Chapter One: The Exchanged Life by Ed Miller, from “Back to Bethlehem” book

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The Indispensable Principle

I would like to begin with what I call the indispensable principle.  When we come to study the Bible there are many helps.  There are word studies and books of sermons and all kinds of aids but there is only one principle that is indispensable.  You can’t live without it.  That is total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit.  It’s God’s book.  Only God can reveal God.  I can’t reveal God.  Only God can reveal God.  This Bible is like the Lord Jesus.  There is a human side and a divine side.  Some people only get the human side.  Only God can give the divine side.  He promises that if we would come as little children, He would reveal Christ to us.  Gal. 1:15&16, “But when He who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood…”  What was true of Paul is true of each one of us.  He set you aside when you were born.  In His grace He called you.  Now He wants to reveal His Son in you and then He’ll send you out.


I am Ed Miller and I’m a redeemed sinner and a lover of the Lord Jesus.  I’ve set my heart to know the Lord in every way possible that a redeemed sinner can know the Lord on this side of heaven.  I seek Him and I pray that you are also seeking the Lord.  I wish my Lillian, my wife, could have joined me.  She has an illness and is unable to travel but she promised that she will be praying for us during these days.  I’m following the suggestion of our Brother Frederic to share fundamental truths.  It’s limiting but it’s so important to have the foundations.  There are so many foundations, it was not easy to choose which to speak on.

So, as I waited upon the Lord, I thought I would share the foundations that have most helped me.  Nothing will be new.  I’m sure you have heard all of this before.  I pray that it will be alive and fresh.  The thing that is going to make it alive and fresh is that we’ll be talking about a Person.  His name is Jesus.  That’s why we’ve gathered.  I pray that you’ve come to see the Lord.

The first foundation I am calling “The Exchanged Life” and it came from a man named Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China.  He was a missionary for many years before he discovered Christ as his life.  When he discovered Christ as his life, he called it the “Exchanged Life”.  The reason why I like that is because it presents Jesus as a substitute.  Usually we say, “When Jesus died on the cross, He was my substitute.  He died in my place.”  I think all true Christians know that He died in my place.  But some Christians do not know that now He wants to live in my place.  He wants to live as my substitute. 

For years I was taught that I should live for the Lord.  Then God discovered to me that He wants to live for Himself.  He doesn’t want me to live for Him.  He wants to live in me.  It’s a wonderful reality and it changed my life.  So, we’re going to be speaking about that exchange, His Life in place of my life.

To do this I would like to present two great truths.  We will be going back to the beginning.  I want to show you Christ as the last Adam and as the second man.  When we finish that, I’d like to show you what it looked like when Christ lived on earth.  In order to see Christ as the last Adam I want to show you a verse that claims He is Adam.  Romans 5:14, “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.”  And also, in 1 Corinthians 15:45, “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’  The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”  The Bible is careful not to call Him the second Adam.  Second implies third and third implies fourth, and so on.  By calling Him the last Adam, none can follow.  With Jesus that picture ends. 

1 Corinthians 15:47, “The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.”  He is called the second man because other men will follow.  That is us.  In order to see this, I’d like to go back to the beginning in Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’  And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Man was created in the image of God.  Don’t read that “la, la, la”.  What does that mean?  One thing we know it means is that man is unique.  That’s one reason that in Genesis 9 it says we can eat animals, because animals were not created in the image of God.  Only man was created in the image of God, not the angels, not animals, not insects and not fish.  That’s why evolution is foolish.  It’s not that an animal can adapt and become like a man.  It’s foolish to claim that something that is not created in God’s image can become created in God’s image.

I want to tell you exactly what it means that God created man in His image.  Many books are written on that, but God makes it clear in the Bible.  We have His inspired answer about what is the image of God.  Listen to these three verses.  2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  Christ is the image of God; that’s simple words. 

Listen to Colossians 1:15, “And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.”  He is the image of the invisible God.   Hebrews 1:3, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”  Jesus is the exact representation of God.  The image of God is Christ.  That was God’s original intention.  That was the Divine idea.  This is man as God created man to be.  This is what makes man different from all other creatures.  This is the heart of what it means to be human.  Man was created in the image of God.

