Crucified with Christ

Crosses

Paul told the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

These statements Paul made about himself ought to apply to every Christian.

I Have Been Crucified with Christ – Jesus’ death on the cross is at the heart of the gospel message. Paul told the brethren in Corinth, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). He willingly laid down His life in this sacrifice for us (John 10:17-18).

Paul told the Romans that we must “become united with Him in the likeness of His death” (Romans 6:5). He explained how this is done. We are to become “dead to sin” (Romans 6:11) through repentance. We must also be baptized into Christ. Paul wrote, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death” (Romans 6:3-4). Many religious people minimize the importance of baptism, but Paul said it was necessary to have hope for the resurrection. “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5).

It Is No Longer I Who Live – Paul did not say that He died a literal death. He was still alive in the flesh, but he was no longer living for himself. He told the Corinthians, “He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:15). This is what we must do – live for Christ rather than for ourselves.

To do this, we must be willing to make sacrifices. Paul said, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). We must lay aside our own desires and give our lives over to His service, no matter what sacrifices we might have to make to do so.

Christ Lives in Me – The Bible teaches that Christ dwells in the Christian (Romans 8:10; Ephesians 3:17). There is much controversy about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:14), but somehow this is not much of an issue. We understand that Christ does not dwell in the Christian directly, literally, and personally. Yet many miss this point when it comes to the Spirit.

Christ dwells in us by faith. Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17). We know that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). So how do we have Christ dwell in us? We live according to the word of God. We need to live as Jesus did since He left “an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

I Live by Faith in the Son of God – Faith is essential in order to please God and be justified before Him (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 5:1). As Paul said here, “I live by faith in the Son of God.” We must believe this about Jesus – that He is the Son of God and not just a man.

What does it mean to have faith in Jesus? We must recognize who He is. Not only is He the Son of God and, therefore, Deity (John 5:17-18; Colossians 2:9), He is also the Savior. Salvation is through Him and no one else (Acts 4:12). He is called the Lord because He has “all authority” (Matthew 28:18). He is also our Judge as we are accountable to Him (2 Corinthians 5:10).

All of this points to the importance of obedience. We are to have faith in Christ, but faith does no good without works (James 2:16-17). We must act according to what He has commanded and authorized (Colossians 3:17). In the end, He will judge us according to what we have done (2 Corinthians 5:10). We “live by faith,” not just believe. Instead, the course of our life is to be directed by our faith in Jesus.

He Loved Me and Gave Himself Up for Me – This statement not only applies to Christians, but for all men. Jesus died on the cross for the world (John 3:16). For those of us who are Christians, we know that He loved us before we loved Him (1 John 4:10, 19). Paul said that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

The love Christ had that compelled Him to suffer death on the cross for us provides a lesson as well. “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). We ought to respond to His sacrifice with love for Him. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). As He gave Himself up for us, we must give ourselves up for Him (Romans 12:1).

Conclusion

Paul was able to make these statements with confidence. Do we have this same confidence? Have you been crucified with Christ? Can you honestly say that you no longer live your life for yourself, but for Christ? Do you live by faith, demonstrating your love by sacrificing yourself to Him? This is what we are called to do. Let us live in such a way that we can have the same confidence as the apostle Paul.


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