The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20 “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.” I encourage you to have this same pattern for your life.
The crucifixion of Jesus upon the cross is central to the belief of every Christian. Because of His obedience to God the Father and His love for you, Christ gave Himself to die upon the cross. The apostle states that he saw himself crucified with Christ. That means that he died to his old life just as Christ died upon the cross. The old nature of sin and following fleshly desires was put to death. In the book of Romans, the apostle similarly describes this spiritual death as dying to sin and being baptized into Christ’s death. Romans 6:1-4 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” You should see yourself spiritually crucified with Christ and buried with Him through baptism into death. Christ’s physical death is a pattern for your spiritual death. Just as Christ died so that He could be resurrected from the dead and go to reign in heaven, even so you must die spiritually so that you can be born again and walk in newness of life as a follower of Jesus Christ. Romans 6:11-14 “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” You are crucified with Christ.
Christ now must live in you. Romans 8:9-11 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” If you do not have the Spirit of Christ living in you, you are not His. His Spirit gives life to you. Christ must live within you. 2 Corinthians 13:5-6 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.” Is there evidence in your life that Jesus Christ is in you? Are you bearing the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)? Christ lives in you.
The life which you now live in the flesh, you live by faith in the Son of God, who loved you and gave Himself for you. Living by faith not only means believing that Jesus is the Son of God, but it means that you are His follower. Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’” You deny yourself; you obey His commands; you follow His precepts; you follow His example; you trust in His promises. The life you now live in the flesh, you live by faith in the Son of God.
Jesus loved you so much that He gave Himself for you. Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Now you want to please Him because He first loved you. 1 John 4:19 “We love Him because He first loved us.” Your service to God is not because you have to; it is not because of what others will think about you; it is not because of the lake of fire that awaits those who reject God’s way. You service to God is because you love Him because He first loved you.
My encouragement to you is to see yourself crucified with Christ. You no longer live, but Christ lives in you. The life which you now live in the flesh, you live by faith in the Son of God, who loved you and gave Himself for you.