Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Have you been crucified with Christ?



Paul strongly rejects the erroneous conclusion that being justified by faith in Christ actually made Jews sinners, thus painting Christ as a promoter of sin.  Those who attempt to be justified through “the works of the law” are “cursed” (Galatians 3:10).  If anyone attempts to reassert the “works of the law” as having any part in justification before God, the law itself convicts that person of being a transgressor (Galatians 3:19–25).  The law itself is not sinful; its purpose is to convince individuals of their personal spiritual deadness in sin outside of faith in Christ (Romans 7:7–13).

“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!  For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.  For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. (Galatians 2:17-19)

Through studying the Old Testament Scriptures, Paul realized that he could not be saved by obeying God’s laws.  The prophets knew that God’s plan of salvation did not rest on keeping the law.  Because we have all been infected by sin, we cannot keep God’s laws perfectly.  Fortunately, God has provided a way of salvation that depends on Jesus Christ, not on our own efforts.  Even though we know this truth, we must guard against the temptation of using service, good deeds, charitable giving, or any other effort as a substitute for faith.

Paul and every believer were crucified with Christ in order to die to sin, the law, and “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4).  While believers live on physically, Christ also lives within them spiritually.  Christ’s resurrection power through the Spirit is worked out through the Christian (Romans 6:4–11) who chooses to live by faith in the Son of God.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Galatians 2:20-21)

How have we been crucified with Christ?  Legally, God looks at us as if we had died with Christ.  Because our sins died with Him, we are no longer condemned (Colossians 2:13-15).  Relationally, we have become one with Christ, and His experiences are ours.  Our Christian life began, in unity with Him; we died to our old life (Romans 6:5-11).  In our daily life, we must regularly crucify sinful desires that keep us from following Christ.  This too is a kind of dying with Him (Luke 23:25).

And yet the focus of Christianity is not dying, but living.  Because we have been crucified with Christ, we have also been raised with Him (Romans 6:5).  Legally, we have been reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:19) and are free to grow into Christ’s likeness (Romans 8:29).  And in our daily life, we have Christ’s resurrection power as we continue to fight sin (Ephesians 1:19, 20).  We are no longer alone, for Christ lives in us – He is our power for living and our hope for the future (Colossians 1:27).

Believers today may still be in danger of acting as if Christ died for nothing.  How?  By replacing Jewish legalism with their own brand of Christian legalism, they are giving people extra laws to obey.  By believing they can earn God’s favor by what they do, they are not trusting completely in Christ’s work on the cross.  By struggling to appropriate God’s power to change them (sanctification), they are not resting in God’s power to save them (justification).  If we could be saved by being good, then Christ did not have to die.  But the cross is the only way to salvation.  If righteousness is attainable through keeping the law of Moses, then God’s gracious act of sending Christ to die on the Cross to pay for sin was unnecessary and useless ( Romans 3:4–26).

Father God, it is my prayer this morning to humbly fall down at the foot of the cross and thank you for Your free gift of salvation.  I ask You to search my heart and soul to rid me of all pride, jealousy, envy and hatred.  I ask You Lord to fill my heart and soul with the joy, peace and happiness that can only come from knowing and following You.  I pray this all in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.

15 comments:

Joe said...

Great post addressing what is a huge issue in some of the churches today. We see some of our brothers and sisters getting chained to legalism. Weren't we given liberty through faith in Jesus' work on the cross? Many still get wrapped up in works, thinking if they don't eat pork or shrimp that they can add to their righteousness. Discouraging.

Frank Blasi said...

That is an excellent post! The imputation of Christ's life into ours (i.e. God see the spotless life of Jesus Christ credited to our account) is so glorifying to God.

The Path Traveled said...

This is beautiful that we know because God tells us this and that he gave us the gift to save our souls. I thank God that he is in my heart and lives in me daily.

Rhonda said...

without the crucifixion we would not have the resurrection! Wonderful article and well written

Clint said...

Thank you. Amen.

T-Childs said...

This is a really good post, well-written, clear and simple to understand; such is the best theology.

I think we all need to hear this again and again, because I think so many of us get caught up in legalism and thinking 'doing good' alone will save us; if so, as you say, then Christ died needlessly. The fact is, we die to sin with Christ, and are raised again to a hopefully new life with Him.

Thanks for posting such a good post; look forward to many more!

dfish said...

Great post, Lloyd.

As Paul said in Galatians 5:1-4, to depend on keeping the law is to be fallen from grace, like a person clinging to a cliff face who refused to grab a rope and allow them to pull him to safety and eventually fell off. Once the fall it is too late to save them.

Dee said...

Good post...very understandable and true!

David C Brown said...

Frm the old hymn:

"For me, Lord Jesus, Thou hast died,
And I have died with Thee;
Thou'rt risen: my bands are all untied;
And now Thou liv'st in me.
The Father's face in radiant grace
Shines now in light on me."

Mrs. A.R. Cousin (1824-1906)

ღ soraya ღ said...

nice post thanks for sharing...blessings...

ali said...

Thanks for the invitation. I have added your address to my favorites and will visit often.

Shalom in our Beloved Messiah Yeshua, Jesus the Christ.

J said...

Thank you for your thoughts, Lloyd. I am so glad we stumbled upon each other's blogs. I find your writing very sound and encouraging.

thefisherlady said...

good post Lloyd...may we truly live to God

Nurkkalintu said...

AMEN.

Wishing you and yours a Blessed Easter!

Face to the Sunshine said...

Lloyd, I just want to share with you the good news that my son-in-law, Santos, did get a job. He has been working as a dishwasher at a restaurant for the past three nights and we are so thankful! I will continue to pray for Trey. God bless you.