Christianity is not merely about a changed life, but rather it is about an exchanged life.
Christianity is essentially about exchanging our sinfulness for God’s righteousness; our corruption for God’s holiness; our poverty for God’s riches; our weakness for God’s strength; our foolishness for God’s wisdom; and our sorrow for God’s joy.
This is what distinguishes Christianity from dead religions in the world!
A call to be a Christian is basically a call to exchange your sin-riddled and sin-trodden nature and life for a holy and divine nature and life of Christ. It is a call to exchange your human, selfish and lower thoughts and ways for Christ’s divine, selfless and higher thoughts and ways (Isa. 55:7-9).
Although the process of divine exchange in a believer began at the point of the New Birth or spiritual regeneration, yet it must continue throughout his life-time. It is a daily, progressive and continuous spiritual process.
At the New Birth, a sinner who puts his faith in the person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ for his salvation receives by the operation of the Holy Spirit a new, holy and divine life and nature in exchange for his old, corrupt and human life and nature (2 Pet. 1:4, 1 John 3:9).
The New Birth or spiritual regeneration is essentially a divine process of exchanging your old sin-riddled heart and subjugated spirit for a new heart and a new spirit. The Holy Spirit carries out and perfects this instant spiritual process or operation in you the moment you receive and confess Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour.
This is according to God’s promise through prophet Ezekiel.
26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (NKJV).
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them.” (NKJV).
While the believer has received an exchange of a new heart and a new spirit for his old heart and spirit by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit at the point of the New Birth, he is expected to spend the rest of his life exchanging his old mindsets, thoughts, values, beliefs and ways for that of Christ.
This continuous process of exchange is the renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:2). This is progressive sanctification (Heb. 2:11, 10:14).
It is putting off “the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” and putting on “the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22, 24 NKJV).
The primary reason why many believers today are still full of self – their old sinful and selfish thoughts, lusts, passions, cravings, and ways – is because they are not diligently, constantly and consistently putting off the old man and putting on the new man in their will, mind and emotions (Eph. 2:22-24).
When you fail to commit or give yourself diligently to the process of exchanging your former thoughts, mindsets, views, beliefs, values, perspectives, philosophies and principles for that of God clearly and fully expressed, demonstrated and taught by Jesus Christ and the early apostles of Christ in the New Testament; your life will remain the same as though you are still unsaved or unregenerate, bearing no resemblance to that of Christ.
This is why it is so hard to believe that many believers are truly born again!
Beloved, God would have you to know and understand that His Son, Jesus Christ, came down into this world and became all that you are so that in exchange you might become all that He is, not later when you get into heaven, but now while you live in this present world (1 John 4:17).
Paul testifies, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21 NKJV).
“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor. 6:17 NKJV).
You are no longer a wretched sinner, a slave of sin, or a captive of Satan. Rather, you are now the righteousness of God in Christ. You are holy, righteous, blameless, and above reproach in God’s sight.
Apostle Paul amply states and explains this truth in his epistles.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
5 He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
6 to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (RSV).
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight– (NKJV).
Therefore, when you choose to think, view, speak, act or live like sinners; you are simply living contrary to your true identity, nature and status in Christ. You are rejecting who God said you are in Christ – His righteousness.
By virtue of your redemption and union with Jesus Christ, you are presently identical to Jesus Christ in your born-again spirit. You are no longer your former self, for you have received at the New Birth the very Life, Nature, Mind and Spirit of Christ.
The Scripture clearly states this truth.
“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor. 6:17 NKJV).
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17 NKJV).
“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Gal. 4:6 NKJV).
“For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16 NKJV).
Therefore, when you continue to deal with issues or challenges of life according to your former ways before experiencing the New Birth, you are certainly operating far below your divine or spiritual and mental capacities.
Christ emptied Himself and took the form of a bondservant when He came into the world so that in exchange you might cease to be and live like a slave, but so that you may become a son of God and a heir of God (Heb. 2:10).
Apostle Paul attests this truth.
“Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Gal. 4:4-7 NKJV).
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (Rom. 8:16-17 NKJV).
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9 NKJV).
When you therefore continue to think, speak, act, live or operate in this world like a pauper, a failure, or a slave to sin or Satan; you are despising and rejecting the inexhaustible riches and blessings of God that are yours in Christ.
Beloved, it is your God-ordained destiny to become all that Jesus Christ is and to possess and enjoy all that Jesus Christ has in this present life (1 John 4:17, Eph. 4:11-15).
Paul reveals, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom. 8:29 NKJV).
Although you are already fully conformed to Christ in your regenerated or born again spirit, you are yet to be fully conformed to Christ in your soul (will, mind and emotions) and physical body (Rom. 8:23, 1 Pet. 1:9).
It is only as you diligently commit yourself to the process of divine exchange that the Holy Spirit has started in your life at the point of the New Birth that Christ will continually increase in your will, mind, thoughts and emotions and thus self will continually decrease in you.
Therefore, give yourself constantly, consistently and continually to the Word of God to mould your will, renew your mind and purify your emotions.
You also need to yield yourself unreservedly and constantly to the Holy Spirit to mortify or put to death the deeds of the body, so that you may not continue to fulfil or gratify the lusts, desires or passions of the flesh (Rom. 8:13, Gal. 5:16).
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16 NKJV).