As we continue our study on the Cross of Christ, we look at Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (CSB) The Apostle Paul talks about being crucified with Christ. What does that mean? What is a life that has been crucified with Jesus supposed to look like?
I did some looking on the Internet to see what others have said about this. Most of us think of it as the “old man” being crucified when we were saved, which is true. However, it also should mean that we are conscious of the sin we struggle with every day and are endeavoring to get it out of our lives. Johan Oscar Smith, in an article I found on the Active Christianity website, says, “At some point we have to come to victory over all that we know to be sin, because conscious sin is of the old man. Then we gradually discover the sin which has been unconscious. As we receive light over unconscious sin, we will also crucify it. The body of sin will thereby be destroyed, and we will no longer serve sin.” The act of being crucified with Christ includes a conscious effort on our part to conquer the “sin that so easily besets us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
J. Vernon McGee states, in his commentary on Galatians, “We are not to seek to be crucified with Christ. We have already been crucified with Him. The principle of living is not by the Law which has slain us because it found us guilty. Now we are to live by faith. Faith in what? Faith in the Son of God. You see, friend, the death of Christ upon the cross was not only penal (that is, paying the penalty for our sins), but it was substitutionary also. He was not only the sacrifice for sin; He was the substitute for all who believe.”
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He forgives our sin and comes to live inside of us. He helps us to conquer sin in our lives. It is through faith in what He has done for us that gives us the strength to conquer those things that would cause us to stray. We can be victors over sin because He is living in us and showing us what needs to be changed. He gives us the power to accomplish this. (Acts 1:8)
We don’t live under the law but under the law of grace. God’s grace covers us, and we are no longer found guilty because of Christ’s blood covering and sacrifice. Therefore, we are alive in Christ. We live by faith in Jesus, He gives us the strength and power to live a life that can win over our sins. We can’t do this on our own…only through Jesus can we conquer our failures.
Does that mean we are perfect and never sin? No, it means that when we are confronted with sin in our lives, Jesus helps us to defeat it so that we can nail that sin on the cross and win the victory over it. This means we must be looking for those things that would cause us to break our relationship with God and deal with them.
This is a life-long process. Every day we must take charge over our sin and refuse to be obedient to it. We then can say like Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ!”