When you became a
Christian a great exchange took place. Jesus Christ
took your place, and died for you on the cross. All
of your sins were placed upon Jesus Christ, and He
died in your stead. In that great transaction Christ
got all your sins and guilt, and you received His
righteousness as your eternal position in Christ.
The Apostle Paul
expressed this great spiritual principle in the
following words. "He (God) made Him (Christ) who
knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might
become the righteousness of God in Him" (II
The Apostle Peter made
the same emphasis when he wrote the following. "For
Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for
the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God,
having been put to death in the flesh, but made
alive in the spirit" (II Peter 3:18). Then he goes
on to say Christ "bore our sins in His body on the
cross, that we might die to sin and live to
righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (I
Peter 2:24). The sinless one died for the sinner.
THE PRINCIPLE OF THE
Jesus died as our
Our right relationship
with God is based upon what Christ did for us on the
cross. Jesus died as our substitute. He took our
place on the cross and paid the penalty for our
sins. The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death,
but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ
Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
We have been saved by
grace through faith. Paul emphatically states, "a
man is not justified by the works of the Law but
through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed
in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith
in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by
the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified."
Justification is a legal
standing with God based upon Christ's death and
resurrection and our faith in Him. The word Paul
uses (dikaioo), comes from Roman legal courts
meaning to declare to be righteous, or to pronounce
righteous. Therefore, justification is the legal and
formal acquittal from guilt by God who is Judge. It
is the pronouncement of the sinner as righteous, who
believes on the Lord Jesus Christ.
I think Billy Graham was
the source of an illustration I used many years ago
that helps us understand justification by faith.
Let's suppose for a moment that I died tonight and
stood before the Lord God who is the Supreme Judge
of the Universe. No doubt He would ask me, "Wil
Pounds, why should I let you into my heaven? You are
a guilty sinner. How do you plead?"
My response would be, "I
plead guilty, Your Honor."
My advocate, Jesus
Christ, who is standing there beside me speaks up
for me. He says, "Your Honor. It is true that Wil
Pounds is a grievous sinner. He is guilty. However,
Father, I died for him on the cross and rose from
the dead. Wil Pounds has put his faith and trust in
Me and all that I have done for Him on the Cross. He
is a believer. I died for him, and he has accepted
Me as his substitute."
The Lord God turns to me
and says, "Is that true?"
I will respond to Him,
"Yes sir! That is the truth. I am claiming the shed
blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse me of all my sins.
I have put my faith in Jesus to save me for all
eternity. This is what You have promised in Your
Word. Jesus said, 'For God so loved the world (and
this includes Wil Pounds), that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should
not perish, but have everlasting life.'"
The Lord God responds:
"Acquitted! By order of this court I demand that you
be set free. The price has been paid in full by My
Furthermore, I get to go
home and live with the Judge!
Justification means that
at the moment of salvation God sovereignly declares
the believing sinner righteous in His sight. The
believing sinner is declared to be righteous in His
standing before God. From that moment on throughout
life, through death, that sinner who has believed is
now and forever right before God. God accepts him,
and he stands acquitted of his sins.
The moment you believed
on Christ as your personal savior something
wonderful happened within you. You became a new
person with anew motivation, new interests and new
principles. The Apostle Paul tells us what happened.
"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new
creature; the old things passed away; behold, new
things have come" (II Corinthians 5:17).
Moreover, something also
happened to you. You were automatically and
instantaneously placed into the family of God. You
didn't necessarily feel different. You didn't hear
the angels sing, or hear voices, but in that moment
you did become a member of God's family.
A new life style follows
conversion because Jesus through His Holy Spirit has
come and taken up residence within you. He desires
to settle down and make Himself at home in your
heart (Cf. Eph. 3:14-21).
It is a radically
different life. Salvation has occurred. I have a new
life in Christ; therefore, my life can not be the
same. I can not live the same way. Because I am in
Christ, my life style is not the same.
