Crucified With Christ
Gal 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Gal 2:20 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.
(Excerpt from David Guzik)
I through the law died to the law that I might live to God: When Paul died to the law, then he could live to God. As long as he still tried to justify himself before God, by all his law-keeping, he was dead. But when he died to the law, then he could live to God.
i. “When a person is a Christian he is above law and sin. When the Law accuses him, and sin wants to drive the wits out of him, a Christians looks to Christ. A Christian is free. He has no master except Christ. A Christian is greater than the whole world.” (Luther)
ii. “We are not to think that the Law is wiped out. It stays. It continues to operate in the wicked. But a Christian is dead to the Law. For example, Christ by His resurrection became free from the grave, and yet the grave remains. Peter was delivered from prison, yet the prison remains. The Law is abolished as far as I am concerned, when it is has driven me into the arms of Christ. Yet the Law continues to exist and to function. But it no longer exists for me.” (Luther)
iii. “Blessed is the person who knows how to use this truth in times of distress. He can talk. He can say: ‘Mr. Law, go ahead and accuse me as much as you like. I know I have committed many sins, and I continue to sin daily. But that does not bother me. You have got to shout louder, Mr. Law. I am deaf, you know. Talk as much as you like, I am dead to you. If you want to talk to me about my sins, go and talk to my flesh. Belabor that, but don’t talk to my conscience. My conscience is a lady and a queen, and has nothing to do with the likes of you, because my conscience lives to Christ under another law, a new and better law, the law of grace.’“ (Luther)
c. I have been crucified with Christ: Again, Paul anticipates a question from those who disagree with him. “Paul, when did you die to the law? You like pretty alive to me!” Paul is happy to answer, “I have been crucified with Christ. You want to know when I died to the law? I died to the law when Jesus died on the cross. He died in my place on the cross, so it is like it was me up on the cross. He died, and I died to the law when He died.”
d. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me: Since we died with Christ on the cross, we have a different life. Our old life, lived under the law, is dead. Now we are alive to Jesus Christ, and Jesus is alive in us (but Christ lives in me).
i. Paul realized that on the cross, a “great exchange” occurred. He gave Jesus his old, try-to-be-right-before-God-by-the-law life, and it was crucified on the cross. Then Jesus gave Paul His life to life - Christ came to live in him. So Paul’s life isn’t his own anymore, it belongs to Jesus Christ! Paul doesn’t own his own life (that life died); he is simply “managing” the new life Jesus gave him.
ii. The life Jesus lives in us is glorious. “Christ is no sheriff. He is ‘the Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world.’ (Joh_1:29)” (Luther)
e. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith: Paul can only “manage” the new life Jesus gave him by faith. You can’t live the new life Jesus gives on the foundation of law-keeping. You can only live it by faith.
i. When Paul says I now live in the flesh, he doesn’t mean that he lives a chronically sinful life. “By the term ‘flesh’ Paul does not understand manifest vices. Such sins he usually calls by their proper names, as adultery, fornication, etc. By ‘flesh’ Paul understands what Jesus meant in the third chapter of John, ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh’. (Joh_3:6) ‘Flesh’ here means the whole nature of man, inclusive of reason and instincts. ‘This flesh,’ says Paul, ‘is not justified by the works of the law.’“ (Luther)
ii. The point of this verse isn’t the flesh, it is faith. “Faith is not simply a topic about which Paul preached from time to time. Nor is it a virtue which he practised occasionally. It is central in all that he does.” (Morris)
iii. “Faith connects you so intimately with Christ, that He and you become as it were one person. As such you may boldly say: ‘I am now one with Christ. Therefore Christ’s righteousness, victory, and life are mine.’ On the other hand, Christ may say: ‘I am that big sinner. His sins and death are mine, because he is joined to me, and I to him.’“ (Luther)
f. In the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me: The faith Paul lives by is not faith in himself, faith in the law, or faith in what he can earn or deserve before God. It is faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ - who loved me and gave Himself for me!
i. Before, Paul’s relationship with God was founded on what he could do for God - his faith was in himself. Now, the foundation is what Jesus Christ has done for him - his faith is in Jesus. And Paul found a marvelous person to put his faith in! It is a person who loved him. It is a person who demonstrated that love when He gave Himself for Paul.
ii. What confidence Paul can have in giving his life to, and living His life for, someone who loves him that much! When we realize the great love God has shown for us, it makes everything in the Christian life easier.
g. Who loved me: Paul can confidently give himself to Jesus because of the love Jesus has demonstrated in the past. “It is true that he loves us now, but Paul also wrote truly, ‘Who loved me.’ The verb is in the past tense. Jesus loved me upon the cross; loved me in the manger of Bethlehem; loved me or ever the earth was. There never was a time when Jesus did not love his people.” (Spurgeon)
i. Loved . . . gave Himself: The past tense is important. William Newell, in his commentary on Romans, speaks to the importance of the past tense in the word loved. “It is this past tense gospel the devil hates . . . Let a preacher be continually saying, ‘God loves you, Christ loves you,’ and he and his congregation will by and by be losing sight of both their sinnerhood and of the substitutionary atonement of the cross, where the love of God and of Christ was once for all and supremely set forth.”
ii. “Did the Law ever love me? Did the Law ever sacrifice itself for me? Did the Law ever die for me? On the contrary, it accuses me, it frightens me, it drives me crazy. Somebody else saved me from the Law, from sin and death unto eternal life. That Somebody is the Son of God, to whom be praise and glory forever.” (Luther)
h. Gave Himself for me: “For me is very emphatic. It is not enough to regard Christ as having died for the salvation of the world; each man must claim the effect and possession of this grace for himself personally.” (Calvin)
i. “‘Loved me, gave Himself for me.’ He appropriates to himself, as Chrysostom observes, the love which belongs equally to the whole world. For Christ is indeed the personal friend of each man individually; and is as much to him, as if He had died for him alone.” (Lightfoot)
ii. “If any man might have said, ‘The Son of God, whom I have loved, and to whom I have given myself,’ it would have been the apostle . . . but here he thinks not of himself, or of what he had been led to do for the Lord, but only of what the Lord had done for him.” (Spurgeon)
iii. “Take these blessed words of the apostle, and put them in your mouth, and let them lie there as wafers made with honey, till they melt into your very soul: ‘Who loved me, and gave himself for me.’“ (Spurgeon)
Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Rom 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.