great Exchange of the innocent, sinless Christ who takes my judgment upon himself is the greatest act of love and grace in the history of humankind. Below is a list of the wonderful benefits of God’s most gracious act—the death of Christ upon the Cross.

The Benefits of the Cross

He was born to die, so I could be born to new life.

He suffered temptation, so I can experience victory.

He was betrayed, so I might know his faithfulness.

He was arrested and bound, so I could be rescued from bondage.

He stood trial alone, so I might have an advocate.

He was wounded, so I could be healed.

He endured mockery, so I could know dignity and joy.

He was condemned, so the truth could set me free.

He was crowned with thorns, so I might crown him with praise.

He was nailed to the Cross, so I might escape judgment.

He was stretched out between thieves, so I could know the reach of his love.

He suffered thirst, so I can drink living water.

He said, “It is finished,” so I could walk by faith.

He was God’s Lamb, Slain, so I could claim His sacrifice as my own.

He was forsaken by the Father, so I would never be rejected.

He chose the shame of weakness, so I can know the hope of glory.

He shed his blood, so I can be white as snow.

Michael Card, A Violent Grace (Sisters, Ore: Multnomah Publishers, 2000).

When I believe and receive the benefits of the Cross, my act of faith is most pleasing to God. For I take the Lord at his word, I recognize that the Cross is the great expression of his unconditional love. I will bring joy to God’s heart if I allow him to live his life in and through me. Christ in me, Christ through me, Christ upon me and Christ ever before me that is the Exchanged Life. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9, NIV).

It is a marvelous thing to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but a more marvelous thing to know that He is the Son of God in me.

Oswald Chambers, The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers (Grand Rapids, Mich: Discovery House Publishers), 482.

Let us pray:

Grant, O Lord, that in your wounds I may find my safety, in your stripes my cure, in your pain my peace, in your cross my victory, in your resurrection my triumph, and a crown of righteousness in the glories of your eternal kingdom.

Jeremy Taylor quoted in The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers

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