Yes, there will be times
when I blow it, but there will be change. Sin comes
from my sinful nature. It will remain there until I
am glorified when Christ comes. The constant tension
will exist between the two natures. (Read Romans
chapter 7; I John 1:6-9.)
The Christian hope is a
living hope for today and for tomorrow. Now that we
are saved by grace through faith Christ wants to
live His life in and through us.
We live the
Christian life by grace through faith.
"As you therefore have
received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
having been firmly rooted and now being built up in
Him and established in your faith, just as you were
instructed, and overflowing with gratitude"
(Colossians 2:6, 7). How did you receive Christ? You
received Him into your heart by grace through faith.
The New International
Version reads, "So then, just as you received Christ
Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and
built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you
were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
The principle of the
exchanged life can be simply stated in the words of
Paul in Galatians 2:20. Paul says, "... not I, but
Christ lives in me." Again he says, "Christ in you
...the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). The Christian
life is the work of God in you. It is your living
faith in the adequacy of the One who is in you. He
releases His divine activity through you.
"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, who
loved me, and delivered Himself up for me" (Gal.
2:20). Literally it reads, "With Christ I have been
co-crucified." When I believed on Christ I was so
united with Christ, so linked with Him, that I am
now so much a part of Him that His crucifixion
positionally becomes my crucifixion. A part of me
died there at the cross. My old carnal nature was
slain there at the cross. Yet, I don't live there in
that death. The life I now live, I live in
resurrection power. Christ's resurrection has become
my resurrection. The life I now live, I live in
faith in the Son of God who gave Himself for me.
Paul admonishes the Roman
believers to "consider (be constantly counting upon
the fact, reckon) yourselves to be dead to sin."
Furthermore in contrast to this co-crucifixion he
adds "but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans
Our lives are identified
with Christ. We are identified with Him in our
baptism, which is a beautiful symbol of His death
and resurrection. It is also a beautiful spiritual
picture of our co-crucifixion, our co-burial and our
co-resurrection with Christ.
If I take a 3x5 card and
place it between the pages in my Bible that card
becomes a part of my Bible. Regardless of where I
take my Bible it goes with it. If I lay my Bible
down somewhere that 3x5 card goes with it. If I lose
my Bible, I lose the 3x5 card. The card is now a
part of my Bible. In the same way, I am now so
identified with Jesus Christ through His death and
resurrection, and the new life the Holy Spirit has
imparted to me that I am in Christ. I go with Him
wherever He goes. (Please read and compare John
10:27-30 and John 15.)
The Apostle Paul's desire
was that he "may be found in Him (Christ), not
having a righteousness of my own derived from the
Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the
righteousness which comes from God on the basis of
faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His
resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings,
being conformed to His death...." (Philippians
"For if, when we were
God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the
death of his Son, how much more, having been
reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"
(Romans 5:10). "For in the gospel a righteousness
from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by
faith from first to last, just as it is written:
'The righteous will live by faith.''' (Romans 1:17,
THE PERSON OF THE
Christ wants to live His
life through us.
It is only the life of
Christ––His activity, clothed with you and displayed
through you, that ultimately will find the approval
of God. The Lord Jesus alone makes our sacrifices
acceptable to God.
Only what Christ does in
you and through you merits God's approval. That is
probably the hardest truth to learn in the Christian
life. Jesus said to His disciples: "I am the vine,
you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in
him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can
do nothing" (John 15:5). Apart from Christ we can do
It is not what I do
We want to do it
ourselves. We want to do it our way. We want to do
it the way we think best. We want to get the credit.
Now that we are saved we think we can do it all in
our own human strength. We even try to conduct His
work in our fleshly, sinful nature. God will have
nothing of it.
God will accept nothing
less than His way! A lot that we have done in the
name of Jesus is going to burn up because we have
done it in the power and motives of the flesh.
