Most of us are familiar with the words of Galatians 2:20: “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.” It may be that we have memorized the verse, or it may be that we are familiar with it because it is a song we often sing with our young people at camp and various other youth activities. This one little verse can teach us so much. By breaking this verse down into four parts, notice the powerful lessons it teaches us.
“I am crucified with Christ. What a statement! Paul said he was crucified with Christ. Paul was not literally crucified, of course, but the statement was symbolic of the fact that he had been cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ offered for all mankind on the Cross of Calvary. Revelation 1:5 refers to Jesus as “him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” It is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from sin. We come into contact with that saving blood by believing in Jesus as the Son of God (Jn. 8:24), repenting of sins (Acts 17:30), confessing Christ’s name as the Son of God (Rom. 10:9-10), and being baptized into the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Paul also wrote to the Romans, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death…” (6:3-4). It is in the watery grave of baptism that we come into contact with the blood of Jesus and are cleansed from our sins. What a great joy and honor it is to be “crucified with Christ”!!!
“Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Notice the last part of Romans 6:4, how Paul mentions that “like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” John tells us in the book of 1 John, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1:7). That is a picture of one who lives, yet it is not him, but Christ living in him. When we “walk in the light,” or strive to live faithfully to God, Jesus lives within us, and we are alive in the greatest sense of the word!
“And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God…” Paul makes the point that his life is no longer his own, but, rather, he lives “by the faith of the Son of God.” That is to say, Paul was living his life how Jesus Christ would have him to live it, not by his own selfish and/or fleshly desires. How do we know how Jesus would have us to live once we come into contact with His cleansing blood? The answer is to look to His Book—the Bible. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). God’s Word makes us perfect (complete), and it furnishes us to every good work. What does “every” leave out? There is nothing about doing what is right in God’s sight that you cannot find within the pages of God’s Word. As Christians, our lives are no longer ours, but we live as God would have us to live, according to the precepts found in the Bible (cf. Heb. 5:9; Jn. 14:15).
“Who loved me, and gave himself for me.” We all know John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What greater reason to be crucified with Christ (washed in His soul-saving blood), raised to walk in newness of life, and give my life over to Him than the fact that He “love me, and gave himself for me”? Friends, there is no greater reason. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8). Even while we were His enemies (by our sins, Isa. 59:1-2), Christ died for us. There truly is no greater love than what God has shown us in offering His Son for our sins and Jesus’ love in freely offering Himself.
Are you crucified with Christ? Have you been “washed in the blood of the lamb?” If not, why not? If so, are you living your life “on your terms,” or have you surrendered your life to the will of your Savior? The life that you now live, is it worldly, or can you say as Paul did, that your life is now lived “by the faith of the Son of God?” If you are waiting for a reason, just read the rest of Galatians 2:20—He loved you when you were most unlovable, and He gave Himself for you.
[Article written by Chad Dollahite, taken from Bremen Church of Christ (Bremen, GA) bulletin]