1076. The Great Exchange

For followers of Jesus Christ, a great exchange has already taken place, but Satan has likely kept you from realizing it.

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

The ways of Jesus are consistently the opposite of the ways of the world, and for some, this is a source of frequent frustration. It seems like Jesus is putting before us standards that we’ll never attain, especially in His Sermon on the Mount. Too often, our response to His extremely high standards is to recognize their impossibility and, therefore, ignore them, content in the belief that Jesus is happy with the commands we do obey. Every time we hear another Sunday message based on the Sermon on the Mount, we shift into “this really doesn’t apply to me” mode and hope that the message will end soon.

Whenever this happens, it’s a sign that we are relegating Jesus to the role of teacher and nothing more. We see his teaching style as one of tantalizing us with standards we’ll never reach. It’s also a sign that we haven’t really embraced the full scope of what it is for Him to be our savior. Jesus didn’t come merely to be our teacher. He came to make us what He teaches us to be. His plan for us wasn’t to learn how to conform to His standards. The Law revealed how futile that was for Israel. His plan was far greater and infinitely more effective. As long as we think, in our self-righteousness, that we can obey our Lord’s teachings, God will allow us to continue on that road until we fall flat on our face, finally realizing just how powerless we are.

 

AS I SEE IT

When we get to the place where we lose all hope in ourselves, our ability, our resourcefulness, and our self-determination, we are finally in the position to understand Jesus’ first “opposite world” statement in His Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3)

We work all our lives to do just the opposite, at least from a worldly perspective. We gear our entire lives around moving from poor to rich, from poverty to wealth. Yet, all of a sudden, we get it. We finally understand that if Jesus doesn’t do something miraculous, we’re doomed, and Jesus is delighted to do just that. He has no interest in showing us a better method or how to be more efficient with our time and talents. He wants us to finally understand that He is the way (John 14:6). He doesn’t show us the way or explain the way. He is the way.

His plan has always been one of replacement, not improvement. The old person we used to be could never meet Jesus’ righteous standards. The only One who could meet them was and is Jesus Himself. That’s why His plan was to infuse His life into our bodies. He replaced the person we used to be with Himself via the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. His is the only life within us.

This wonderful transaction happened the moment we were born again. Satan, through our flesh, has convinced us that the old person we used to be is still very much alive and capable of living the Christian life. Most of us have to come to the end of ourselves before we’re able to understand the magnitude of the great exchange that has already taken place in the lives of Christ’s followers. We exchanged our old sin-filled lives for the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). We have been made to be the very things Jesus taught us to be.

Oh, the matchless grace of God! He does everything for us. H has replaced our life with the life of His Son. Through Christ in us, God has given us His Own righteousness. Do you get it? We have become the righteousness of God. Hallelujah!

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