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 is “ground zero” for understanding our union with Christ. No other verse so clearly and fully encapsulates all that it means to be joined to our Savior, Jesus. Let’s break it down:
I have been crucified with Christ.
Through union with Christ, we share in all the benefits of Jesus’ crucifixion. On the cross Jesus alone was tried and condemned by the law, and on the cross Jesus alone took the curse of the law and the penalty of sin. When we are placed into Christ by faith, we receive all that Christ accomplished alone on that cross. His unique work of salvation is now applied to all who are in him – freedom from and victory over sin and death.
This is the foundational truth for the Christian life, and likely the hardest truth for Christians to appropriate. The great struggle of the Christian life begins here – seeing yourself as dead to sin and the law. Seeing your spiritual crucifixion as being complete as Christ’s physical crucifixion. Believing that “It is finished.” That the only remaining work of the Christian life is now faith. Trusting that sin has been overcome in your life, rather than striving to overcome sin.
It is no longer I who live
This is the only way to experience Christ’s victory each day – trusting that your old nature no longer lives. The old man is dead and gone. The sinful desires inside of us can only be overcome by yielding to this death of the sin nature. All other resolutions and re-commitments will never work. Only trusting in our crucifixion with Christ works. Only believing that the old self has been dealt with completely. The more we accept that I no longer live, the more Christ will live through us.
but Christ who lives in me
Christ is living his life through us. His indwelling life is now our standard and our power source for living. All of Jesus’ blessings and benefits are ours. Christ lives in me, is the fulfillment of every promise of God, and the realization of every plan of God. It is all our hope and righteousness. It is all our meaning and purpose. It is all our love and all our life. It is everything.
the life I now live in the flesh
Yes, we died with Christ, but we are still living. What a glorious truth. Christ lives in me does not erase me. Christ doesn’t live instead of me; he lives in me. I now live. We are now truly alive for the first time. Union with Christ does not wipe out our unique experiences, memories, or personalities. It absorbs them and transforms them into Christ’s character. Joined to Christ we can now actually become our best selves.
I live by faith in the Son of God
Faith is our new way of life. Our new instinct. Faith in what? Faith in the Son of God and in the finality of his work in us. Faith is never about getting God to do something beyond what he has already done for you in Christ. There is no spiritual experience beyond your co-crucifixion and co-resurrection with Jesus. Therefore, faith is trusting that what Christ has already done is all I need.
who loved me and gave himself for me
This is the task of the Christian life – to live by faith in the great love of God for us in Christ. Each moment of each day trusting in the self-giving of Jesus. Jesus lived his life from this same faith, knowing and trusting in the Father’s love for him. We too, must live fully dependent upon Christ’s loving sacrifice for us on the cross. As soon as we take our eyes off of the cross we WILL default back to law keeping, to trying to control, to death.
“To live is Christ” IS Christ lives in me. No more and no less. His death is our death. His life is our life. All that is his is ours. All that he has done is applied to us. There is no greater truth in life than this. No greater hope. Nor greater love. You are as loved by God as Jesus is. Do you believe this? Will you, this very day, live by faith in this One who loved you and gave himself for you? I know you will.
Do you believe that Christ lives in you?
You in Christ
How can knowing that you are in Christ and Christ is in you bring you hope and peace today?
Christ in you
In what area of your life do you need to live by faith in Christ’s completed work for you?
Playlist: Christ In Me.
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