What Does It Mean to Be “Crucified with Christ”?

A. W. Tozer
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“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.”
– Galatians 2:20

It is plain in this text that Paul was forthright and frank in the matter of his own personal involvement in seeking and finding God’s highest desires and provision for Christian experience and victory. He was not bashful about the implications of his own personality becoming involved with the claims of Jesus Christ.

Not only does he plainly testify, “I have been crucified,” but within the immediate vicinity of these verses, he used the words I, myself, and me a total of fourteen times. I believe Paul knew that there is a legitimate time and place for the use of the word I. In spiritual matters, some people seem to want to maintain a kind of anonymity, if possible. As far as they are concerned, someone else should take the first step. This often comes up in the manner of our praying, as well. Some Christians are so general and vague and uninvolved in their requests that God Himself is unable to answer. I refer to the man who will bow his head and pray: “Lord, bless the missionaries and all for whom we should pray. Amen.”

It is as though Paul says to us here: “I am not ashamed to use myself as an example. I have been crucified with Christ. I am willing to be pinpointed.”

Only Christianity recognizes why the person who is without God and without any spiritual perception gets in such deep trouble with his own ego. When he says I, he is talking about the sum of his own individual being, and if he does not really know who he is or what he is doing here, he is besieged in his personality with all kinds of questions and problems and uncertainties.

Most of the shallow psychology religions of the day try to deal with the problem of the ego by jockeying it around from one position to another, but Christianity deals with the problem of I by disposing of it with finality.

The Bible teaches that every unregenerated human being will continue to wrestle with the problems of his own natural ego and selfishness. His human nature dates back to Adam. But the Bible also teaches with joy and blessing that every individual may be born again, thus becoming a “new man” in Christ.

When Paul speaks in this text, “I have been crucified,” he is saying that “my natural self has been crucified.” That is why he can go on to say, “Yet I live”—for he has become another and a new person—“I live in Christ and Christ lives in me.”

For Further Reading:

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