20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. — Galatians 2:20-21
Living the Crucified Life
by Sally Cressman
Lockeland Springs Campus
As we conclude this series on healthy relationships, today’s two life-changing verses show us how to maintain the vertical relationship with God and how to imitate Christ. This relationship trumps all the others. If we maintain it at all costs, then other relationships will thrive, even as we persist through the valleys and pot holes on the road of life.
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul instructed his listeners on how imitate Christ. It started with crucifixion. Christ was crucified and brought to life, just as the believer experiences death and resurrection to new life. Paul was crucified in Christ when he was on the Damascus road and struck blind. This is past tense. Paul died to the law. He died to his old self. He died to his old way of living.
Oswald Chambers calls this death to the old self a “white funeral—a death with only one resurrection—a resurrection into the life of Jesus Christ. Nothing can defeat a life like this.”
The Galatians understood Jesus’ death and resurrection, but they did not make the connection that they too were crucified and brought to life. Thus, they were not living out this new life in Christ. Even Peter (Cephas) was confused on how he was to live the new life, which led Paul to confront him regarding his hypocrisy. Peter had experienced the Spirit-filled life, but then he reverted back to his old life of Judaism, causing others to be led astray. In his insistence to live by works, Peter was rejecting God’s grace.
Later, Paul rebuked all the Galatians: “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). Paul’s pointed question convicts us as well. Our walk with God did not stop at salvation. Where salvation was all God’s work, imitating Christ requires our collaboration—and this imitation does not happen automatically. We work in union with God through faith. This union can only happen if we are daily dying to the old self and allowing the Spirit to work in us through faith.
Paul reverted to present tense when referring to this daily dying to self: “The life I now live in the body I live by faith” (2:20). As we die to self, we will draw nearer to Him. As we draw nearer to Him, we will begin to act and talk like Christ. Others will begin to see snapshots and then portraits of Christ in you. No matter what your life looks like now, it can change. No matter what your station in life is, you, too, can live a life that imitates Jesus.
- Can you identify a time when you had your own “white funeral”?
- What sin in your life needs to be crucified, and how will you live by faith in the days ahead?
- Does your bank statement reveal a life that imitates Christ? Your time? Your relationships? Your words? Take inventory this week and identify which sins need to die.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.