Crucified With Christ (Galatians 2:20)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life 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
Crucifixion is a horrible death. One of the favorite means used by the Romans to execute enemies of the state, a criminal was typically secured to a vertical beam with a cross member by nails through each wrist and both feet. Death did not come quickly on a cross. It would usually take a person over 36 hours to die from suffocation once they became too tired to lift themselves up by their legs in order to allow air into their lungs.
Jesus Christ, the Creator and Sustainer of the cosmos, died a humiliating death in order to save those whom the Father gave to Him. And here, in the first book Paul wrote to the early church, he tells the congregations in Galatia that they too, as followers of Jesus, have been crucified.
As such, then, all followers of Jesus have been crucified. What this means is that our old sinful self which was at war with God, was His enemy, and was fully under His wrath, is now gone. The bondage to slavery and darkness that had been our lot has now been removed because we have been, spiritually speaking, crucified with Christ.
As Paul tells Christians later in his letter to the church in Rome, Christians are not only crucified with Christ, but they have also been buried with Him, raised with Him, and walk in newness of life with Him (Romans 6:2-4).
The crucifixion of Jesus is the seminal moment not only in the life of the Christian, but in all of recorded history. In it, Jesus finished and accomplished the mission of redemption that had been promised millennia before (Genesis 3:15). His resurrection is the inauguration of the coming restoration that will be revealed fully and consummated at His return.
Until that time, then, Paul says that Christians, who have a new identity by virtue of their union with Christ, live their lives not by earning anything, since Christ paid it all, but by faith. This faith is a trusting or resting in the completed work of Christ accomplished by His life, death, and resurrection, and always produces fruit as evidence of the new identity in the life of a Christian.
Paul ends this verse with one of the most poignant lines in all of Scripture as he reminds Christians that the omnipotent, omniscient, fully-satisfied-in-Himself God of the universe loves us and gave Himself for us. Oh, what sweet music to the ears of a person who has been saved! May our faith-filled lives reflect back to Christ His beauty and worth as we seek to make much of Him for as long as He grants us life here on His earth.
Have you ever considered yourself to be crucified?
What implications does the reality that our old selves have been crucified have on our lives today in regards to our sanctification?
In light of who Christ is, how does it make you feel to know that He lives in you? How might you respond to such a wonderful truth?