Crucified with Christ
VIDEO: In this sermon by Kaare J. Smith, He speaks about a life in overcoming sin – in Jesus’ footsteps!
Crucified with Christ means following Christ
“‘And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.’ Galatians 5:24. That has to be our position of faith.” In this message from the Brunstad Christian Church summer conference in Norway in July 2019, Kaare J. Smith speaks about what it means in practice to be crucified with Christ, and what Paul means when he says we must crucify the flesh with its passions and desires.
Crucify the flesh before sin comes out of the body!
He explains how the law only could deal with sin after it came out of the body, but that the Holy Spirit can give us power to deny the very lusts (passions and desires) in our body before they become sin. This is what Jesus did, and that is why He never sinned. To be crucified with Christ means we follow Him on the same way, and “crucify the flesh” by saying “No!” to temptation.
We all have many choices to make in life, and choosing which side we stand on – siding with the Holy Spirit or the lusts of the flesh – is crucial for our own future, as well as the future of our children, so we have to think about this seriously, Kaare J. Smith exhorts.
“So sin, or the desire to sin, lies hidden in your body. Also after you have been born again. But here, as soon as the lusts rise up, we are to count ourselves dead to sin,” says Kaare J. Smith. Then I crucify the flesh by denying its demands – then I am crucified with Christ!
Watch and listen to the whole sermon here and read a translation of the entire transcript below.
Message by Kåre J. Smith, morning meeting 14th July 2019, Brunstad
We can read in Galatians 5. What we choose here actually decides our future and the future of our children, and the generations after us. We can read here first, in verse 16: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another,” – two mighty powers – “so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
Then you can think: What do I want as a person? In reality I don’t want to be under the influence of either one thing or the other. I want to live a “Paradise life” and have a good conscience because then I can enjoy the world and I can enjoy this Paradise life. That’s what one actually wants, but that isn’t possible. It’s not possible! No, either you have to come under the influence of the Spirit, or the influence of the flesh. And if I come under the influence of that, then I know that that is death. “If you live according to the flesh, then you will die.” There’s no more written about that; you just die. You have no hope, no future, no eternal life. But if you come under the influence of the Spirit, then God’s gift in Jesus Christ is eternal life! And then you also come to these amazing fruits of the Spirit. And when they grow, then that is the divine nature, the greatest, most precious promises that God has given us.
That is something to think about: “Which one will you take? Which one will you take? Two paths lie before you – which one will you take?” So this is really a decisive choice you have to make, and you need to think about that in your youth and also continue to do so throughout your life. We constantly have to make new choices in our lives. If I am under the influence of the flesh, then that will become manifest in my body.
We can read about that further, in verse 19: “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand,” – so before the rapture – “just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” They are not heirs. Heirs are those that hunger and thirst, who are poor in spirit, those who live this hidden life, not with the lusts in their flesh, but with God.
And there you have to choose whom you are going to live with. If you want to live there in the hidden with your lusts, then that will come forth from your body more and more. And you will not inherit the kingdom of God! It’s clear: You are not one flesh with Him then; That’s the bride on the way to her bridegroom. An adulterer, and one who lives in these … who causes divisions and can’t submit in an ordinary way, and doesn’t even have common decency, isn’t going to inherit God’s kingdom! No, far from it! You must understand this, when you live according to the flesh.
Verse 24: “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” That has to be our position of faith. I do have the law of sin in my members, even though I’m free from the law of sin and the law of death, I’m not free from having the law of sin in my members. I’m not free from that law, because I’m still tempted!
And when we read in Romans 6:12, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” So sin, or the desire to sin, lies hidden in your body. Also after you have been born again. But here, as soon as the lusts rise up, we are to count ourselves dead to sin. We read that in verse 11: “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God.” When I am tempted, then the Word must come to me, the testimony of the Word, and by this heavenly seed … When God’s seed is in you, you cannot sin, the apostle John says, I think in 3:8. You cannot sin! And in that way, you can always live a victorious life.
Because we can see what Peter says in 1 Peter 1:6-7: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” So we see that temptation is not sin. It is a test of our faith. You haven’t sinned when you are tempted. That comes from your flesh, but when you say, “No,” then it never enters your heart. Because there the Spirit is much quicker than the law. The law can only condemn sin when it comes out of the body. But the Spirit is quick, and takes it at the time of temptation, when you are tempted, before it gets entrance to your heart. “No!” Then it is a test of your faith.
And Jesus says this, “Whoever looks at a woman to list for her …” Take note of that: “To lust for (or covet) her …” And the law has said, “You shall not covet.” But if you look at a woman to covet her, then you have agreed with the lusts in your flesh. Then you have said “Yes” to the lusts in your body instead of what is written: to count yourself dead to your lusts. That is what you should have done. That must be your position of faith!
