Monthly Archives: November 2015

An Exchanged Life

One of my dear friends, who has long been in Christian ministry, told me that she and her husband have changed the way they present the gospel.  Their daughter had believed in Jesus as a child and had long called him Savior, but she has dated her salvation to the day when, as an adult, she surrendered the Lordship of her life to Jesus.

What is salvation?  Is it not forgiveness and the way into an everlasting relationship with the Lord of Heaven, the Savior God, through the redemptive work of his son, the Lord Jesus Christ?  What is it we need forgiveness for?  Is it not the breaking of the first commandment – you shall have no other Gods before me?  Do we not break that law every time, as rebellious children, we say to God, I am the boss of me?  Is that attitude not evidence self is God?

I am currently reading Watchman Nee’s book, The Normal Christian Life.  In it he writes, “How good it is to have the consciousness that we belong to the Lord and are not our own! There is nothing more precious in the world. It is that which brings the awareness of his continual presence, and the reason is obvious. I must first have the sense of God’s possession of me before I can have the sense of his presence with me. When once his ownership is established, then I dare do nothing in my own interests, for I am his exclusive property…The trouble with many Christians today is that they have an insufficient idea of what God is asking of them…Do you not know that God is asking of you your very life? …Not until we take the place of a servant can he take his place as Lord.”

Jesus said that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that whosoever believed in him might have everlasting life.  (John 3;16)

Are we too familiar with the word believe?  Do we use it glibly?    If God is God, then I am not my own Lord. I can say I believe Jesus Christ is God, but I deny my own espoused belief every time I choose my way, instead of his.  I think the result of genuine belief is death, my own life nailed to the cross with Jesus, as I yield all rights to the One who gave his life for my salvation.

When Jesus said we must be born again to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3), didn’t he mean this glorious exchange – my death for his resurrected life in me – my life for his?

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The Root Of Repentance

I have long pondered how one who says he believes in Jesus can also say he does not know how to forgive.   For the Lord Jesus taught that his Father in Heaven would not forgive men their sins unless those men forgave other men their sins toward them.

Recently I read the fictional trilogy, Flight From Stonewycke, by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella.  In the story an old man named Elijah spoke to a younger man, ” …all people, Dermott, must humbly come to the point of being able to forgive others the wrongs they have done them, forgive themselves for their own sin, and even forgive God for what we perceive as the cruel hand of fate working against us….Elijah paused and looked intently at the his young friend.  It is this forgiveness which lies at the root of repentance and opens the way for the life He would give us.”

What grabbed me most was the well articulated thought that forgiveness is the root of the repentance that leads to the gift of LIFE EVERLASTING.

Of what must we repent?  Certainly,  our rights, including our right to demand justice, our right to revenge, our right to withhold mercy and forgiveness.  Giving these rights up is easier when we realize our desperate need for God’s forgiveness, when we realize, that no matter how good we are, we still fall short of God’s Glory, his standard of holiness.

Repentance leads to death, our lives are nailed to the cross with Jesus Christ.  We give up own lives with all our rights, in order that He might rise again in us with his new life.  My life for his.  Your life for his.

In his book, The Normal Christian Life, Watchman Nee says, “We think of the Christian life as a ‘changed life’ but it is not that.  What God offers us is an ‘exchanged life’, a ‘substituted life’, and Christ is our Substitute within.”

Christ forgives.   If Christ lives in me,  then I forgive.   For the life I live is no longer my own but his.  Praise God.

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