Wanted: Dead & Alive!
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 11/30/03
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Let’s take a look at each point more closely.
Our Position In Christ
Many believers do not have any idea what this little phrase means! So, I want to take a moment to explain it to you. When a believer comes to know Christ as their personal Savior, in retrospect, all their sins were nailed to His Cross (Colossians 2:14). Their old man was crucified with Him. Turn to Romans 6:6 "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Look at the word destroyed. It is the Greek word katargew katargeo (kat-arg-eh’-o; 2673) to render idle, inactivate, or inoperative. It means to deprive of force, influence, or power. Though our old nature has not been eradicated, our crucifixion with Christ has deprived it of power. When Christ was crucified, all our sins, the whole body of them, were laid upon him, and he bore them, and took them away, and made an end of them. All our sins received their mortal wound by His crucifixion and death, so they will never to be able to have any damning power over us. Therefore, we are not to let sin have dominion over us.
Now back to the little phrase "I am crucified." It is just one word in the Greek and it is in the perfect tense. Now, when a word is in this tense, that means it is a once for all action which never needs to be repeated! Therefore, the death of Christ on the cross has wrought the extinction of our former corruption! Through death of Christ on the cross the believer has become utterly estranged from (dead to) his former habits of feelings and actions. Our past position in Christ, we are crucified with Christ.
It is true that the believer is dead in Christ, to our old nature, dead to sin. We can say to no sin and we should! But, we are also alive. The Greek word I live is in the present tense, which refers to a continuous, repeated action. This is a reference to our spiritual life, and the new nature that lives within us day-by-day and moment-by-moment by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit. It is a changed life transformed by Christ! Turn to Romans 6:11 "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Before we were saved we had no real aptitude or capacity for God. But, once we are in Christ, we have a strong desire to fellowship with God and follow His ways. If you don’t have that desire, you should sit down and have a thoughtful conversation with yourself to ask why?
There is another aspect of our present position, that being we have eternal life! John 10:28 explains this -- "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
The Power of Christ
Contrary to the way some Christians behave, the Christian life is about Him and not about us! And, there are two key things that energize the Christian’s life. The first is…
The resurrection is the cornerstone of Christianity! If there were no resurrection there would be no power to live the Christian live.
Turn to Romans 1:4 "And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:"
Romans 6:9-13 "Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
1 Peter 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,"
Resurrection power is the energizing power that enables us to live the Christian life. Be sure you are plugged into Christ! But there is another key to energizing the Christian’s life…
The second thing that makes the Christian life possible and productive is Christ in the believer in the person of His Holy Spirit. We read about this in Romans 8:9-11 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
All the believer’s life and energy for Christian living is derived from the Lord. The Provision of Christ
"…the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God…"
"The life which I now live is the flesh" is a reference to the life we live in this mortal body. The only way to live our daily life is by faith! Christ is the author and object of our faith and therefore, "The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17). The truth is that the believer does not live upon his own faith, but by faith of and on Christ who is the object of our faith. We look to Christ for pardon, righteousness, peace, joy, comfort, every supply of grace, and eternal salvation.
The second provision of Christ mentioned here is…
I can’t help but think of what we read in Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth [proved] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
We must never forget who and what has purchased our freedom from the guilt, penalty and power of sin. Turn 1 Peter 1:18-19 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:"
Praise God for the person and work of Christ! Is He