Here it’s a question of what you want with your life. Everything in the kingdom of God is completely voluntary. Completely voluntary! So, this is a matter of your will. What do you want with your life? In the power of the Spirit it is possible to count yourself dead to sin and alive to God and His Word and His power.
So this one here served the law of sin with his mind and that is why there was adultery in his heart. That was enough; then it came in. It entered the heart. Paul, on the other hand, speaks about serving God’s law with your mind, and that is why he was always able to live a victorious life. Not just that, but in chapter 8 he also speaks about being more than conquerors. And I have wondered about that word now and again; how can we be more than conquerors? But that is actually when they love you less, you love them more! That must be more than victory! That was Paul’s attitude to the Corinthians: the less they loved him, the more he loved them. That is incredible! That is a completely divine life.
We can read in James 4:1: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” These were Christian people, and they argued so the dust flew! They didn’t understand that it was the lusts in their flesh that caused war. They didn’t understand that. They were quite sure that it was the other one, of course. It’s always the other one who is at fault if you don’t understand to judge yourself. “This is the light, that judgment has come to the world.” When I hold the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience, then I understand what the judgment is. Then I enter into His death with my own life. That is the judgment: That I shall die to myself. Not the others! It’s about my life, and I must give account just for myself. Nobody must forget that! This concerns your life, this concerns yourself, and you aren’t going to give account for this one or that one and criticize this one or that one. It’s about you when you are in front of God’s judgment seat! Don’t forget this! And then stop being a busybody in other people’s affairs.
And when lusts in your members wage war, it often ends up with divisions and strife, in the midst of the assembly, in the midst of the church. Quarrels and party spirit … That is because you don’t count yourself dead to these lusts, otherwise it would never have been like that. So you must meet sin with opposition. You must fight the good fight of faith. There is a battle to fight, also for the believers, and that is against that which dwells in our flesh. And I have to meet that at the first stage, as soon as the temptation is there, I have to meet it. Then you have to resist the lusts to bloodshed. Fight until bloodshed!
They couldn’t do this under the law. It wasn’t possible with the law, because the law didn’t come into effect until sin became visible. Then the law could work. “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did …” What a liberation! “… by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh …” There is a difference between us and Jesus, and that is that it is the same flesh, but the flesh doesn’t become sinful until you’ve lived according to it, and Jesus never did that! He never did that! That is why it’s written the likeness of sinful flesh. “… on account of sin …” Why did Jesus come to the world? He came on account of sin; He came in order to help you and me! That is why He came to this world! He is our Savior! And He became our Savior when He was raised from the dead with great power. And that power is active today in us who believe. That is why it’s also possible for us to overcome sin, to overcome sin completely and fully!
So, we see that God’s work in Jesus Christ goes far deeper than the law. Far deeper. Because this work permeated the body itself and condemned the lust itself. And that is why Peter says, in chapter 4:1, “He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” Finished. Finito! You can suffer it through, and you can cease from sin. Free from sin for all eternity! Free forever! That is a fantastic, glorious thing. That is the glad tidings; that is the gospel! Praised be His name!
Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. That is apostolic. That is God’s Word. And He did that when the temptation came; He conquered that in the power of the eternal Spirit whom the Father had given Him. He conquered it.
It was God who condemned sin in His flesh, and now the Holy Spirit does the same work in us. By that mighty power, the power of resurrection, that will happen in you who believe. And each temptation that came up was conquered. In that way He suffered death in the flesh and He suffered, being tempted. We have to do that too. But in return, His spirit was quickened, made alive. He was justified in His spirit so that even death could not hold Him, and God could place the whole of God’s wisdom in that spirit. So God’s wisdom is Christ. And God Himself used all of His wisdom, all that He had, to lead the Son to victory, to such a life, in a weak human being! And now we can follow Him, into the sanctuary, through the flesh. But then you must hate what dwells there. Then it can also succeed.
During this exercise – it is an exercise in godliness – you must fight the good fight of faith. It’s not possible without Godly fear. Look at Solomon. He was the wisest person on earth, but he had received it as a gift. But here is more than Solomon, said Jesus. Jesus had it as His life, in that His spirit was quickened and justified. They crucified a righteous man, and He didn’t die for His own sake, but there the devil miscalculated so He died for our sins. So we were reconciled with God. And now, even more, we must come to salvation through His life. That is the gospel. The first part is reconciliation and the second part is salvation. And all that battle, all that victory can only take place in a person who is crucified with Him. Only then can this take place! And I have to say that this mystery is great.
Let us bear the reproach of the cross! Let us bear this! Here the bride goes to meet her bridegroom. It is the life of the bride. He has won her heart. That is also the same as Christ and the church. They are one flesh. It is the same life. “At last, bone of my bones, at last, flesh of my flesh!” It is the same life! May God mightily strengthen us today, that we lay hold of faith in this new life in Jesus Christ, He who has died for you. He is the only one worthy of living for.
May God mightily strengthen the church. Amen.
You may be interested in reading more on our topic page about overcoming sin.