Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Exchanged Life




The Exchanged Life…

I have been thinking a lot about the Exchanged Life and how so many miss the mark in their understanding of some very basic biblical truths. Often I have had exchanges with people that end very sad ways as they argue with me over these things. They seem to desire to hang on to what is not true as if it was a talisman that could pull them out of any trouble they may fall into. I often pray for many who have fallen from Grace to works and miss that there is so much more to the Christian Life than they realize.

Don’t get me wrong. These are not stupid or ignorant people. Often they are very educated and can pull out the bible, quote from memory or even are fluent in the original languages. To me this is no real surprise as Jesus spoke directly to people in their own language and they did not understand thing either.

One of the biggest errors people commit is to mistake the written word with the Living Word. Meaning they unintentionally worship the Bible and seek in it the life they desire. The Bible is called the word of Life or the word of truth, yet often most miss it is not the word that gives life or that is “truth” in and of its self, rather it leads us to Truth. Jesus stated such in

John 5: 39. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40. yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Jesus pointed out that knowledge of the written word is not enough, that the Bible cannot give Life. It is only in the Son we have Life. John furthers this thought in his epistle:

1 John 5: 11. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Just recently I was in an argument with a man who professes to be one who has discernment, yet he insisted that one must be saved by what one believes. I tried to point out it is not “what” we believe, but in Whom we believe in.

The second error that many fall into is that the bible is the source of all truth. I have written a lot about Jesus being The Truth. In fact I was taken to task for stating this by some who insist that I am wrong and that Jesus only “taught” truth. Yet, they miss Jesus IS The Truth and that He alone is the source of all Truth just as Jesus is the source of all Life.

Jesus in not a propositional statement, He is a person. With out Jesus the bible fails in being true. For if the bible points to Jesus, then there must be a reason. The reason is that Jesus is the very source from which the bible has any truth in it.

The exchanged life is when we take our faith in our belief and knowledge and exchange it for the Person of Jesus. John Hudson was a missionary to China and is credited as the originator of the phrase “The exchanged life” here is a passage from his diary.

"... God made me a new man! God has made me a new man!" Wonderful was the experience that had come in answer to prayer, yet so simple as almost to baffle description... Do you know, I now think that this striving, longing, hoping for better days to come is not the true way to holiness, happiness or usefulness. It is better, no doubt, far better than being satisfied with poor attainments, but not the best way after all. I have been struck with a passage from a book... entitled Christ is All. It says, "The Lord Jesus received is holiness begun; the Lord Jesus cherished is holiness advancing; the Lord Jesus counted upon as never absent would be holiness complete... "He is most holy who has most of Christ within, and joys most fully in the finished work..." ... To let my loving Savior work in me His will, my sanctification, is what I would live for by His grace. Abiding, not striving nor struggling; looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power... resting in the love of an almighty Savior, in the joy of a complete salvation, "from all sin" -- this is not new, and yet 'tis new to me... Christ literally all seems to me, now, the power, the only power for service, the only ground for unchanging joy... How then to have our faith increased? Only by thinking of all that Jesus is and all He is for us: His life, His death, His work, He Himself as revealed to us in the Word, to be the subject of our constant thoughts. Not a striving to have faith... but a looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need; a resting in the Loved One entirely, for time and eternity. ... I looked to Jesus, and when I saw -- oh, how joy flowed! It was resting in Jesus now, and letting Him do the work -- which makes all the difference. Whenever he spoke in meetings after that, a new power seemed to flow from him, and in the practical things of life a new peace possessed him. Troubles did not worry him as before. He cast everything on God in a new way, and gave more time to prayer. It was the exchanged life that had come to him -- the life that is indeed "No longer I"... It was a blessed reality "Christ liveth in me." And how great the difference! -- instead of bondage, liberty; instead of failure, quiet victories within; instead of fear and weakness, a restful sense of sufficiency in Another.”

You can read more here.

Our salvation comes from the Person of Jesus Christ alone. “Christ is All” is the banner of the believer. My prayer is that we take time to reflect on this important truth.

Hebrews 7: 27. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

There is no other sacrifice to be or that is needed. It was done and finished at the crucifixion and we now have the Life of the resurrection.

Be blessed,
iggy

7 comments:

Pastorboy said...

Just recently I was in an argument with a man who professes to be one who has discernment, yet he insisted that one must be saved by what one believes. I tried to point out it is not “what” we believe, but in Whom we believe in.

What is important here Carlos, I believe, is to make sure that what we believe about Jesus is correct. Like Obama said about lipstick on a pig not changing the nature of the pig, we cannot put lipstick (so to speak) on our beliefs about Jesus and create a different Jesus and still have belief that leads to salvation. Said easier- we MUST believe in the right Jesus! This is where the bible comes in. We must believe what God says about who Jesus is-or we will not be saved. Can we be saved by the Mormon Jesus who was created? NO. Can we be saved by the JW Jesus who is simply A God, not the one true God? NO!

The second error that many fall into is that the bible is the source of all truth. I have written a lot about Jesus being The Truth. In fact I was taken to task for stating this by some who insist that I am wrong and that Jesus only “taught” truth. Yet, they miss Jesus IS The Truth and that He alone is the source of all Truth just as Jesus is the source of all Life.

