Through Death, Life (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
How we live our lives is a subject of much conversation and little clarity in these days of self-definition. The world says we can live however we want to. The only measure of our choices is if they make us happy. But God’s Word turns that standard upside down. Our passage this week is a call to be what we are in Christ: crucified. Crucified to our old pattern of sinning, dead to our former ways of following whatever our heart wanted to do.
Now we live by faith. And by faith, we realize that the “follow your heart” mantra of so much pop-psychology leads us to dark places. The heart, left to itself, says Jeremiah, is desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9). It’s a dangerous business following an unredeemed heart. You’d never know it by watching movies and advertisements. It’s big business–and big money–to make sin look sweet. But no matter how glossy the story lines, Satan is lurking behind flesh-directed desires. And those desires always end in death.
Thanks be to God that Jesus died in place of sin-sick sinners. When He awakens us to new life through faith, we can say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Having been saved, we are now called to walk in obedience to Christ, looking to Him to strengthen us.
This is no morose adherence to a code of conduct, but the loving overflow of the Spirit’s work in us. We don’t obey in order to earn salvation, but in response to God’s rescue from our sin and His wrath. And we don't do this alone. After He justifies us by faith in His Son, God works to sanctify us, causing us to become like Jesus by transforming us “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). By faith we can ask God in confidence to change the desires of our hearts to match His desires for us—He is faithful to answer our prayers. The Spirit, Paul says, teaches us what to do and gives us the power to obey: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (8:11, emphasis added).
There is no more alive state than when we die to ourselves so that His life can live in us. It’s when we deny ourselves and live for Another, that we are truly alive.
Where does your flesh tempt you to "follow your heart" rather than follow God?
How can the reminder that you have died with Christ, and that He lives in you, help you to fight temptation to sin?
Ask the Lord to increase your faith that obeying Him is far better than anything the world, the flesh, or the devil can offer.
Candice Watters is the Fighter Verses editor. She is married to Steve Watters, Truth78's director of marketing and resource development. She is mom to Harrison, Zoe, Churchill, and Teddy and the author of Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help it Happen. Together she and Steve co-authored Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies. The Watterses love helping parents disciple their children.