Being Crucified with Christ

In Luke 9:23, Jesus told his disciples that those wanted to follow him must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him daily. This verse is intriguing because Jesus said this well before he even went to the cross. The disciples could not yet fathom that their Messiah would have to die in such a way, nor could they fully appreciate the fact that as his disciples they must give up their lives in a similar way, not just once but every day.

We can only imagine how perplexed they must have been by this statement at that time and wonder what kind of light bulb moment they must have had after Jesus rose from the dead. They probably thought back to what Jesus had previously said in this passage.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20-21, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” 

What does it mean to be “crucified with Christ?” To begin to answer this question, think for a moment what it means to be crucified, besides death of course. First of all, the person being crucified is facing only one way; there’s no looking back. Secondly, he or she will never return to the life they had before, so there are no future plans of their own.

Listen to what T.S. Rendall has to say about this reality, “Too many Christians are trying to face in two directions at the same time. They are divided in heart. They want Heaven, but they also love the world. They are like Lot’s wife: running one way, but facing another. Remember, a crucified man is not coming back. The cross spells finished for him; he is not going to return to his old life.

It’s comforting to consider the fact that even though we die to ourselves and our old way of life daily, Christ takes residence in us, and as Paul said, “greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).” The lives we now live will be by faith as we commit ourselves to him. In Galatians 5:24, Paul returns to this idea of being crucified as he says that those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its desires.

When we are crucified with Christ, we recognize that we must do two things:

1.) We have a responsibility to walk as Jesus walked. As 1 John 1:7 says, we walk in the light as he is in the light.

2.) We must walk worthy of the calling we have received. This is what Paul said in Ephesians 4:1.

Paul goes on to say that Christ’s followers must no longer live as the rest of the world does in the futility of their thinking. Instead, they walk in the way of love; just as Christ loved us and gave up his life for us.

How will the idea of being crucified with Christ change your attitudes and behaviors this week?