“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.”
“It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” Galatians 2:19-20; 6:12-15
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Colossians 2:13-15
In the first century, crucifixion meant a public, prolonged, agonizing death that served justice for an individual criminal. When he breathed his last, intent was accomplished. But at Calvary, our Savior bore the guilty verdict of every believer, and put to death far more than a single man’s due penalty. What was accomplished there was so vast and life-changing that it captivated Paul’s whole identity and desire.
Before the cross, Paul was a slave to the law, steeped in legalism but spiritually dead. When Jesus saved him, drastically transforming his belief system and life direction, Paul became Christ’s bond-servant. He was no longer dead in sin but wholly alive to Christ, to know and love Him and serve His will on earth. His days had new purpose as Christ lived through him, pulsing through his veins with holy cause and Spirit fire. His intellect and drive were now tools for his new Master to use to advance His gospel and glory. (Acts 9:1-18; Romans 1:1)
When we apply the cross, much in us is also transformed. Because Jesus put these tendencies to death, where we condemned the failings of others, we humbly repent for our own transgressions against God. Where our hearts were cold to the needs and unpretty ways of those around us, Jesus warms them with compassion. Where we were tenaciously self-driven, we live open-handed, seeking and yielded to our Lord’s will.
Where once we craved the world, lusting after its charms and approval, we find satisfaction in Jesus. Where we feared death, we are bound in hope of eternal life here and hereafter. Where we fretted for safety from persecution, we are at peace, serving and sharing Christ’s love with every breath. (Matthew 6:24)
How fully are we living, and clearly exhibiting, the crucified life? This is impossible apart from the grace and power of the cross. (Matthew 19:25-26)
Lord, less of me and more of You. May I daily exhibit the imprint of Your unquenchable love at Calvary. (John 3:30)