How can I say that I have been crucified with Christ?
This is the key to a victorious life!
“I have been; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
This, indeed, is the heart of Christianity, the firm foundation of faith in Christ. Until this becomes true in a person’s life, he will suffer continual defeat and failure. As long as we live for ourselves, misery will result, because in us, that is, in our flesh, dwells no good thing. (Romans 7:18) No one can manage to follow in the steps of Christ, do the will of God, and keep His commandments on his own.
Everyone’s flesh is totally depraved, irreparable, helpless, and impossible. The more we try to do good, the more we discover that it is hopeless. What are we to do with a man who is thoroughly corrupt and incorrigible? When we recognize and acknowledge that this is our state, it brings us into need and causes us sorrow. Thus, God is able to open our eyes to see that we were crucified with Christ; not only was our certificate of debt nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), but also the debtor himself! (Romans 6:6)
This was included in the work of Christ; the Father reckons it to be so, and it is so. Paul could say in truth, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live.” We cannot and certainly should not say this if we do not live a victorious life. For instance, 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 – which would be blasphemous! Who lives a thoroughly victorious life in this world? Everyone who, by faith, is crucified with Christ; everyone who does not live for himself anymore.
This, dear reader, is the position of faith that we must take; and once we have received grace to take this position, it is vital that we are not moved away from it. These are great and unfathomable things! Nevertheless, God is also great, and His name is Wonderful! He, who in His mercy decided that it was good to call us to something so great, will Himself do this mighty work in us. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
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 and desires of my flesh – I no longer commit what I know to be sin willfully and consciously. Sin in my flesh has been nailed to the cross by faith.
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 manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness …?” 2 Peter 3:11.
It is easy to understand that no one is going to strive to believe that he has been crucified to something which he loves and wants to keep. In other words, before we can lay hold of faith in being crucified with Christ, we must have grown tired of ourselves. Yes, we have to be so sick and tired of sin and all the activity of self that we are thankful to be crucified with Christ and receive Him as Leader and Lord over our lives.
If you have this attitude, God will see to it that you get the opportunity to lay hold of faith in being crucified with Christ.
Consequently, two things are necessary to be crucified with Christ: (1) To want it. (2) To believe it!
Taking up my cross daily
“Then Jesus said to Hiss, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’” Matthew 16:24.
“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’” Luke 9:23.
We see that it cannot be taken for granted that a person is following Christ just because he is. But, if someone really wants to follow Him, he can receive clear instructions as to what he must do if he is to succeed.
As long as we live, the big question is and always will be: What do we do with our self-will? Everything depends on this. We all have an enormous and complex self-will that always resists God’s will. It is evident that these opposing wills cannot be carried out simultaneously! If I do my own will, I transgress God’s will; if I do God’s will, then I go against, or deny or crucify, my own will.
If I want to walk the same way that Jesus walked, the way which He consecrated, then I must deny my own will daily and take up my cross onto which my self-will is to be nailed, because that is what Jesus did. There I will find His steps.
Christ lived His entire life as One crucified. (Hebrews 12:2) He is the Master in this, and now He is teaching His disciples the same thing. When the Scriptures say that God condemned sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3), we understand that Jesus denied His self-will so that it was never carried out.
To be be able to say that I have been crucified with Christ also means that in the practical situations of daily life, I always, without exception, say “No” whenever I am tempted. To agree with temptation would be the same as coming down from the cross. We enter into life through all sorts of temptations. That is the same as constantly saying “No” to our self-will. We must be faithful in this and make no exceptions whatsoever. We must never get tired of saying “No!”
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.