“I have been crucified with Christ. 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.” Galatians 2:20
A defining characteristic of a Christian is that he or she be united with Christ. The Bible commonly refers to this relationship as being “in Christ.” Another way of understanding what it means to be “in Christ” is that our whole existence is lived within the sphere of Jesus. Or, simply, we live everyday in Christ. But the Bible also teaches us in Galatians 2:20 that Christ lives in us also. Paul, the author of Galatians, makes this point through three statements.
My Death in His Death
First, a very dramatic statement: “I have been crucified with Christ.” From the preceding context, this means that the believer is freed both from the penalty of sin and the pointlessness of obeying the 613 laws of the Old Testament in an attempt to be in right relationship with God. Jesus remedied that for us through his perfect life, his substitutionary death and his resurrection. Second, a very definitive statement: “It is no longer I who live.” Here is where the Christian’s death with Christ at the cross begins to veer from Jesus’ experience. Jesus was raised from the dead after the cross to reign over all things forever. The believer’s death at the cross was final. That person no longer lives. So how do we explain our current existence?
His Life through My Death
Thirdly, a statement of destination: “but Christ who lives in me.” That is the common purpose of his death and our death at the cross. We died so that Jesus would live an exalted life above all things as well as through us. So the life of a Christian is actually the life of Christ lived through one who died to sin with Christ.
But How Does This Work?
How Jesus lives in us is very important. According to Paul it is, “by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” And that is the whole point of Galatians. We live in Christ by faith and Christ lives in us by faith. We are freed from trying harder to make the Christian life work. Christ’s life is active in us when we trust him who loved us perfectly by giving himself to us completely.
List as many evidences of Jesus living in you as you see in your life today. Ask him to live more fully through you in your fight against the sin he died for and you died to. Then trust him to do just that, because he loves you.
Dave Bruskas is the network pastor at Mars Hill Church.