When God first created man in His image, God could look down from heaven at man and see Himself.  When He saw man, He would see His Son.  When He saw man as He created man to be, He would be pleased because man would radiate Christ.  That was God’s original plan, that man would reflect Christ all over the earth.  You know the sad story.  Adam #1 sinned.  What did Adam lose when he sinned against God?  I know he lost lordship/dominion.  I know he lost his innocence.  I know he lost the garden.  I know he lost most of his brain.  He doesn’t think like God created man to think.  But bottom line, what did he lose?

I’m suggesting that he lost the very thing that makes man a man.  The thing that makes man a man, as God intended man to be, Adam sinned away.  The Apostle Paul explains it in Ephesians 2:12, “…remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”  Before you were saved you were without Christ in the world. 

Ephesians 4:18, “…being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart…”  Man was excluded from the life of God.  What in the beginning was a wonderful plan, that man would reflect Christ, has now been destroyed, that unique part, the image of God, the life of God.  Are we surprised that man now lives like the animals?  That’s why.  They are separated from what makes man a man.  He fell from humanity.

I want to show you Christ as the last Adam.  We begin with the Christmas story, but I want to get to the heart of it.  It’s not the virgin birth.  It’s not the star in the sky.  It’s not the Wise Men.  It’s not the murder of all those little babies.  It’s not the shepherds.  It’s not the announcement by the angels.  It’s not the five Christmas songs that we have in the New Testament.  It’s not even His titles; Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, or Seed of David. 

When you look in the manger, you see God starting over with Adam, not just a baby, but Emmanuel.  Do you know what Emmanuel means?  It means “God with us”.  This is man as God intended man to be.  God is back in the man!  He’s the God-man.  The Lord Jesus is God with us! 

So, now God says, “Let me show you what it looks like to be a man as I planned man to be.”  Man had lost his connection, his union with God.   God sent His Son to live as a man, as God intended man to be.  I want to show you what that looks like from the lips of Jesus, His own testimony.  This is what it looked like when Christ lived as God intended man to live.

I want to start with John 17:22-23, “And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are One; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.”  When He prayed that prayer, He was only hours from going to the cross.  He’s thanking His Father for the provision that He had to live on earth.   He describes it by saying, “You gave me glory.  The glory you gave Me, I give them.”  What glory is that?  It’s not His essential glory.  In eternity, He is God.  He was glorified.  The Father didn’t give Him that.  He’s had that glory; He’s God. 

Let me illustrate this.  Revelation 21:23, “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”  Why doesn’t heaven need the light of the sun and of the moon?  It’s because Christ went back to heaven and got the glory that He used to have.  Let me ask this question, when Jesus lived on the earth, did we need the sun and the moon?  The answer is yes, because He set aside the manifestation of that glory. 

But there is another glory which enabled Him to live like a man.  John 17:21 explains what that glory is, “…that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.”   The same truth is in John 17:23, “I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.”  He said that the glory You have given Me is My union with You; that we’re One and that they’ll be One as We are One.

John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory..”  That glory, said simply, the glory that gave Jesus the provision to live, was the Father Himself.  John 17:21, “…that they may all be one, even as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.”    The Father gave Himself to the Son, so that He could live as a man.  These verses from the lips of Jesus explain the life He lived.  John 8:28-29, “Jesus therefore said, ‘When you lift up the son of Man, then you know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”  It’s an amazing truth that Jesus said, “I do nothing on My own initiative.” 

John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”  He said, “I do not seek My own will; I seek My Father’s will.”  We know from Gethsemane in Matthew 26:39, that He didn’t want His own will, “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.’”  Jesus said, “I do nothing on My own.  I do not seek My own will.”  John 10:37-38, “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.’” 

We say that Jesus did many miracles.  He didn’t do any miracles! The Father did them! Listen to John 14:10, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?  The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”  He said “God Himself put Himself in Me and I initiate nothing, and He does everything.  It’s not My will; it’s His will.  It’s not My works; it’s His works.”  That’s why before He multiplied the loaves, He thanked His Father.  That wasn’t table grace.  He was saying, “Thank You for doing this miracle.”  That’s why at the grave of Lazarus He said, “I thank You, Father.  You always do it.”

