Friday, August 3, 2012

I have been Crucified with Christ

“I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20)


Are you aware that the Bible talks about two crucifixions in the Bible? Most of us are aware of the events that took place some 2,000 years ago when Jesus was placed upon a wooden cross on Calvary. But most of us are not aware of the implications that crucifixion has upon the second crucifixion talked about in the Bible. The second one cannot occur without the first one. Are you able to say, “I have been crucified with Christ”?

The Bible’s central focus is Jesus Christ. God had made a promise to his people that he would redeem them and restore them to a right relationship with him. In the Old Testament we see the foreshadowing of this promise which was first given right after the fall in Genesis 3. We read of unblemished animals being given up as a sacrifice in order for sins to be forgiven. Ultimately we know that the sins of all God’s people were washed away when the God-man, Jesus Christ, laid down his life on the cross. The message of hope is Christ and him crucified. The Old Testament pointed to this coming Messiah and the New Testament was the fulfillment of God’s promise.

But the Bible also tells us that we also have been crucified with Christ. It is true that our sins have been forgiven in the death of Christ and we all love that part because we all desire heaven. But sadly this other crucifixion talked about in the Bible doesn’t get much airplay. We want to be forgiven but then could care less about change. Forgiveness without obedience does not make sense. When the Bible talks about being crucified with Christ we ought to go back and see Christ humility in laying down his life for us. We in turn need to die to self and surrender to Christ’s will for our lives. Jesus’ death was not only for our forgiveness but also our release from the chains of sin and freedom to obey him. We are free to pursue holiness found in obeying Christ which is for our greatest good and his highest honor.

We must be sure we do not confuse these two crucifixions. The second one only makes sense and is only impossible in light of the first one. Without the death of Christ we are still in bondage to sin. But “if we have been united with him in a death like his…We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Rom. 6:5-6). Obedience doesn’t earn God’s favor. Trusting Christ does. Obedience out of love for what Christ has done transforms and sanctifies sinners. The point of dying to self is so we can live to God (Gal. 2:19) giving him all the praise, honor and glory. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:21). Forgiveness found in Christ is truly amazing but turning your back on a Savior like Jesus does not make sense.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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