Crucified with Christ
Paul wrote, “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” (Galatians 2:20). The apostle explained, to be crucified with Christ means that he had accepted the atonement provided by Christ’s death upon the cross and purposes to repent of sin.
He added, “indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:8–10 also Romans 6:3–11).
The apostle understood that a personal knowledge of Christ exceeded in value all other attainments (John 17:3). If all the wealth and honor possible were his, he would gladly give them up that he might know the crucified Son of God and follow Him. This knowledge of God’s love motivates him to be crucifies with Christ.
Dead to Sin
Paul considered himself as dead to sin, to the world, and to the man-made ways of gaining righteousness, as if he had actually been crucified. These ways no longer enticed him nor appealed to him. The apostle taught that keeping the law can not purify one’s heart of the corruption of sin or give power to resist sin.
True keeping of the law can result only from the transformation of the heart by divine grace. Therefore, he affirmed, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).
While dead to some things, Paul was very much alive to other pursuits. He was as active after conversion as he was before. Following his example, the believer should not be idle. Christ taught that the new life of conversion is more abundant, successful and productive. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Christ Gives the Victory
Christ is the secret to a triumphant life. The Savior’s work within the believers can produce the same perfect life that He lived on earth. The love of Christ constrains the believer (2 Corinthians 5:14), and His righteousness becomes the positive power in his life for doing good.
God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, so that men might be empowered to obey the righteous requirements of His holy law. Paul says, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3, 4).
The purpose of the plan of salvation is to bring men’s life in line with the divine will. God did not offer His Son to abolish His law, or to release men from obedience to it (Matthew 5:17,18). For the law is an expression of the character of God. Humans, in their sinful nature, have been unable to obey its requirements, and the law has possessed no power to help them do that. But now Christ has come to make it possible for men to obey God’s law (Philippians 4:13).
To be crucified with Christ comes through faith in His promises (1 John 5:4). It is impossible for men to be crucified to sin on their own (Romans 8:7), but to those that believe (John 3:3) all things are possible (Mark 11:22–24). By faith, they become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
In His service,
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