John 8:50, “But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges.”  John 7:18, “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”  Do you see His testimony?  “I initiate nothing.  I have no will of My own.  All My works are from My Father.  I never seek My own glory.”  John 12:27-28, “Now My soul has become troubled and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’  But for this purpose, I came to this hour.” 

John 14:24, one more testimony from Jesus, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the words which you hear are not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”  He said, “The words which I speak are not mine.”  John 12:49 is the same thing, “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.”  

When He spoke to Nicodemus, they were the words of the Father.  When He spoke to the woman at the well, they were the words of the Father.  When He gave the Sermon on the Mount, they were the words of the Father.  When He gave the Sermon in the Valley, they were the words of the Father.  Jesus said, “I do nothing on My own initiative.  And I have no will of My own and I do nothing but what He does.  He does it in Me.  I don’t seek My own glory.  I only speak what He tells Me to speak.” 

That’s why we read John 14:9, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’”  He lived as God intended man to live, to put His Father on display.  He said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.”  John 12:45, “And he who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me.”

I want to make one clarification.  Our Lord Jesus, as the last Adam, lived as God intended man to live.  He then described that life in His own words.  God made a provision that He would set aside Who He was by nature and as a man He would depend on the Father Who was living in His heart.  So, He said, “I don’t initiate anything.  I don’t have My will; I choose His will.”  That’s the part I want to clarify because, as God, they never had two wills.  Jesus always agreed with the Father, but He wants to illustrate humanity and as a man He said, “I determine to depend on the indwelling Father.”  So, we, as men and women, depend on the indwelling Christ.  We are not robots.  “He lives in me, nevertheless I live.”  And Jesus said, “I will lay down My will as a man to demonstrate that I only want God’s will.” 

God the Father sent God the Son into the world.  That was quite a journey and I want you to follow that journey with me.  When you take a journey there has to be a destination or a goal, an end.  My Lillian doesn’t just say, “Go to the store.”  She gives me a list.  She tells me what isle to go down and what brand to buy and which coupons to use to get it cheaper and she even tells me what roads to take to save gas.  When Jesus left heaven, I want to show you the difference between His journey and His goal. 

I think it’s easy to identify His goal.  John 3:17, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”  He was sent so that the world might be saved.  John 6:39, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me, I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”  Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  1 John 4:14, “And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”  That’s the goal; to be the Savior of the world.  That’s the end; that’s the destiny.  

But what about His journey?  We say in Micah 5:2, that it’s Bethlehem, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrata, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.  His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”  He went to Bethlehem but that wasn’t His goal.  That’s part of the journey.  He was nine months in Mary’s womb, but he didn’t stay there.  He went to Bethlehem, but he didn’t stay there.  You might say his goal was Nazareth.  That was his boyhood town.  He didn’t stay there very long.  Remember how they tried to throw Him over the cliff?

The Father sent the Son into the wilderness to be tempted.  That was only forty days.  That’s part of the journey but it’s not the goal.  Luke 4:14-15, “And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit; and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.   And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.”  You might say that His goal was Galilee.  That’s where He did His teaching and where He let the Father do His miracles.  That wasn’t His destination.  That was three and a half years.  Well, you might say that His destination was the cross.  He came to save the world. 

Listen to Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  When we talk about His goal, I don’t want to take the cross, His death, and His resurrection and just say, “That’s part of the journey.”  In Gethsemane He sweat drops of blood for us.  There I think He became sin for us.  On the cross He shed His life’s blood.  He took what we deserved.  He crushed eternity into three hours.  And when He rose again from the dead, that was part of His journey.  “The wages of sin is death.”  If one sin was not forgiven, He would still be dead. 