The Apostle Paul says:
"According to the grace of God which was given to
me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it. But let each man be
careful how he builds upon it. For no man can lay a
foundation other than the one which is laid, which
is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the
foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood,
hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for
the day will show it, because it is to be revealed
with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality
of each man's work. If any man's work which he has
built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If
any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss;
but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through
fire" (I Cor. 3:10-15).
There is a form of
Christian activity that is all right for immediate
consumption. It impresses everybody. It will draw a
crowd. It will get the applause. However, it will
always leave a stench behind it if it stems from the
flesh! It is self-activity! It makes the flesh smell
great. It will always produce a kind of fruit that
drops, premature and immature, to rot on the ground.
It never will reproduce the fruit of the Holy
THE POWER OF THE
The exchanged life
is a life of faith.
Can any situation
possibly arise, in any circumstances, for which
Christ is not adequate? Can there arise any
pressure, or promise, or any problem, or any
responsibility for which the Lord Jesus Himself is
When I realize the total
adequacy of Christ in me is there any situation for
which He is not adequate? If there is any situation
in which Christ is inadequate then it is a clear
indication that I am not in the will of God.
Christ is limited only by
the measure of our availability to all that He makes
available to us.
The exchanged life
is a Spirit-controlled life.
Since the exchanged life
is a walk of faith, it must be a life that is filled
or controlled by the Holy Spirit.
When we are filled with
the Holy Spirit, we are allowing the Holy Spirit to
occupy the whole of our personality with the all
sufficiency of Christ.
Jesus said, "He who
believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his
innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'
But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who
believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was
not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified"
When I am under the
influence of the Holy Spirit, I draw upon the
unlimited resources of Christ. The resurrection life
of Jesus is imparted to the true believer by the
presence of the Holy Spirit.
"Christ lives in me; and
the life which I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered
Himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20b). That is what it
means to live the Spirit-filled life.
Many years ago I heard
the Argentine evangelist, Santiago Garaballe, give
an illustration of a man who bought a new car. He
had never owned a car in his life. The car came with
a powerful engine under the hood. What if the man
then spent the rest of his life pushing it around!
Come on family let's go for a ride! Can you imagine
what a life that would be like? Every time he would
get into the car someone would have to guide the
steering wheel, and someone else would have to start
pushing it! What if someone came to him and said,
"Santiago, why are you always pushing that car?
Don't you have any gas in it?"
"Why, yes," said
Santiago. "It came with a full tank of gas. But I
didn't know what to do with it."
"Here, let me show you
Santiago. Put your keys in here and turn on the
ignition. Man, hear that engine purr ... Now there
is real power! Come on let's go for a ride."
In the Christian life you
have a powerful engine under the hood––nothing less
than the resurrection life of Christ made available
to you through the person of God the Holy Spirit who
lives within you. Stop pushing! Switch on the power!
Expose every temptation, every opportunity, every
hill of circumstance, every threatening situation to
the divine energy of Christ in you.
How wonderful it is to be
in such an intimate, personal love relationship with
God that everything you need, for any circumstance,
is always yours, by the hand of God upon you!
God has given you
"God is able to make all
grace abound to you, that always having all
sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance
for every good deed..." (II Cor. 9:8). Wow! That is
a promise God makes to every one of us.
"Grace and peace be
multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of
Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has
granted to us everything pertaining to life and
godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who
called us by His own glory and excellence. For by
these He has granted to us His precious and
magnificent promises, in order that by them you
might become partakers of the divine nature, having
escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust"
(II Peter 1:2-4, emphasis mine).
Let me illustrate. I can
say to my glove, "Glove, pick up this Bible."
Somehow, that glove cannot do it. It has all the
resources. It has a thumb, four fingers, the shape
and form of a hand. Yet, it is unable to do what I
command it to do. However, I have another glove that
has picked up my Bible dozens of times! When my hand
comes into that glove, the glove becomes as strong
as my hand. Everything possible to my hand becomes
possible to that glove. The glove is simply to
clothe the activity of my hand.
