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 (ESV)
He’s a changed man! Those words surely were whispered over and over by first century Christians who dared to believe that the man they once feared had now become one of them. For those who doubted that Christ can make a difference in a life surrendered to Him, Paul became the ultimate example.
The old, Saul, died to self desire, pride and a life of aggrandized self importance. The new, Paul, lived in utter complete faith—crucified to sin and alive in Christ. Paul recognized that Christ died for him—personally.
Like the Apostle Paul, each of us must realize that Christ died in order that I might live. In verse 21 Paul continued, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”
A life surrendered to Christ does not mean that we lose our personality, our individuality or our previous strengths and weaknesses. Rather we allow God to take who we are and mold us into a usable vessel for Him—not through works but through His grace; not through the law and keeping of rules and regulations, but through His mercy to forgive and unmerited favor granting you and me the ability to put aside—crucify—personal desires and live in Christ alone.
You and I cannot go back to first century Jerusalem and walk the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Suffering) with our Lord. It is perhaps even beyond our imagination to envision the horrors of crucifixion—the ring of the hammer hitting the nails, the sight of blood dripping down, the smell of death! But our heart, our mind, our spirit can kneel at the foot of the cross in total surrender.
Christ gave His life for me. How can I do any less than surrender my life to Him? When I become willing to deny myself, take up the cross and follow Christ—to become crucified with Christ, then God will grant me Galatians 3:20 grace. Crucifixion grace!