No Longer I

The new elastic case came from Amazon.  Dreading the tedium of setting up the new phone, I figured at least slipping on the case would feel like progress.  I removed it from the package and began to stretch it over the phone.  I failed.  I rededicated myself to trying harder.  For a moment I thought I had it, but I failed again.  I finally realized it would never work because of the size difference between an XS and XR, or something.  I needed to exchange the case.

Exchange is such a part of life.  You exchange your labor for a paycheck, and your paycheck for whatever you need more than money.  You can’t wait to exchange an elected official for one less outrageous.  Maybe you tried exchanging a job or even a spouse for a new shot at success or happiness.

What if you could exchange your life for a better one?  The Christian gospel offers something quite like that.  Even professing Christians can miss this vital point.  Apart from this exchange, you will not know the power of God’s grace.  Listen to Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20).

The 19th C. British missionary Hudson Taylor called this the “exchanged life.”  He discovered this truth when fellow missionary to China John McCarthy wrote to him, “To let my loving Savior work in me His will, my sanctification, is what I would live for by His grace.  Abiding, not striving, not struggling; trusting Him for present power in the conscious joy of a complete salvation.”  Trusting the changing power of Christ is not just for missionaries or preachers.  It is the basic Christian life!

Yet the struggle to live rightly before God is real.  Brenan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel) writes, “Sooner or later we are confronted with the painful truth of our inadequacy.”  Apostle Paul is embarrassingly transparent when he admits nothing good dwells in his humanity and he does not always perform well.  “Wretched!” he says.  Then he thanks Jesus for setting him free from the human condition, and for not condemning him for it. His point is that you can live by the Spirit of Christ in you (Rom. 7, 8).

If it doesn’t work, exchange it.  If you are riding the roller coaster of trying but failing, exchange that ride for the sky lift of living by grace through faith.  For a peaceful life well-lived, set your mind on the Spirit.  Then you will experience the exchanged life lived by faith that says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”