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“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).

IN THE TEXT ABOVE, PAUL SPEAKS OF “THE LIFE I NOW LIVE.” This, of course, stands in contrast to the way he lived previously, when “faith in the Son of God” was not his guiding principle. To say the least, obedience to the gospel of Christ creates a “before” and an “after” — a radical conversion or turning in a person’s life.

God’s ultimate intention for us. In Christ, God plans to do more than smooth out a few wrinkles from our lifestyles; He plans to renovate the depths of our hearts so radically that our character will be just like that of Jesus Christ. When our hearts have become miniature models of Christ’s own heart, we will truly be His siblings, bearing as He does the unblemished image of our Father. God aims for us “to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29).

Our commitment to think differently. Being “crucified with Christ” does not happen automatically. It’s a choice we make, and it’s one we make continually. Learning to “live by faith in the Son of God” is not easy. It requires the kind of commitment and discipline which says, “I am done with self-will and self-reliance. God being my helper, I will learn to move at His command because I trust Him.” A human being cannot change at any deeper level than this.

What will motivate us to make the change? Nothing less than deep gratitude for God’s forgiveness is powerful enough to produce the kind of change He plans for us. The difference between Paul’s past and present was motivated by his love for the Son of God, “who loved me and gave himself for me.” In another text, he said that “the love of Christ controls us . . . he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15).

May we never underestimate the seriousness of what has to happen to us in Christ. “Crucifixion” is not too strong a word for it. It was doubt and distrust that drove us to sin. That must change. Forgiven, we must learn to “live by faith in the Son of God.”

“ ‘Crucified’ is the only really definitive adjective by which to describe the Christian life” (J. Furman Miller).

Gary Henry — +

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