Shared January 8th, 2015
“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).
Our last two exhortations took us to the deaths of the Apostles. Our Scripture today starts with the crucified life, “I am crucified with Christ…” This assertion raises a question: “How could we be crucified with Christ?” One thing is for sure; we can’t go back in time and join Christ on the cross! But we can still be crucified with Christ. This crucifixion speaks of the termination of our old life.
Even though the Apostles were not literally crucified with Christ on the cross, they were still crucified with Christ, and so can we. Do I mean go to Saudi Arabia or Iraq or Iran or any of those moslem countries, declare yourself a Christian so that you are killed? No! So what does “crucified with Christ” mean?
It means exactly what Christ did and which the Apostles also did. Look at what the Apostles did, and we (that is, you and I) can do the same. They had faith in Christ because they saw Him resurrected. As a result they died to the Law (Romans 7:1-6); as Christians, we can also die to legalism and self-righteousness. The Scripture says, “It is no longer I who live” and as we saw last time, the Apostles died “to self;” and so can you and I. The Scripture says we have crucified “the flesh,” which the Apostles did, and so can you and I. And by the way, this crucifixion occurs in practice as we continue to “put to death” the things that we do daily and which do not glorify God. The Scripture says we have been crucified “to the world” (Galatians 6:14), which the Apostles did, and so can you and I. You see before we were saved by Christ, we were in bondage to the rudiments of the world but now as Christians (born again, that is), just like the Apostles, Christ rules and has authority in and over our lives.
What am I saying? That nothing external, (i.e. Law, world) or internal, (i.e. self, flesh) controls us; we have now surrendered all that to the authority of Christ, just like the Apostles. As we keep Christ’s commandments, we are assured that He lives in us! So it says, “nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:” This is the Christ-life and it leads us to our next focus, faith, in Christ.
Yes, so we live by faith in Christ. By “faith” I simply mean, “trust” so living by faith in Christ means constantly trusting in Jesus, just like the Apostles, to the extent that they were willing to live sacrificial lives and also to die all those horrible deaths. Theirs was a changed life “And the life which I now live in the flesh…” And you know, we are able to do all that, like the Apostles, because of God’s grace.
Ah! Grace! Grace, grace, God’s grace! Grace that can pardon, and cleanse! If not for the grace of God then beloved, I am afraid to say:
· Our faith would be useless
· Our repentance would meaningless
· Our baptism would be fruitless
· Our salvation would be impossible!
In our last two exhortations, is this not what we saw with respect to the Apostles? That was the life they all lived in the flesh; after surrendering to Christ, theirs were:
· Lives crucified with Christ
· Lives in which Christ lived in them
· Lives where they lived by faith in Christ
· Lives that embraced the grace of God
2014 is gone, never to return and never can we go back into 2014. We are now in 2015. Can the same be said of us? Making it personal now, can the same be said of me?
· Have I been crucified with Christ (died to legalism, self, flesh, world)?
· Is Christ living in me (manifested by keeping His commandments)?
· Am I living by faith in Christ (trusting His blood, His Word)?
· Am I always trusting in the grace of God (not my self-righteousness, my own goodness)?
Again I ask that question: “What is left?” And the answer is “Faith!” “I live by the faith of the Son of God…” Which means a controlled life. Like the Apostles, we can also say we are controlled by “By the faith of the Son of God.” The apostles lived a confident-life: “Who loved me and gave himself for me.” This takes us full circle, back to the cross. What started at the cross, “I am crucified with Christ,” ends with the cross, “Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Hallelujah!
Proposed prayer: Heavenly Father like the Apostles, “I have been crucified with Christ; 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 for me, [YOUR NAME]. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.“ Thank You for demonstrating through the Apostles that with You on my side, I can also make it and one day, be with You and all the saints in heaven. Amen!