We are called to discover the “Exchanged Life.” If you wonder what that means, I promise, it is key for you to live a victorious Christian life. Galatians 2:20 has long been one of my favorite passages: “I have been crucified with Christ; therefore, I no longer live, but Jesus Christ now lives inside of me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
This scripture tells us that a real spiritual union takes place in your life when you trust Jesus Christ by faith to come into your heart. His death becomes your death, and His life becomes your life. I love the symbol of believer’s baptism by immersion, as the act of being immersed under the water has always been a picture of entering into Christ’s death and burial. Coming up out of the water is symbolic of the resurrection and how you are raised up with Christ.
When you enter into this union with Jesus, you are crucified with Christ. This means that you die to your old way of life. You are no longer the same. You die to trying to save yourself, because you realize that you are completely in need of the mercy of God. You die to being in control, as you surrender to the will of Christ. You die to sin, because it is no longer your master. Your sin was nailed to the cross with Christ. You should now desire to please your Heavenly Father.
Having died to sin and self, now there is a new life inside of you — “Christ lives in me.” What greater statement could there ever be? Christ lives where? In you! This means that God sees you differently. God can declare that you are now righteous because when He looks upon you, He sees His own Son. He sees the righteousness of Jesus in your life because Christ lives in you. The Father will always look at you through the lens of Christ since you belong to Him.
If God sees you differently in Christ, you must also see yourself differently. You are no longer the same person. You are a new creation in Christ with a new heart. You have passed from death into life. This doesn’t mean you have become perfect, but it does mean you have a new identity as a child of God. When Christ comes in, your primary identity is no longer that of a sinner. Believe it or not, the Bible actually refers to you as a saint. True saints are those who have been identified with Jesus, and have been declared righteous through faith in Christ. The enemy will come to discourage you. He will tempt you into thinking that you are nothing; you are unworthy and unloved by God. In those moments, you must remember who you are. Remember that you are a child of the King, washed in the blood of Christ. You are greatly loved by your Father. Don’t ever forget that or ever let go of that.
The fact that Christ lives in you means that the power of Jesus Christ is available to you. The man who defeated death and rose from the grave is alive in you! The Christian life is not about trying to be like Jesus in your own power, but rather it is about allowing the power of Jesus to live in and through you. You can’t live the Christian life, but He can. Hudson Taylor, the great Christian missionary to China finally discovered this secret of Christ’s life and power after years of feeling like a failure. For years, he believed in Jesus + trying harder. Finally, he realized it was not about trying harder but trusting Christ more and more to live His life through him. True faith lives moment by moment in surrender to Jesus. The exchanged life means you give up your life for His life as you trust Him to live in you! And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at email@example.com or 912-634-2960.