I am excited about the up-coming Sunday morning bible class, as we seek to develop a deeper awareness of God’s marvelous redemptive plan. Until then, in the next couple of weeks we will finish our study of the sacrificial system. That system was part of the Mosaic Law, established by God, with the intent to be a “tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). Those who come to Christ, learn that although the old system has been done away with (Hebrews 8:13), a new sacrificial system has taken its place. Paul would word it this way, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Not too long ago, I did a lesson on that verse and would like to build upon it some today, by considering something Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatian church.
The backdrop of this letter is so important. The gospel was preached in Galatia and many came to obey that gospel, putting on Christ in baptism (Galatians 3:26-27). But some Judaizers came in, bringing a “different gospel” (Galatians 1:6), not denying Christ; but rather, undermining His sufficiency to redeem mankind. Part of that effort by Paul to exhort the church in Galatia was personal in nature.
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.
This idea of being “crucified with Christ” is no passing thought. Paul would say in Philippians 3:4, “If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so.” He would go on to describe himself as a “Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee” (Philippians 3:5). These things were now “rubbish” (Philippians 3:8) to Paul; that is, he died to all of them: To all those things that would suggest that he could somehow achieve righteousness on his own. One person wrote, “Paul’s pride and self-esteem were gone. The once proud self-righteous Pharisee had died.”
Emptied of any notion of “self” confidence, he turns their attention to real life with Christ. Just as Christ was raised, so those in Christ are “raised with” Him (Colossians 3:1) to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4): a life that is guided by Christ who now lives in him. His new-found faith shifted where he would place his dependence: and that dependence now is in Christ “who loved me and gave Himself for me.” His hope was squarely on Christ!
As I thought about this, I was brought back to that day when I committed my life to Christ. I was…you were…we were “crucified with Christ” when we were buried with Him in Baptism. I died to self that day! But Christ also became life to me as well. To know where I am, sometimes it’s important to remember wheat “I have been…” I have been crucified with Christ! Thank you, Jesus, for everything you have done and continue to do. Help me daily to allow You to live in me. Dennis