Change or Exchange? by Pat Everett

Change or exchange. What started out shiny and new has now turned into a shabby, rust encrusted and non-working wreck. You decide it is finally time for a new ride. A trip to the dealership has resulted in finding just the right one. It is brand-spanking new, beautiful, and will run like a dream. The dealership agrees to take your car as a trade-in. The salesman informs you the specific car you desire is coming from a different state and will be here within the week. The day of delivery arrives and with excitement you have a friend drive you to the dealership. They inform you the car is waiting out front. Your jaw drops when you see your “new” car. The salesman stands there with a smile on his face with the door open to your old car. The dents and rust have been removed, new paint applied and the fragrance of “new car” has been sprayed on the inside. The old car with a facelift. Ridiculous – you would never settle for that change!

When it comes to the Christian life, we can be deceived into believing it is still our life and Christ came to give us a facelift, to paint the outside and make us more presentable. To help us manage our sin. But our problem is not about our behavior, but our source of life. Jesus Himself pointed this out in Matthew 23:25-28, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. A Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” It was an inside, heart issue. They had managed to clean up the outside but that did not answer their greatest need, a new life. C.S. Lewis stated in Mere Christianity, “Christ did not come to make bad men good, but to make dead men live.”

Soak in this glorious truth! “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:4-10. He fulfilled in us the promise of God found in Ezekiel, “Moreover,I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you…” Ezekiel 36:26-27. We are new creations, with new hearts, new spirits, and One with His Spirit. His masterpiece. So much better than a cleaned-up version of the old!

Please do not settle for change when you can live out a glorious exchange! Check out this good news! “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20-21 (KJV) and, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ…” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18. He is your Source, your life, your faith! He is the “everything” promised in 2 Peter 1:3, “…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.”

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