Jesus is truth, He taught truth, and His word is true. All are correct. The Bible contains God's only words to mankind, so it is the written source of God's truth. God sent Jesus into this world, as incarnate God, and Jesus was (and is) truth, and taught truth. He was God's personal revelation, and most of the Words He spoke that were written down for us to see. God's truth can also be seen in creation; order etc. But the danger is here, Iggy, that people can say the Bible does not contain all truth, and that they got new revelation from God. All of God's revealed word in written form is contained in the Bible.

Jesus in not a propositional statement, He is a person. With out Jesus the bible fails in being true. For if the bible points to Jesus, then there must be a reason. The reason is that Jesus is the very source from which the bible has any truth in it.

Amen, Jesus is pointed to throughout the entire Bible. Jesus is the Truth, the Bible is also written truth, both show God's salvic story, one in a person (Christ) and written down in words. We must believe both what God says about Christ (written in the 66 books of the Bible)) and in Christ (the God-man, Savior) to believe in truth.

iggy said...

PB,

The biggest point you are missing is that the Bible does not lead us in Truth, the Holy Spirit does.

In fact you stated the bible is the difference between the Mormon and JW and the CHristian... yet all use the bible... in fact the Mormons use the same one you do and still do not have the Truth... for the Truth is a Person not a doctrine or book.

iggy

Pastorboy said...

The Holy Spirit guides us in truth, but it is not extra-biblical truth. He illuminates the WOrd which not only point us to Christ, but also in the way we are to walk.

I don't think we are that far apart on this one, iggs

iggy said...

PB,

Thanks for pointing out what I have already stated.

Be blessed,
iggy

Dave said...

Iggy,

You just keep preaching Jesus!

It is very easy for us to become "bibliolators" because we have been taught so strongly that the Bible is holy and perfect. What many forget is that the holiness and the perfection of the Bible are derivative; that is, the Bible is only holy and perfect because the One who gave it is holy and perfect. He never meant for us to worship the Bible - He meant for us to be led by the Bible to worship Him. Jesus is not just another truth, in addition to the Bible, He is Truth (as He said and you say).

In response to pastorboy: of course we cannot be saved by the JW idea of Jesus - because it is a wrong idea. However, their idea is not Jesus. My idea of Jesus is not Jesus. Jesus is a real Person independent of our ideas. We are saved by Jesus alone. He is the grace of God.

And the Bible is not the source of all truth. God is the Source of all truth and He gave us the Bible. Many evangelicals, who would emphatically reject a pope or church tradition as the ultimate source of truth, will limit themselves to the words written in the Bible, rather than walk in a relationship with Jesus (Who, again, is the Truth!) That has led to all kinds of Scripture twisting, proof-texting, and even to the Bible code ideas. The Bible is wonderful, but its place is under Jesus.

Iggy, I liked your post and I hope you just keep on focusing on Jesus. We may be kept from salvation by false doctrine, but we are never saved by right doctrine. We are saved by the blood of Jesus given by the grace of God.

Dave
www.gracefortheheart.org

iggy said...

Dave,

Well stated... in fact I wish I had stated some things as clearly.

When those who confuse the revelational truth with the Revealer, they will have the issue of being "bibliolators". And of course Idolatry dressed up in any for is contrary to the God's will... just as the Law was used wrongly in the OT and Jesus day...

I agree with PB though, you can't put lipstick on a pig or our beliefs and create a different Jesus... yet I am not sure why or where he sees me or others creating a different Jesus... I see where the Jesus that is often preached has been lowered from God to being equal with their own doctrinal views... IOW's I see where people have taking their beliefs and made them equal with God... Often I have in discussions read and understood PB to fight for that position in one breath then state the opposite in the next... so he is a vast confusion of beliefs... so thank God he is not saved by what he believes but by the blood of Jesus. :lol:

Ultimately, we are all wrong. Paul stated so in Romans... God alone is Right. Until that truth sets in, there is not much to say to some.


iggy

Dave said...

Iggy,
I just remembered this quote that I have posted on my website. It seems to fit very well here.

A. W. Tozer on grace for the heart:

"But the evangelical rationalist today is still wearing our uniform. He comes right in wearing our uniform and says what the Pharisees said while Jesus was on earth (and they were His worst enemies), “Well, truth is truth, and if you believe the truth, you’ve got it!”In His day or in our day, such people see no beyond and no mystic depth, no mysterious heights, nothing supernatural or divine. They see only I-believe-in-God-the-Father-Almighty-Maker- of-heaven-and-earth-and-in-Jesus-Christ-His-only-Son-our-Lord. They have the text and the code and the creed, and to them that is the truth. So they pass it on to others. The result is we are dying spiritually.

Now, what about the evangelical mystic? I do not really like the word mystic because you think of a fellow with long hair and a little goatee who acts dreamy and strange. Maybe it is not a good word at all, but I am talking about the spiritual side of things—that the truth is more than the text. There is something that you must get through to. The truth is more than the code. There is a heart beating in the middle of the code and you must get there." (Faith Beyond Reason)

Dave
www.gracefortheheart.org