We’ve seen that in every one of us lives a rebel. Jesus was actually identified with that rebel and then He paid the penalty for the rebel's sin. Our old, rebellious, fallen, incorrigible nature was put to death in Jesus. This is so vividly stated by Paul in Romans, chapter 6, verses 6 through 8:
"For we know that our old self was crucified with him [that's with Jesus], so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin, because anyone who has died has been freed from sin, now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him." (NIV)
Notice the exchange. Through his death for us, on our behalf, His life is now made available to us. This is very beautifully stated by Paul in Galatians, chapter 2, verse 20. What makes Paul's summation so beautiful is that he doesn't state it as a general principle or a doctrine, but he states it in personal testimony, as a matter of his own experience. This is what he says:
"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."
That's the substitution. Christ took our place. He was identified with our rebellion and He paid the penalty of the rebel. He was executed under God's judgement in our place. And then, Paul sees, not only the identification of Jesus with us, but our identification with Jesus and he states it, "I have been crucified with Christ". "When Christ died", he said, "I died, that was my death". "As a consequence", he goes on, "I no longer live". Then how are you still live? The answer is, "but Christ lives in me". It's now Christ living out His life in me. It's no longer my old, rebellious, fallen nature that's at work, but it's the new nature, the divine nature of Jesus working out in me the righteousness of Jesus, enabling me to live an entirely different kind of life. That's the exchange ‑ from death to life.
That's the exchange from death to life. Jesus died our death that we might live out his life in us. We've passed, the Scripture says, from death to life.
Thank You, Jesus, that I may be identified with You, in Your life. Thank You that my life is now hidden with You, in God. Help me, Lord, to realize fully that my life doesn’t belong to me anymore, but to You, because it is Your life in me and I have died in Your death. Help to live Your life, through faith, in Jesus' Name, Amen!