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Devotional - week of May 9, 2004


THE SUBSTITUTIONARY LIFE OF JESUS

When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Colossians 3:4 (NASB)

We have often heard of the substitutionary death of Jesus—He died for us on the cross. Colossians 3:4 expresses the substitutionary life of Jesus. This same verse also says that when God reveals what Jesus wills to do through us, we receive a revelation of what we are to do.

When spiritually uninformed people see the miraculous life of Jesus lived out in the believer, they often respond with something like, “That man is an amazing person.”

An excellent biblical example of this is in Acts 14. When Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra on their first missionary journey, Paul saw that a crippled man had the faith to be healed. Paul said to the man, “Stand up straight on your feet.” The man stood up.

Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”  Acts 14:11

In a less dramatic way, the same is true of Spirit-filled believers today. We see the wisdom of Christ in them and call them wise. We see the love of Christ in them and say, “He has such a spirit of love.”

The Spirit-filled believer knows the wisdom and love that people see in him are the wisdom and love of Christ—and not his own.

Receiving Jesus as our substitutionary life starts with a sense of need. We realize that our own quality of life—things like our wisdom and love—have resulted in failure and perhaps tragedy. When we are in that state of mind, we are ready for Jesus to be our life.

When that desire is accompanied with the knowledge that we are crucified, buried, and resurrected, we are ready for Jesus to express Himself through us.

We receive Him as our substitutionary life by living out the commands of Romans 6:11-13.