LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Gal. 2:20 NKJV
“I have been crucified with Christ; 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 for me.”
This verse is like a beautiful mountain scene. If you pass by it quickly you will miss its beauty and splendor.
This is a most precious verse for it reveals to us what the Christian life really is.
The Christian life is:
I. DYING TO THE OLD LIFE.
“I have been crucified with Christ”
Six times in the Holy Scripture, Jesus said that if we are to follow Him we must take up our cross or bear our cross and follow Him. (See Matt. 10:38, 16:34; Mk. 8:34, 10:21; Luke 9:23, 14:27)
1. For Jesus to make reference that many times to bearing our cross we must assume that it is very important instruction.
2. Most people have the wrong idea of what it means to take up your cross and follow Jesus.
3. Most Christians think it means to carry a heavy burden or to possess a broken heart or to go through a time of despair.
a. When a death incurs or a divorce takes place or some other sorrow takes place, some will say, “This is my cross that I have to bear.”
b. No one would dare to deny the heartache, sorrow and despair that might be involved – but that is not what the Bible means when it talks about cross-bearing.
All people, Christian and non-Christian alike have moments of heavy trial, but that is not the meaning of cross-bearing.
When Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me,” and Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ,” they are saying the same thing. They are both talking about dying.
1. Let your mind go back to the first century when the cross was used as a method of execution.
a. The cross was not a pretty little trinket to wear around your neck or carry in your pocket.
b. It had one purpose only – and that was to die on.
2. You remember what happened when Jesus took up His cross.
a. He went directly to Golgotha ( a hill called Mount Calvary) – And it was there that He died!
b; The cross, to our Lord, meant death.
That is also what it meant to Paul.
3. Paul says that he has “been crucified with Christ.”
a. This is the same as what Paul meant when he said in Romans 6:3, “do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”
Robert Mounce says that when we got saved we were “baptized into Christ and that means to have been baptized into His death as well.”
b. When Christ died on the cross He died for our sin that we may die to sin.
In verse 2 of Romans 6, Paul asked the question, “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
c. When a Christian sins it is not because he has to, but because he chooses to.
II. IT IS RESURRECTION TO A NEW LIFE.
“… it is no longer I who live,”
At first glance we might think this is a contradiction.
It is a paradox but not a contradiction.
1. Paul is, in effect, saying, “Only when I met Jesus did I find out what true and real living really is.” He is saying, “I had to die in order to find life.”
In other words, Paul had to die to self in order to find life in Christ. That’s what it means “to be born again.”
2. Saul died on the road to Damascus so that the Apostle Paul could be born.
3. There are millions of people living in this world, even today, who are fooling themselves into thinking that they are really living, when in reality they are dwelling in a fool’s paradise.
They are dead people walking and don’t even know it.
a. The young person cries, “Life! Life! I have found life!” as he fills his body with drugs and drink. I ask you, is that life?
b. Then, there is the drug addict with a sallow complexion and a destroyed mind. Is that life?
c. The man or woman, boy or girl dying with a venereal disease. Is that life?
d. The drunkard lying on the street in his own vomit. Is that life?
e. The homosexual dying with aids. Is that life?
There’s a beer advertisement that shows a group of young people sitting around a campfire with a beer in their hands and one says, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”
If that was all that mattered in life or if that was what life is made of, it would be sad, indeed.
But as Christians, we know the above is only a fool’s paradise, for we that know that in Jesus we can say as Paul, “For me to live is Christ …” (Phil. 1:21)
The difference between the saved and unsaved is that the unsaved are dead in sin, whereas the saved are dead to sin.
What Paul is speaking about here is a death in order to be resurrected to a new life.
-a golden and glorious new life in God.
– a new life that has been freed from enslavement to sin and its disillusions.
-a new life where the world and sin have no more power over him.
In Christ the Christian has been set free!
That is why Paul could say in Romans 6:6-7, “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin..”
III. IT IS A CHRIST-CENTERED LIFE.
“it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;”
1. Having been crucified with Christ on the cross, it is no longer the old self that rules, but it is Christ who lives in him.
Rom. 6:3-4 “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
2. For the Christian, Christ is more than an example – He is their life!
It is Christ living in them. You see, no one can live the Christian life by example.
3. The Christian life can only be lived by letting Christ live His life in and through you.
I imagine all of us have heard someone say, “When I can live a Christian life, then I will become a Christian.”
What they do not realize is that without Christ living in one’s heart it is an impossibility to live a Christian life.
4. No one can even begin to live a Christian life until they first become a Christian – and even then, it’s not you but Christ living in you.
It is only as reckon ourselves dead to the world and alive unto Christ that we have the victory over our hang-ups, bitterness, hurt feelings, feeling sorry for ourselves, and sin.
IV. IT IS A LIFE OF FAITH MOTIVATED BY LOVE.
“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 for me.”
1. The believer lives on faith, and faith lives on the promises of God.
2. True faith is an assurance, energized by the Holy Spirit that we are accepted by God.
3. By faith we possess a new life, and our new life is motivated by a new affection.
Paul tells us in Colossians 3:1-2, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
4. Paul says in Romans 6:4 that we have been raised to “walk in newness of Life.”
By faith we love Him, the One “who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Oh, the precious love of God! When did it begin? Never! For God has always loved us. His love has no beginning.
When will God’s love for us end? Never! PRAISE GOD!