Galatians 2:20 ESV
“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.”
“I,” that means “me,” my flesh has been put to death with Christ. My flesh no longer reigns supreme in my life. Yes, I still live in a flesh body, and yes, I am still tempted to sin, and I still have the propensity to sin, but I am no longer under the power and control (bondage) of sin. Amen! Glory to God!
I was buried with Christ by baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, I might too walk in newness of life. For, my old self was crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that I would no longer be enslaved to sin (ref: Rom 6:1-7). Amen! Praise Jesus!
What this means for me is that I am no longer to let sin reign in my body, to make me obey its passions. I am not to present any part of me as an instrument for unrighteousness. But I am to present myself to God as one who has been brought from death to life, and as an instrument for his righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over me (Ref: Rom 6:12-14). Praise the Lord! All glory to God!
For, if I present myself to anyone as an obedient slave, I am a slave of the one whom I obey, either of sin, which leads to DEATH, or of obedience, which leads to RIGHTEOUSNESS. But now that I have been set free from the power of sin, I have become a slave of righteousness (ref: Rom 6:15-19).
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
When, by faith in Jesus Christ, I died with Christ to sin, so that I would no longer be under the control of sin, Jesus Christ, in the person of the Holy Spirit, came into my life to live within me and to be my life. He is now my Lord and master and he is the one in control of my life.
Now, although this is instantaneous, it is also a process. Daily we must deny self and die to sin and follow our Lord in obedience. If we do sin, we repent of the sin and we keep moving forward in the power of God’s Spirit within us. For, life in the Spirit is not the same as life in the flesh. We are now to be changed (Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26; Tit 2:11-14).
Now Christ lives in me in place of me (my flesh). I am still me, i.e. I am still the person God created that I should be. But I am a transformed me of the Spirit of God away from living to sin and to self to now living to God and to his righteousness. But I can still sin, so I must daily surrender to Him.
But now my life is yielded to Christ to do his will and for him to live his life in me and through me for his glory and praise. And this is why I must daily be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and I must be putting on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against 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.”
Even though I still live in a flesh body, which is at war with the Spirit, I no longer live according to the flesh, but I now live (walk, conduct my life) according to the Spirit of God, by the grace of God, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, my Lord (Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26).
This is not to say that I am perfect, for Jesus was the only perfect (sinless) person I know of. But this is also not saying that I am still enslaved to sin or that it is what I practice. And we all need to understand this distinction, for the Scriptures require that we walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want salvation from sin and eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:31-32, 51; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 14:23-24; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Acts 26:18; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 1 Co 15:2; 2 Co 5:10, 15, 21; Gal 5:16-24; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Heb 3:6, 14-15; Heb 10:26-31; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 2:24-25; 1 Jn 5:3]
But “I” can’t do this! I can’t live a holy life pleasing to God in my own flesh and in my own strength and willpower. ONLY by the grace of God and through God-given faith in Jesus Christ can I (or anyone) live a godly and holy life pleasing to God. And this can only happen if I yield control of my life over to the Lord and if I submit my will to his.
So, why did Jesus give his life up for me (and for you)? It was not just so we could be forgiven our sins, and so we could escape hell, and so we could go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. By his grace we are saved (1 Pet 2:24).
And what does God’s grace instruct us to do? It instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Tit 2:11-14).
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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