Free at Last

If you have a heart that desperately desires to know and serve God, the place to begin is by understanding and believing the biblical truth of your identity in Christ. This is a watershed issue, one that determines whether you will live free in Christ or live as a slave of the world, the flesh, and the devil. I consider the truth about our identity in Christ to be the greatest principle of Christian living in Scripture…[1]

I’m convinced the reason a lot of Christians don’t experience the abundant life Christ came to give (John 10:10) is that many of us are trying to live the Christian life. That’s not a contradiction, because the Christian life is, by definition, the life of Christ. So, in order for you and me to live the Christian life, Christ must live His life in and through us while we get out of the way. That’s what we mean by the exchanged life.

The exchanged life begins with a death experience. Paul opens Galatians 2:20 by declaring, “I have been crucified with Christ.” Our crucifixion with Christ has already taken place. You may say, “But I don’t feel crucified.” That’s all right. Dead people don’t feel dead. But you are crucified because God says you’re crucified, whether you feel it or not.

This is why Paul could say his only boast was “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14). Paul rejoiced in the cross not just because it meant that his sins were paid for, but because the old Paul – the hate-filled persecutor of the church – was dead and gone. Paul was eager to share in Christ’s death so that he might share in His resurrection life.

In Galatians 2:20, where Paul said that since he had been crucified with Christ, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” When I exchange my life for Christ’s life, He expresses Himself in me. When I think, Christ thinks through me. When I move, Christ moves through me. When I speak, Christ speaks through me. A complete exchange has occurred. That’s why the Bible says that Christ is the fullness of God “in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete” (Colossians 2:9-10 NASB). He is all you ever need. We display the life of Jesus to the world when we live exchanged lives.

You may be reading this, scratching your head, and saying, “Tony, all of this sounds good. But it’s not working for me. I pray and read my Bible. I go to church and try to witness. I’m doing the right things, but I’m not seeing the victory you’re talking about. What’s wrong?” Paul continued in Galatians 2:20, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.” There it is. God’s expectation is that we will live this new life by faith. The exchanged life, the life of freedom in Christ, is activated only by faith. Not by trying or straining or even praying. Faith is living as if God is telling the truth, whether we feel like or not. It may feel awkward at first if you’re not used to living by faith. But that’s OK.

Paul concludes Galatians 2:20 by talking about what Christ had done for him. “He loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” Our “spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1) is responding to this sacrificial love and giving ourselves wholly to Christ, letting Him live through us. If Christ loved us enough to give His life for us, then He loves us enough to give His life to us, so that He might express His life [and His love] through us. When you exchange your life with the Christ who died for you and rose from the dead, He brings to you the power of His perfect, sinless life…

Tony Evans is Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and president of The Urban Alternative in Dallas. This article is an excerpt from Tony Evans’ book Free at Last (Moody Press, 2001). Available to order at Bookstore / Books

[1] From the Introduction

Thanks to Sherry I. and J. S. for passing this on.

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