What does it mean to be crucified with Christ? (Galatians 2:20)
Understanding this key teaching is a matter of life!
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Crucified with Christ
“Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Romans 6:6.
Paul writes as if this was something that was commonly known and believed: that the old man was crucified. Nowadays, this is quite unknown among Christians. Perhaps they know about it as dead knowledge, but they do not believe it, so it does not benefit them.
Recently someone testified that he now believed he was crucified with Christ, that it was an act of faith. He was overjoyed. It was wonderful to hear, because it was completely different from the old understanding: commit sin and receive grace to be forgiven. It is appropriate for a beginner to be excited about forgiveness, but when a person should have become a teacher in Christ and still continues to sin, that is lazy and deplorable. 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.
Dead to sin
By faith we keep sin in death where it belongs. We reckon ourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Sin must not reign in our mortal bodies, that we obey it in its lusts. (Romans 6:11-12)
We have lusts in our mortal body, but we must not obey them. In other words, we are dead to our lusts. We have received power to do this by taking this stand of faith: dead with Christ, crucified with Christ.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20. If Paul could believe that he was crucified with Christ, it must be possible for us too. That is why it is written as a fact: “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24.
A victorious life
Why live without victory then? Whining and complaining about continuous defeat sounds so humble, but the root of it is only sin and unbelief. The same spring cannot bring forth both fresh and bitter water. (James 3:10-11)
Standing at the foot of the cross is no help; it was not down at the foot of the cross that Jesus overcame. We have to get up on the cross. That is where Jesus overcame principalities and powers and all the hosts of hell. That is where we overcome too.
Priests and preachers should start teaching this to their disciples as soon as possible because it is a fact that only a very few believers have faith and a clear understanding of this matter—and it is a matter of life.
This article has been translated from Norwegian, and was first published with the title, “Crucified with Christ” in BCC’s periodical “Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden Treasures”) in September 1935.
© Copyright Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.