What is the substitutionary life of Christ?
It’s that Christ EXCHANGED His life for yours.
1. He took your life of sin,
2. You could have His life of righteousness.
For He (God) made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.2 Corinthians 5:21
How To Live the Life of Christ
But how do you LIVE the life of Christ?
The ability to live the life of Christ is conditional, it depends on what you do with sin. Do you let Christ have your life of sin?
Remember this is a two part arrangement, He takes your life of sin so that you can have His life of righteousness. If you don’t let Him have your sin, He can’t give you His righteousness.
But how do you let Christ have your sin?
You have to remember that Christ already took your sin upon Himself at the cross. He dealt with your sin so you don’t have to. So now if you try to deal with sin through penance, you are circumventing the purpose of the cross.
Let me ask you, what could you do that would appease God more than the death of His Son on the cross?
The Man and a Sack of Potatoes
The story is told of a man walking along a road carrying a sack of potatoes. A truck comes along and the driver asks the man if he’d like a ride? The man says, “Sure!”, then he hops onto the back of the truck with the potatoes still on his shoulders. As they drive along the truck driver notices that the man never takes the potatoes off of his shoulders. Finally when they arrive at their destination, the truck driver asks the man why he never took the potatoes off of His shoulders? The man replied, “I kept the potatoes on my shoulders because I really appreciated the ride. I didn’t want to be a burden by having you carry my load.”
Do you see dear reader, how silly this is? If God is going to take the burden of sin off our shoulders by dying on the cross, why should we still carry it? God wants us to take the load of sin off and put it in the truck so we can rest with Him!
God isn’t asking us to make penance. There isn’t anything that you can do to make God realize that you are SORRY for your sins. Sorry doesn’t cut it with God. He paid a much bigger price to ensure that your sins were adequately dealt with.
What God wants now is for you to GROW in Him— He wants to bring heaven to earth in you. He wants to fill you with love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. You can only grow if you allow Him to wash the residue of sin that still lingers in your mind, will and emotions through interaction with the world.
God Uses Confession
The instrument God uses to do this is confession.
If we CONFESS our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9
Confession isn’t telling God you are sorry— remember, He overcame the “sorries” at the cross. Confession is taking the time to understand WHY you sin.
The root of all sin is SELFISHNESS. The two main expressions of sin are ANGER AND FEAR.
When you sin, ask God to help you find the source of your sin— to explain to you what’s going on. Odds are that selfishness, anger and fear are at the root of it. Once you isolate the WHY of your sin, with the help of the Holy Spirit, confess it to God.
More than likely if you have taken the time to find the root cause for your sin you will be coming to God with a broken spirit and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). This is what God is looking for and He will use your confession to wash this sin out of your life (1 John 1:9).
Now if you sin the same sin again, don’t become discouraged. Satan will stop at nothing to accuse you— hypocrite, liar, insincere etc., but don’t buy into it. Remember you put the sack of potatoes (sin) in the truck with God. God has already dealt with the penalty for sin. Right now we are simply trying to wash the stain of sin out of our mind, will and emotions.
We are cooperating with God, through confession, to bring the fruit of heaven to earth in us. Like the removal of ink from a bad tattoo, it may take many passes. Don’t give up. Go back to God, dig even deeper for the root of your sin. Confess it again.
In time, God will completely remove the stain of sin from your life. He will accomplish from the inside out what you could never do for yourself through self-effort. Before you know it, you’ll be living the substitutionary life of Christ.
The rest of the articles in this category (sanctification) will discuss the Bible, because the Bible is what God uses to change us into His likeness. We give God our sin, then He reflects His righteousness back to us through the Bible.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord (through the Bible), are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.2 Corinthians 3:18
Next up? Fall in Love With the Bible.