“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.
This is the firm foundation of our faith in Christ. If this does not become true in our life, we will keep falling and falling in sin all the time. As long as “we live ourselves”, we become unhappy because nothing good lives in us, that is, in our sinful nature. (Romans 7:18.) No one can follow in the steps of Christ, do the will of God, and keep His commandments on their own.
Everyone’s flesh (our sinful human nature) is totally evil, corrupt and hopeless. The more we try to do good, the more we discover that it is hopeless. What should we do when we see that we are totally corrupt and cannot be changed? When we see and admit that this is how we are as human beings, we sorrow,. Then God can open our eyes to see that we have been crucified with Christ. (Galatians 2:20.) Not only was our “record of debt”, which kept record of all our sins, nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), but also our old sinful self was nailed to the cross with Christ! (Romans 6:6.)
This was included in the work of Christ; this is how the Father sees it. Paul could say in truth, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live.” We cannot say that if we still keep on sinning. For example, if I am offended, angry, or worried and then say that it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me, then I am saying that it is Christ who sins, that it is Christ who is offended, angry etc.
Who is overcoming all sin (that he knows about) in this world? Everyone who, by faith, is crucified with Christ; everyone who does not live for himself anymore.
This is something that we must believe to be true for ourselves; and once we have received grace to believe this for ourselves, it is very important that we are not moved away from it.
I have been crucified with Christ
What does it mean to be crucified with Christ? It means that I no longer live according to the sinful lusts and desires of my human nature – I no longer knowingly do what I know is sin. Sin in my human nature has been “nailed to the cross” by faith, so I don’t need to obey it anymore.
How can I say that I have been crucified with Christ? By faith! We read, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life [the overcoming life], to which you were also called …” 1 Timothy 6:12. And, “What kind of people should you be? You should lead holy and godly lives …” 2 Peter 3:11 (CJB).
It is easy to understand that no one wants to be “crucified” to something which he loves and wants to keep. In other words, before we can believe that we are crucified with Christ, we must have grown tired of ourselves. Yes, we have to be so sick and tired of sin and all our egoism, self-love, self-seeking, bitterness etc that we are thankful that we can be crucified with Christ and receive Him as Leader and Lord over our lives.
If this is what you want, God will make sure that you get faith in being crucified with Christ.
So, you need two things to be crucified with Christ: (1) You must want it. (2) You must believe it!
Taking up my cross daily
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, "All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 (CEB).
“Jesus said to everyone, "All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (CEB).
We see that we cannot think that just because we are a Christian or have been converted, that we are following Christ. But if we really want to follow Him, we have to say “No” to our own will, and do God’s will.
As long as we live, the big question is: What do we do with our self-will? Everything depends on this. We all have a strong self-will that always goes against God’s will. It is clear that I cannot do my own will and God’s will at the same time! If I do my own will, I don’t do God’s will; if I do God’s will, then I say “No” to my own will, or crucify my own will.
If I want to follow Jesus, walk the same way that He walked, then I must daily say “No” to my own will and take up my cross (the cross onto which my self-will is to be nailed), because that is what Jesus did.
Christ lived His whole life with His self-will crucified like this. (Hebrews 12:2.) And now He is teaching His disciples the same thing. When the Bible says that God “condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3), we understand that Jesus said “No” to His self-will so that He never obeyed it. And He always did the Father’s will.
To be able to say that I have been crucified with Christ also means that in the practical situations of daily life, I always say “No” whenever I am tempted to do my own will. To agree with temptation and doing what I am tempted to, would be the same as coming down from the cross. No, we must be faithful and never get tired of saying “No” to sin!