Galatians 2:20 - 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.
When our text says that we are crucified with Christ, this means that we have crucified our sins and our old Adam in Jesus. The life of the Christian who lives for his Lord is a life of daily nailing his sins and his self-centeredness to the cross. It is a daily dying to sin. Our Baptism reminds us that we are to drown our evil nature and live to him.
Christians live for Christ because the Holy Spirit has caused us to believe in Christ as our Savior. To put it in other words, the Christian life is a relationship—a relationship which exists between the believer and his Lord. In this relationship Christ has been crucified and raised again for us, and by faith in Him we crucify our sins and our old nature. To live in Christ, then, is to live by faith. This faith is the simple trust which a child of God has in his Lord—the One who lives in him and who is with him every day.
Indeed, God does not stand far off in some dim corner of heaven and demand that we love Him. He does not thunder from the mountains like some cold and capricious divinity. Rather the love of God is shown us in a most marvelous and indescribable manner. God who with perfect righteousness could have condemned us eternally for our sins and failures instead sent His own dear Son to become one of us, to live the life which we could never live, to die the death that all of us deserved. This He did in order to rescue us from the consequences of our sin and folly.
God in Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. Now, with this as our example, we can show our love for God by loving one another. God has asked us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Now, this is a big order when one considers how much most of us love ourselves and how little we love our neighbor. Still, God can transform our hearts so that our lives can be lived to His glory and to the benefit of those around us.
To be sure, our greatest service to our neighbor is to help him know the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her Savior. As we share a cup of cold water or a hot meal with those in need, we must remember that our giving is to be coupled with the sharing of the Gospel.
As we come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ better, may we love Him more deeply. May we do this by caring for others in word and deed. This then will be our love offering to God as we seek to be His faithful witnesses before all men.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, crucify my old self that I may live completely unto You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Excerpted from the message, "What Are You Living For?" by Rev. Dr. J.A.O. Preus
1. What does it say that God came down to earth to become one of us?
2. What does being "crucified with Christ" mean to you?
3. How does the way we live build bridges for others as they seek to know who God is?
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