Intro: Our brother Severino got it right when he said, ‘the old Severino is buried in Donner Lake. When his whole body went under the water it was to identify with the death of Christ and his old life of sin. Jesus died and was buried and after three days was raised from the dead and alive forever more. In the same way, everyone who has repented of their sins and surrendered their lives to the Lordship of Christ is also raised from the dead. The death, burial and resurrection are pictured to us in water baptism. Water baptism does not save anyone. Water baptism follows after one is saved out of obedience to identify us with Christ. Jesus submitted to John for baptism even though he had no sin. Jesus did it to fulfill all righteousness set forth by God His Father. A true follower of Jesus will follow his Lord in water baptism to identify to the public that he or she has been saved by Christ to the praise of His glory. Infant baptism has no biblical basis nor can it do anything for a baby who is innocent and has no knowledge and awareness of sin and righteousness. One has to be saved first and be a disciple of Jesus then out of his love for Christ will obey. Today we will look at what happens to the saved one in regards to sin and what to do with it after being saved. I am borrowing the title from a devotional I shared with you two Sundays ago.
“The Exchanged Life”
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been untied with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” Rom. 6:1-7
I remember an old western movie that illustrates this truth. I wasn’t a Christian then but it was about a gunfighter who was fast on the draw. I can’t recall the title of the movie but the actor I can remember quite well, Glenn Ford. When you are the fastest gunfighter many will challenge you who really is the fastest. He didn’t want that life anymore so he moved to a town where he was not known and lived incognito. There came some bad people one day and took over the small town to lord it over them and harassed the people until Glenn Ford couldn’t help it, got his gun from retirement, practiced a little to save the town from these bad people. He came to challenge the leader to a draw. He killed him together with the rest when they came to the rescue. The end of the story was that they had a funeral service to bury Glenn Ford. But it was not him they buried but his gun representing his old life to kill no more. That’s the moral of the story.
This ought to be the life of one that has been saved from sin. The once self-centered, independent and sinful life is dead. This death came as a decision to change, turn away and give up all the sins that one has committed against a holy God. The basis of “an Exchanged Life” is this truth from the Word,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20
This is an exchange deal. We die, Christ lives. We exchange our life of sin with the perfect, righteous and sinless life of Christ. Imagine yourself being charged in court and your accuser is the devil with the record of all the laws of God that you have broken. The devil knows the law and the penalty for just one sin is death. But God’s gives a public defender for our defense. He also brings a record of Himself but is blank because He never broke any of the laws of God. He presents and offers Himself to you as your defense lawyer. After you to accept Him, He presents Himself to the judge to represent you. The devil says to the judge that the full force of the law must be applied. Your defense lawyer agrees and offers Himself to take the punishment for all the sins you committed under the law. Since your lawyer has not broken any of God’s law, God the judge accepts Jesus’ offer of His life as payment for every sin that you committed. Justice was satisfied because your defense lawyer took all the punishment that should have been yours to pay. On the cross two thousand years ago, Jesus gave His life to be punished for sins He did not commit. Because he became a man, he qualified to die in behalf of man in exchange for the life of one man. And because He is also God, He can pay for the sins of as many who will receive Him. God accepted His sacrifice to atone for the sin of man by raising Him up from the dead and gave Him all authority to be the Savior of the world. On the cross and by the shedding of His blood, Jesus fulfilled what He came to earth for. A few hours before He went to the cross, He prayed to His Father that He gets back the glory that He shared with Him before the creation of the world being God the Son, the second person of the Triune God.
“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” John 17:1-5
And God did because for more than 33 years Jesus lived a sinless life in all righteousness so He can save sinners. Peter would bear witness to that,
“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 1 Pet. 2:22
So when Jesus comes to a sinner and says, “Repent and believe the good news,” what He is saying is “Do you want me as your defense lawyer? Do you want me to save you from going to hell, eternally separated from God? That is the big choice. The difference with our lawyers today is they cannot really know the truth and the crime committed by the accused. But Christ knows everything. We cannot lie to Him because He is God and knows everything about us from the time we were born, all the sins we have committed against God and all the laws we have broken. He knows whether there is true repentance or just a superficial admission of sin that has been exposed. God looks and sees what is in the heart and mind.
Repentance is not just being sorry for something we have done wrong. It is more than that. It is as if you are mourning for the dead and that dead person is you. Sorrowful for what we have done that will bring condemnation and eternal separation from God. Judgment has already been decided and just awaiting execution after one dies. But when one is convicted of sin and believed the good news, this is the response that is accepted by the One who will save us.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Cor. 7:10
I also believe what Jesus said that many people will be surprised to wake up one day in hell, who are religious, even serving God but are not saved, why?
“Not everyone who calls me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name and drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers.” Matt. 7:21-23
Who in particular is Jesus referring to in this passage? They are ministers of the Word, pastors, evangelists, exorcists, and miracle workers. They will miss heaven for the simple reason that they never repented of their sins. One can do all these without being saved, and for what reason? They are motivated by love of money or selfish ambition. We just read the account of Balaam a diviner from our “Everyday with Jesus”, a voodoo priests that can pronounce a curse was hired by Balak to curse the Israelites. God told him not to do it. But when the price was right he succumb and went against the clear command of God for his love of money.
There will be false prophets according to Jesus in these last days and even during Paul’s time here’s how the preaching of the gospel became attractive.
“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love knowing that I am put here in defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached and because of this I rejoice.” Phil. 1:15-18
A true believer does everything out of their love for Christ. That love came from God first. “We love because He first loved us.” This is the exchange deal. The grievous sin that is exchanged with love is our hatred for God. Do you know that even if one claims to believe in God, tries his best to follow Jesus and doing good works, can still be guilty of hating God?
“You shall not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Ex. 20:4-6
All idolaters whether they know it or not are God haters. I was a God hater myself and aren’t we all? When we come before an idol in the place of worship and bow down to an idol representing Jesus Christ hanging on the cross aren’t we guilty of hating God? Now others will say I am not guilty of that because I don’t go to that church. But idols can come in many forms. Anything that one loves more than God is an idol. Money is another idol that many people worship. Even loving ones self because of ones beauty, talent and accomplishments. God is jealous with a holy jealousy when one loves anything more than the One who created him. Look back at your life, were you guilty of loving something more than God? I have encountered a number of people I have shared with who rejected the gospel because they cannot turn their backs against the beliefs of their parents. I feel so sorry for those who say, “I was born _____ and I will die a ______.” They just cursed themselves without realizing that they have rejected and refused the gift of God. Young people may have the fear of going against their parents. Here is what Jesus said about loving anyone more than God.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27
Are we to hate our parents, wife, etc? Of course not. The hate here is to love less than God. When we have received the love of God and then love God in return, loving our family will follow, even our enemies in obedience to God.
When I realized how I hated God, I repented and asked for forgiveness giving up doing what was passed on to me. You see one cannot love God and hate God at the same time. This, I believe is the most serious of sins, hatred for God. The only way one can receive the love of God is to give up this sin and exchange it with the love of God. We give up to Jesus our sin of hating God and in exchange He gives us the love of God. Exchange deal.
Even if one is already saved does this make us pure and sinless? There will be sins that God will reveal each day that we are not aware of. This has to go and surrendered and exchanged for His righteousness. You have crucified yourself with Christ at your first encounter with Christ. Daily we consider ourselves dead so Christ will live His life in us by the power of His Spirit.
And thank God for His enduring love by providing us forgiveness of sin.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ the Righteous One.” 1 John 2:1