And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. ²⁵If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.—Galatians 5:24-25
Did you know that you’ve already died? That’s right. If you belong to Jesus, you’ve died. Of course this is not a Sixth Sense, out-of-the-body-experience type of death. But in a real sense, everyone who belongs to Christ has died. On Sunday morning, you do in fact “see dead people.” How?
Well, it wasn’t an easy death. There was wood and it was all but smooth. It was splintered, having grated against the infected back of the criminal who would hang from it. Its color was a burnt umber, lined with traitor’s blood—a rusty crimson hue that formed in the unattended notches. It was on this wood that Jesus was crucified. That’s how you died (Galatians 2:20; 6:14). So what does Jesus’s death have to do with yours?
Our passage begins with “those who belong to Christ.” The Apostle Paul first knows that he is not his own and neither are you. Earlier in Galatians 3:25-27 he says, “Now that faith has come...as many of you who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.” Part of this unimaginable reality is that since you have been baptized into Christ you now have a new identity. You belong to him entirely. His death became your death and his life became your life.
That’s what this Fighter Verse is about—your death and life. In your union with Christ you “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”—not only being executed, but also having paradoxically become the executioner. You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). The very foundation of this life (v. 25) is death (v. 24). You first have to die before you can live. Considering yourself dead to sin and alive to God, you must daily, by the power of the Holy Spirit, put to death the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13).
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” The instruction given us in Galatians 5:25 now wields a particular power in our discipleship and ongoing sanctification. When renegade desires are marching in rank to sack the fortress of your Holy Spirit-given heart, arm your artillery with this verse: “Soul, you have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Lust lies limp on Calvary. Envy has been emptied of all its ferocity on that hill. Your fly-off-the-handle temper was tortured in a holy wrath on Golgotha. By faith in him, Jesus’s death became your death. His life became your life. Therefore, if you live by the Spirit, then walk by the Spirit.
The Fighter Verse begins with “those who belong to Christ.” What are some implications about your identity in this phrase?
How can knowing your identity as alive in Christ empower you to fight against your sin?
What are your most common temptations that this verse can directly speak against?