"I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 up for me.Galatians 2:20(NASB)
The death, burial, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, are the critical elements of salvation. Nothing but faith in the Person and Work of Jesus is sufficient to reconcile us back to God and save us from our sin. The key truths of the gospel are believing that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures. Jesus was born into the race that He Himself created, in order to pay the price for our sin - a price we could never pay.
When we are saved by faith, we are positioned IN Christ. We are taken from being in Adam's fallen race and transferred into Christ's Body - a new creation in HIM. We are identified with all that He is and all that He has done. As well as being saved by Christ's death we are also identified with His death. "I have been crucified with Christ", Paul writes. My old, fleshly self was crucified with Jesus when He died on the cross. My old sin nature, which my Bible calls my 'old man' was crucified with Jesus.
Just as I am a physical seed of Adam's physical race and was effectively IN Adam when he sinned in the garden of Eden, (imputing me with sin and thus making me a sinner), in the same way I am a spiritual seed of Christ's spiritual race, and was positionally IN Christ when He died on the Cross of Calvary, 2000 years ago. Being the spiritual seed of Christ, I am imputed with His righteousness, making me, "the righteousness of God in Christ" - by faith.
My death in Christ means that the old ME, the old SELF, the old SIN NATURE - the OLD MAN, died in Christ, at Calvary when Jesus died on the Cross. The old 'ME' died at the Cross and severed all the connections I had with my old, Adamic sin nature. By faith, I am part of a new creation, in Christ, which means that death no longer has power over me - nor does sin, or Satan, or the Law, for I am dead to sin, dead to the Law, dead to self, and dead to Satan. OH! - while I live in this fallen body, my sinful nature lusts against my new life in Christ, BUT I am no longer a slave to sin and under the curse of the Law, because Christ has set me free! Hallelujah!
But it also means that when Christ rose from the dead, I was also identified with His Resurrection - I also rose into newness of life, with a NEW nature - a Christlike nature. Because of my identity with Christ's Resurrection, I became part of a new creation in Christ. I left my identity in Adam behind, the moment I was saved. NOW I am identified with Christ's resurrected life. Just as His death became my death, so His resurrected life became my new, born-again life - my new, eternal life in Christ.
It is for this glorious reason that I can say with Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 have the new, born-again, resurrected life of Christ living in me.
The Holy Spirit of the resurrected Christ indwells my mortal body, so that although I remain in this perishable body of flesh and blood, I live by faith in the Son of God - so that it is not I that lives but Christ that lives in ME - Christ, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. Because of my faith in Him, I will one day exchange this perishable body for an imperishable one. This is sown a perishable body of flesh and blood, which will one day be raised an imperishable body of flesh and bone - a body like unto HIS glorious body.
Paul writes at length of the glorious exchange that occurs in all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. A body, sown in dishonour, is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness but raised in power. It is sown a natural body but raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there must also be a spiritual body. While the first man, Adam, became a living soul, the last Adam - Jesus Christ, became a life-giving spirit.
This is the biggest mystery revealed to the believer. The moment I trusted the Son of God as Saviour, my new life in Christ was born and the old sin nature in Adam (a link and heritage from my earthly parentage), was nailed to the Cross. The old man was crucified in Christ and severed at that point.
However, the nature of that old, fleshly, self-life, will remain throughout my entire life-walk. That old sin nature will remain in bitter rivalry with my new life in Christ, which must grow in grace and mature in the knowledge of Jesus. The old man, which was severed at the Cross, is crucified, and yet continues to unleash its assaults against the new life in Christ, which was born from above and lives forevermore.
The root of the old sin nature, sucks its strength from worldly desires and fleshly ego. It 'lusts' against the new life, which through re-creation is dead to the world and dead to the law, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Saviour. How dearly does my new life need to grow in grace, but how impossible in my own strength to combat the lust of the eye, and the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life!
But God in His wisdom and grace, did not leave my new life in Christ to overcome alone. It is by faith that the world is overcome. It is by faith that the flesh is overcome, and it is by faith that the devil is overcome. When I was baptised into Christ, as His newly born-again child, God sent His eternal, permanently indwelling, life-giving Holy Spirit, to become my life-Guide and my soul-Helper.
It is as I submit to His gracious leading and gentle guidance, that sin is mortified, and grace is quickened. The more I respond to His gracious leading and gentle guidance the more I can say, "I live, and yet not I, but Christ lives in me", for it is His Spirit that communes with my human spirit. He is the Source that is leading and guiding my new-life in Christ in the things that I say, and the way that I behave.
The more we die to self, the more we live for Him, until with Paul we will be able to say, "I have been crucified with Christ, and 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 up for me."
Thank You, Father, for Your indwelling Holy Spirit, Who was sent to lead and guide me and all believers, through this earthly life. Teach me to listen to His voice and recognise His promptings. I pray that more and more, Your will, not mine be done, until I can say with Paul, “the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” In Jesus’ name, AMEN.