The Exchanged Life
Believers rejoice when they learn that through Jesus’ sacrificial death, burial and resurrection they receive the complete forgiveness of their sins. At the moment anyone confesses Jesus as his Lord and believes in his resurrection he receives the gift of Holy Spirit and a great exchange takes place. The essence of this remarkable exchange is that a person’s sins are transferred to Christ, and in return his righteousness, which is the righteousness of God, is transferred to the person.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him [Christ] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him [Christ] we might become the righteousness of God.
God established that the consequence of sin is death, and since we have all sinned we all deserve to die. But Jesus died in our place. He not only exchanged our sins for his righteousness, he also willingly died a brutal death on the cross in our stead. Once we are in Christ, we become the righteousness of God, because God imputes Christ’s perfect righteousness to us.
“Thus, the Great Exchange that results from the death of the perfect sacrifice is a twofold substitution: the charging of the believer’s sin to Christ results in God’s forgiveness, and the imputing of Christ’s righteousness to the believer results in his justification.”
This exchange takes place at the moment of the person’s regeneration and it is the greatest gift one could ever receive.
Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead —– having forgiven you all trespasses;
Living on a different level
Despite having received such a wonderful gift from God, far too many Christians fail to thrive in the new realities of God’s forgiveness and grace. The reality is that on the spiritual level, every unsaved person is walking around with a death sentence on his or her head and is merely awaiting execution. Once they are in Christ, that sentence is not only pardoned, they are viewed by The Righteous Judge as being completely free of any wrongdoing and then, amazingly, released to a place even better than anything they ever could have achieved on their own merit. That is grace upon grace!
It is as if we are standing on the gallows, noose around our neck and the executioner’s hand readied to pull the lever. A herald yells, “STOP, the Judge pardons that man, let him go free!” We are ushered down from the place of execution, given gifts, and sent on our way with one instruction, “Go and live up to the grace you have been given.”
The Exchanged Life: the source of powerful believer’s living
The believers who live the Exchanged Life almost seem to have tapped into a secret knowledge, or maybe relatively unknown power source, that only those with a TOP SECRET clearance can have. The truth is there is no “secret knowledge,” but rather believers who live daily in the power of God have responded to the Great Exchange by living the “Exchanged Life.”
Christ died but now lives. Not only is he seated at the right hand of the Father but, because of the nature of the gift of Holy Spirit he has given us, he can now live on earth through us. In the book of Colossians we learn that the gift of Holy Spirit is “Christ in you, the hope of glory .” The Holy Spirit in us is not a sentient being, meaning it does not think or act on it’s own. Rather, it speaks to us only what He hears from our Lord, allowing us to communicate on a spiritual level. We can be His agents, doing His bidding. His desires gradually become the desires of our hearts, and his ways our ways. Instead of being our normal worldly selves: selfish, self-centered, and self-focused, we live according to our new spiritual nature: selfless, Christ-centered, and other-focused. Jesus’ love for the Father was the fuel that fired his passion. When we live the Exchanged Life, it becomes ours too.
The power of the Exchanged Life is that no matter where we are, no matter what situation we are in, it can be just as if Jesus is there. Literally wherever we go, he goes too. We are truly his ambassadors, acting as divine agents of light in a dark and evil world. When we are with someone who is in pain or suffering, we can reach out to them with all the love and compassion of Christ himself because he is there with us via the gift of Holy Spirit. Sometimes we have no idea what a person needs or what we should say, but Jesus knows. Just like when his words pierced the heart of the woman at the well, we too can do the same for people when we allow him to be expressed through us.
Romans 8:11 — And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
Whenever God tells us to do something, He always gives us the ability to do it as we set our minds on what the Spirit desires. Those who practice the Exchanged Life do not live perfect lives by themselves. Rather, they are honest in acknowledging their weaknesses and have a continual dependence on Christ in them. Unfortunately, no matter how often we do so, the “adamic residue in the spirit of our mind” tries to manifest itself anew every day. Over and over again we reaffirm the spiritual reality that he is dead and that “greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). What a wonderful day it will be when we receive our new glorious bodies, bodies that will be just like his, free of the “adamic residue” = (Phil. 3:20, 21).
Not by our power, but his
Paul describes for us how he struggled against great opposition. He pleaded with the Lord for help. Jesus replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” In essence, Jesus said, “It’s not by your power that you will overcome Paul, but by mine. My grace has already accomplished the Great Exchange, now, get out of the way Paul and let me live through you.” Paul responds, saying, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor.12:9 and10). Paul was strong because it was Christ’s strength coming through him. Wow, that is Exchanged Living!
God’s desire is that we respond to His great gift of mercy and grace by living “…up to what we have already attained” (Phil. 3:16). How absolutely amazing it would be if believers everywhere began to live the Exchanged Life!
Jean Claude Shopin.