God can use any old glove
that is reconciled to Him, and reserved for His use.
Now, in the Christian
life that is what it is to have Christ, by His Holy
Spirit, dwelling within your redeemed humanity. You
are the glove; Christ is the Hand! Everything that
is possible to Him becomes possible to you.
The Apostle Paul wrote to
the Christians at Philippi these words of
encouragement. "I have strength for all things in
Christ who empowers me-I am ready for anything and
equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner
strength into me [that is, I am self-sufficient in
Christ's sufficiency]" (Phil. 4:13, Amplified
The presence of the
living Christ, by His Spirit within you, imparts to
you all the things that pertain to life and
goodness. Christ has provided for you all that you
need to live a life of righteousness.
We were in the bondage of
sin and Jesus came and set us free. We were
overwhelmed by sorrows of sin and Jesus filled our
hearts with gladness and songs in the night.
Those who wait upon
The ancient Hebrew
prophet Isaiah described a situation in which the
people of Israel felt powerless to accomplish God's
purposes. The prophet sought to remind them of the
Everlasting God who never becomes weary or tired. He
is never lacking in wisdom or power to accomplish
His eternal purposes. Though we become weary and
tired and stumble badly, he reminds us "those who
hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They
will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and
not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint"
(Isa. 40:31, NIV). The King James and the New
American Standard translations read, "Those who wait
upon the LORD will renew their strength . . ."
Isaiah uses a beautiful
word in the original (qavah, kaw-vaw') to
describe the unique relationship between the LORD
God and His people who walk by faith. The word
translated "wait" or "hope" in the original has the
idea to bind together (perhaps by twisting), i.e.,
collect or gather (together).
Isaiah pictures the
workers picking up cords of hemp or flax and then
pulling and twisting them together, one after
another until he has plaited a strong rope or cable.
They pulled the hemp and wrapped it around other
pieces of hemp to form a strong rope.
For those who patiently
wait upon the LORD He wraps His strength around our
stand of life and gives us inner strength. We can
live above the chances, the changes and
circumstances of life. We exchange our weakness for
His strength. We can only get that strength by
waiting upon Him and wrapping ourselves around Him
and drawing our strength from Him.
Christ died not only to
save you from sins in the past, not only to give you
eternal life so you will go to heaven, but also to
give you His resurrection life today! He gives you
His strength for your weakness! He gives you His
wisdom for your foolishness. He gives you His grace
for your greed. He gives you His love for your lust.
He gives you His peace for your conflicts. He gives
His joy for your sorrows. He gives you forgiveness
for your guilt. He gives you His plenty for your
Christ in you
For a number of years I
flew every two months to Bogota, Colombia from
Quito, Ecuador. The city of Bogota is very beautiful
from the view of a small plane flying its
perimeters. My friend Eric lives in this majestic
city high in the Andes mountains. His family owns
the Cessna factory there. One Sunday while I was
ministering at one of the Colombian Baptist Churches
he invited me to go flying with him on a beautiful
sunny afternoon. We climbed into this brand new
Seneca III that had just rolled off the assembly
line. It was equipped with the latest color weather
radar, and twin turbo jet engines. It is a marvelous
piece of equipment. We climbed on board, harnessed
up and took off. You could feel the thrust of those
powerful engines. As we climbed altitude and
circled, we could see the rugged Mt. Tabor peeping
through the clouds. That hostile mountain has
claimed the lives of hundreds of passengers.
Let's suppose that after
we fly around for a while Eric turns to me and says,
"Don Wilfredo, you take the controls and fly this
beautiful new plane."
I respond, "Eric, I can't
fly. I don't have a pilot's license for Colombia.
Why, I've never had a lesson in my life."
