“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” —Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
Paul’s letter to the Galatians has one purpose and that is to remind the church that they are justified by faith in Christ, not by works. In chapter 2, Paul uses an encounter he had with Peter at Antioch to show them that salvation is by faith alone. Peter was associating with Gentiles and living like them, too. But when certain Jews came around, he withdrew from the Gentiles out of fear. When Paul discovers this, he rebukes Peter for his behavior (Galatians 11–21). He calls him out for forcing Gentiles to live by the law when he knew they were justified by faith in Christ, not the works of the law (Galatians 14–16). Then he gives a very vivid picture of what it means to be justified by faith alone.
Crucified with Christ
Being crucified signifies death. It is a death of the old self and the old way of living. To be crucified with Christ symbolizes that you no longer need to live by the law that required animal sacrifice because Christ paid for sin once and for all. It also puts to death the old self that is a slave to sin and the evil desires of this world. You now live free in a new life with Christ.
Romans 6:6 (NIV) says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin—because anyone who died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
Christ Lives in Me
Christ living in you means that you are no longer controlled by sinful nature but by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). This Spirit filled life allows you to “not live the rest of [your] earthly life for evil human desires, but rather the will of God” (1 Peter 4:2). Christ in you is the guiding factor for your life that allows you to live a life that honors God.
I Live by Faith in Christ
The new life you now live that honors God comes only by faith in the Son of God, not by works. A faith that “is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). This hope and certainty of faith comes from believing the truth of the New Testament that Christ loves you and sacrificed Himself for you. “Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2).
Christ loves you so much that He gave His life for you. He sacrificed so that you could be called His very own and live your life for Him in faith. Galatians 2:20 is challenging us to live a life that proclaims “Christ lives in me.” So, how do we live this life of Christ in me?
It requires sacrifice. We have to give our wants and desires to the Lord daily. Holding on to them only creates a door for the old life to creep back in and potentially cause us to sin. But when we give them to Him each day, we allow the Spirit to guide us.
You must allow the Holy Spirit that lives in you fill you and guide all that you say and do. The spirit-filled life shows your trust in Him when you are faced with trials. It gives Him the glory whether prayers are answered or not. It chooses joy no matter the circumstance. It makes the choice every day to believe His Word over anything else. It shows others God’s grace by the way you choose to speak, interact, and love others.
Most importantly, a life of Christ is all about Him. It’s putting aside your opinion and leading from the truth of His Word. It’s being a light that points others to Him alone. It’s allowing Christ to lead your life so that you can lead others.
Krista McBroom lives in Calera, Alabama, and serves in student ministry. She helps equip student leaders to reach teenage girls and has a blog for girls’ ministry leaders and teenage girls. Her latest Bible study for teenage girls is called In Her Shoes: Walking in Virtue.