I don’t want to play with this, but I want you to understand God’s plan.  On the journey, He had to go to Gethsemane, but He was only there for a few hours.  He had to go to the cross, but He was only there for six hours.  He had to go into the grave, but that was only three days.  He’s still on a journey.  That was not His destination.  He provided a righteous ground for people to get saved.  So, you say that His journey took Him to Bethlehem and Nazareth.  That’s His journey.  But even after the resurrection He wasn’t finished.

Matthew 26:32, “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”  When He arose, the angels told the women, Matthew 28:7 “And go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”  Matt. 28:16-17, “But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.”  More than five hundred people gathered in Galilee after Jesus rose from the dead.  So, you might say that Galilee is the goal.  But He said, “No, I’m not finished yet.”

Acts 1:5, “For John baptized you with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”  He told them, “After Galilee, go to Jerusalem.”  Acts 1:9, “After He had said these things, he was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”  He ascended and went back to His Holy Father God.  Is that the end of the journey?  John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”  It’s part of the journey. 

He goes to the cross.  He goes to the grave.  He rises.  He goes to Galilee.  He goes to heaven.  And on Pentecost He comes back again to put God in man again, so we could live as God intended men to live.  Was that His destiny; to come to you?  There’s no question that it’s true and He stopped at your heart.  He was determined to come to you.  Nothing could stop Him from coming to you. 

But He said, “The Father sent Me to save the world.  God gave Me an incarnate body through the Virgin Mary.  I went as far as I could go in that body.”  John 10:16, “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice, and they shall become one flock with one shepherd.”  He said, “My journey is not finished.”  John 17:20 again, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.”  John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” 

Jesus said, “I’ve come as far as I can come in my incarnate body.  May I have your body, please?”  It’s the same Jesus but He has a new body and He’s still on the journey.  His journey is to save others.  He came to me to reach them.  He came to you to reach them.  This is the Exchanged Life.  He’s still alive; it’s not you.  He lives in you.  John 17:22, “And the glory which thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are One. The glory that You gave Me, to enable Me to live as a man, I now give to them.”  “The glory that you gave Me, I give them.” John 20:21, “Jesus therefore said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’”  As the Father sent Me, I send you.  John 6:57, “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.”  John 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.”

When Jesus came to live as God intended man to live, He set aside Who He was by nature as God, and He said, “I will never again grasp that.”  And the Father said, “I will live in You.”  Our Lord Jesus set aside Who He was by nature and depended on the Father to live in Him.  He has called us to set aside who we are by nature and to be totally dependent on the One that lives in us.  “As the Father sent Me, I send you.”  That’s the Exchanged Life.  He still lives but He now lives to continue His journey.  Now that He has a new body, by your permission, He can continue the journey. 

He said, “Greater things I’ll do now.”  When He was on earth in His incarnate body, He was limited.  If He was in Jerusalem, He wasn’t in Bethany.  If He was in Bethany, He wasn’t in Jericho.  If He was in Jericho, He wasn’t in Samaria.  But now He has a new body.  He’s in the United States.  He’s in Africa.  He’s in China.  He’s in France.  He now lives and He can do greater things because He has a new body!

I once heard a story of a missionary girl and God had revealed to her this life that He wants to live in her.  She got all excited and wanted to give a testimony, but she was nervous.  So, she had trouble getting the words out correctly.  Here’s what she wanted to say, “Let Christ have His way in your life.”  Here’s what she did say, “Let Christ have His Life in your way.”  What she said was much better than what she intended to say! 

It’s possible that there is somebody in this room, you might be thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years old, and you have never lived as God intended you to live.  You haven’t understood what Jesus modeled in His example for living.  He said, “I make no decisions on My own.  I have no private will.  I don’t seek my own honor.  I don’t do anything unless He does it in me.  I don’t say anything unless it’s through Him.”  Have you even begun to taste the Exchanged Life?  He wants to live again as your substitute.  As He once died in your place, He now wants to live in your place.  He’s still on the journey.  He has not yet saved the world, and He wants to do it in us and through us.  May God help us to live as God intended man to live!

Our Heavenly Father, we thank You so much for Your word, not what we think it might mean but all that You have inspired it to mean.  Work that in our hearts we pray and thank You for being willing to live in us.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.