Galatians 2:19. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live [zoe] to God.
The law cannot bring life, therefore it is not the compelling force in my life. It cannot animate or motivate my love. Again, as we said yesterday, it can reveal the sin and self justification in my life, but it cannot cause me in any way to love or trust.
Dying to the law is what allows us to live to God. That is, to image God. To live to God’s glory can never come from living to the law, because living from human merit denigrates the grace of God. Remember that in the Garden, mankind chose law (the Tree of Knowledge) over grace (the Tree of Life). We must die to any system of life that replaces God’s grace with our own merit.
But how is living to God even possible apart from merit? Aren’t we still left in need of a system for living to God? A checklist? A how-to? A formula? Aren’t we supposed to figure out how to live to God and then put into the place the best principles and practices for making it happen?
Paul’s answer comes in Galatians 2:20- a fundamental scripture for this blog and the entire “to live is Christ” theme.
Galatians 2:20. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live [zoe], but Christ who lives [zoe] in me. And the life I now live [zoe] in the flesh I live [zoe] by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Let’s look at the first half of this verse:
I have been crucified with Christ.
On the day Jesus died on the cross, you died with him. You were literally, yet spiritually crucified along with Christ. This is a glorious and foundational truth for the Christian life- we have died with Christ. This is union with Christ. This is living for God. And yet this is one of the hardest truths for Christians to appropriate. We must stop seeking the crucified life. You have already been crucified. You are not daily crucified or “dying daily to sin.” You have already died to sin once for all time. Daily dying to sin is law keeping- not faith in your co-crucifixion.
Does “dying with Christ” make me the source of my own salvation? No, only Christ alone could be the vicarious substitute and atonement for our sins. He died alone and only he could die in our place. Christ died FOR me frees me from the penalty of sin. But Christ died WITH me frees me from the power of sin. Through union with Christ, we share in the benefits of the crucifixion. My crucifixion with Christ frees me from the power of the Law and thus the power of sin. The law tried and condemned Jesus and you on the cross. His and your death means that the law no longer has any power over you. And if the law has lost its power, then so has sin.
Apart from this union with Christ’s death, we would never experience the benefits of that death. His victory first is our victory second.
It is no longer I who live
This is the key to daily victory- knowing that I have died and no longer live. The sinful flesh inside of us will only yield to our co-crucifixion. All of your daily resolutions and self-crucifixion will never work. Only co-crucifixion with Christ works. The self has been dealt with completely. The Old Man is no longer a problem. There is no other way to deny the self and deal with the Old Man. We must by faith accept that “it is no longer I who live.”
but Christ who lives in me
This is the historic, crucified Christ (the one in the Bible). He is now living his life out spiritually through us, through our bodies and the Body (Church). If Christ who satisfied the Law lives in us, why would we believe that we must still satisfy the Old Testament law’s demands- or any law’s demands for that matter. This truth of Christ living out his life through our lives is the key to everything we have said in this blog so far this year- YES IT’S THAT IMPORTANT!
“To live is Christ” and “Christ lives in me” are the same thing. I guess the next question is “do you believe this?” And that’s the second half of the verse, that we will explore tomorrow.