“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…”Galatians 2:20
“I have been crucified” takes me to Romans 6 where Paul explains how we are baptized into the death of Christ, united with Christ in the likeness of His death, therefore our old nature was crucified with Jesus. Once and for all time Jesus paid the penalty we should have paid. But it is personal here. Paul says “I” have been crucified with Christ. No wonder he can say in 2 Cor.5:17, that when we are in Christ – the old passed away, not just drifted off somehow, but died. Jesus died once; His sacrifice was once and for all. So too we died once with Christ.
The “I” who lives now is a new person. To have the God of the universe, Creator of all things living in you, in me, in us – none of us can take it in to the extent it is given. We think we run our lives, and yet if we are born again, it is Christ living in us. It is not “Jesus plus me.” We died and now live in what Jesus already did. What He did enabled us to die with Him. We rarely think we need to die.
Even as a believer it is still hard sometimes to accept that this really happened when we believed in Jesus. Am I living in newness of life or am I still living according to all the old ways? Do I acknowledge Christ in me? Am I giving way to the fact that “I” no longer live? It seems to me a win-win deal to have the old life done away with, and then have God’s nature now! Why do we do hesitate to take the new and run with it?
I was recently thinking about the fact that we died with Christ (and have risen with Him also to newness of life), and Isaiah 53 came to mind. Verse 4-5 reveals this: “Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Hidden in the shadows of the Old Testament is the truth that when Jesus went to the grave with all our sins upon Him, He also carried all our diseases, pains, and griefs. I recently had an illness strike me out of the blue and the Lord showed me that He carried this illness upon Himself to the grave. Since I died with Christ, my illness died also. It was a turning point in my physical healing to realize the extent to which His death not only paid for my sin and set me free from all further judgment, condemnation, fear of God being angry with me for anything, but also carried away all my illnesses. Why is it easier to believe He took my sin than that He took my sicknesses? I think we could all ask ourselves that question.
Remember when Jesus healed the paralytic man let down through the ceiling? He told him that his sins were forgiven. The Jewish leaders there were aghast that He said that. Then Jesus asked them if it were easier to say his sins were forgiven than to say get up and walk. So Jesus knows our minds. He knows we find it hard to really believe He wants to heal us as well as forgive all our sin. But if we died with Christ and are seated at the right hand of the Father in Christ (Eph 2:6), and we can believe that, then may God increase our faith to also believe that when we died with Christ, everything old passed away – not partially, but completely! That includes our sins and sicknesses. I can’t say I’m totally “there” yet in my own belief of the truth of Isaiah 53, but God is opening my heart to more and more truth. The Holy Spirit leads us into all the truth and reveals more and more of Jesus to us. As He opens our eyes, may we just receive all that He has to give us.