"Don Wil, I have been
blessed with this remarkable gift that enables me to
fly this plane through you. I have this secret power
to come inside your mind, and my spirit will fly
this plane through you. All you have to do is rely
on me. Wil, just consciously put your faith in me."
My thoughts would
probably run like this: "Eric you are nuts! Now,
Eric I have known you for some time, but you seem to
have lost it."
"No, Don Wil, just trust
me. All you have to do is trust me and I will fly
this plane through you. Here, you take the stick!"
I say to him, "Well, I
don't know about this, but I'll try."
I take the controls of
the Seneca III. Man you talk about a smooth flying
plane. It handles beautifully. I pan to the left,
then to the right. I stay away from Mt. Tabor. It is
a dream to fly. The controls respond just as if I
had been flying for years.
Later, I turn to Eric
excitedly and say, "Man, isn't this great. Look at
me! Look how great I am doing!"
Immediately the plane
goes out of control. I suddenly move in my strength
and not in the strength of Eric. I am out of
control. If Eric hadn't taken over the controls, we
would have been in terrible danger.
The Christian life is
Christ's life in you. "I am crucified with Christ,
nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in
me" (Gal. 2:20). Paul experienced that kind of life.
While writing from a hostile imprisonment in the
city of Rome he said, "To me to live is Christ"
That is the outcome of
the Christian life. Jesus came into my life to abide
from the very moment I confessed my sins and
unbelief to Him. I turned from my unbelief to put my
faith and trust in Him as my personal Savior. At the
moment I was born again, spiritual birth took place,
and Christ came in to live in me.
Jesus says to us, I will
exchange lives with you. All I ask of you is that by
faith you trust Me. The moment you run into a
temptation, trust Me. The moment your faith fails
you, trust Me. The moment you sin trust Me. The
moment you are weak trust Me. We will fly together.
You do not go in your strength. You go in My
strength. You go relying on Me.
Are you living? Are you
living in Christ? Christ is all you can ever need at
any time, in any situation, under any circumstance.
For "in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead
bodily, and you are complete in Him" (Col. 2:9, 10).
Jesus said He would never
leave us nor forsake us. That is a truth. Are you
resting in it?
The Lord Jesus gives
grace as we need it, not before hand. We don't get
grace for the hour of death until that hour arrives.
But He does not fail us when it comes! His grace is
available for us to draw as our burdens in life
increase. He gives His strength as our work demands
it. When I am weak, He is strong. When I am weak I
draw from His infinite strength. He gives more grace
as our labors increase. That is His nature.
The power we need to
serve Him comes in abundant supply from Him. When we
are afflicted, He gives us more grace to endure.
When we feel crushed, He sustains us by giving more
When the fires of
persecution burn hot against us He gives more grace.
When we are struck down from every side His grace
has no limit. His grace endures and we receive more
grace to deliver us.
God does not measure out
must a little bit of love to us and refuse to give
more. He gives love and keeps on giving it in our
time of need.
His infinite power is
unlimited. His power is perfected in your weakness.
The grace of Jesus Christ is all sufficient for you
regardless of your need. He is an all sufficient
Savior. His compassions fail not. When you feel like
your inner person is drying up He gives more grace
and your inner person is renewed day by day.
Have you experienced this
kind of grace? Have you come to a place in your
spiritual life where you can say I am walking in
that grace by faith? It is a daily walk. It is not
something magical. It is a moment by moment trusting
Christ to live His life through you. If you are
already a Christian will you commit your life once
and for all to Christ as Lord of your life? Just
pray, "Lord I do know you as my Savior. I want you
to be the Lord and Master of my life. Here is my
life. I give it to you. You live it through me."
This kind of life begins
by asking Christ to come into your heart by faith.
If you have never done so pray with me this simple
prayer, "Lord Jesus I now believe that I am a
sinner, and that you died for me on the cross and
rose from the dead to save me. I want you to be by
personal Savior. I ask you to save me right now.