To be crucified with Christ is more than just dying with Him. It concerns the manner in which we follow the example of His death in a spiritual way. He bore our sins in His body on the Cross, so that we would not have to die for our sins ourselves. Now Christians are able, through the power of what He did for us on the Cross, to reduce the urgings of sin within them to an inactive, death-like state, by reflecting on the meaning of His death on the Cross and all that’s connected with it. The world has now been crucified unto us, and we are unto the world. Therefore, our sins no longer have the power to condemn us.
If we only follow the Law (Ten Commandments, etc.), we can’t hope to be saved. Christ’s death on the Cross has shown that we have truly died to any hope of being justified before God by following the Law, just as Christ was dead when He surrendered His Spirit on the Cross. Now we want to walk in newness of life with Christ—with God’s Law now engraved on our heart, not stone tablets. We have become able to live and experience a life through Him alone.
“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live…” (Galatians 2:20) did not concern the Apostle Paul’s natural life, but his spiritual life. Those who believe in Christ are dead to the Law, but now live to God. We’ve been crucified through Christ’s death, yet by Him we live. Actually, it is the Spirit of Christ crucified which now lives in us. Therefore, we are no longer the same person we used to be. We’ve been transformed into a new man (see 2 Corinthians 5:17) who lives by faith in Christ, now looking to Him for everything, including His grace, and our peace, joy, righteousness, pardon, etc.
Our natural life, or spiritual matters we’ve brought about ourself, aren’t what we’re speaking of here. Christ, Who now lives in us, is the One we’re discussing. Man was created to be a place where God’s Spirit can dwell. Divine life can’t be produced in us by having the Law living in us, because it can’t give life—it takes life. But Jesus Christ now lives inside us—so we’re able to live for God. Once we believe on Him as our sacrifice for sin, we have this life—due to His faith. Why was He willing to give Himself for us? Because He loved us enough to offer Himself as a sacrifice unto death, so we could be saved from eternal death. In other words, He died so we could live.
We can now live in a way that’s true to Christ more than we ever could before. But the old earthy part of our personality isn’t the part that lives now. It’s the part that Christ’s Spirit has developed in us. We’re now dead to sin and unable to live to our old corrupt nature anymore. It isn’t proper to say it’s ourself, since we don’t follow our old natural disposition and tendencies anymore. We’ve been altered and made into a new creation, and new actions and longings have been brought forth in us.
Now, by the Holy Spirit, we’re fused into Christ and have no life separate from Him anymore. The very life of Christ flows from Him into our soul, where all our words, actions and temperament come forth from. Paul was so identified with Christ that his own personality blended into Christ’s.
We’ve set aside our old life, and our new life is like Christ, because His Spirit now works within us. Christ is our crucified, risen Redeemer—both the resurrection and the life. He now lives in, governs and gives life to our life. But we also live and move in Him as an individual aware of ourself. Our faith in Christ has become the link to unite our soul to Him. We’re now part of His body, “flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone,” and derive all our spiritual food from Him.
Our own personality isn’t destroyed when it’s united with Christ. Our natural life still goes on in the world. But it’s now an earthen container holding the precious heavenly treasure of Christ’s indestructible life. He lives in us, transfiguring our body into a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Now we can live a righteous life that’s no longer of us, but of Christ. Principles of life and holiness have been implanted into us since we’ve been led to this new life. We didn’t do it—God’s Spirit did it in us. Our own strength and power couldn’t produce the holy life and conduct of this new life. Now it’s not that we live, but that Christ lives in us. He’s both the origin and caretaker of His spiritual life—but He’s also the life itself! Christ now resides in our heart and soul. Since we’ve been joined to Him, we’re now one with Him. All our living principles and deeds have risen from Him from Whom all assistance of life in the spirit pour forth.Now we can now live a righteous life that’s no longer of us, but of Christ.
If we follow any other type of life when we live each day as a child of God, then the Christian life isn’t what we’re living at all. Christ living in us, and us living on Christ—this is what true Christian life is made of. Then our union with Him can be carried on visibly, following the simple action of having faith in Him.
Therefore, we can now say, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).