- The life
- That I
In Galatians 2:20, the word "I" occurs 4 times and the word "me" occurs 3 times. Something very personal for each Christian person is described here, by Paul. It's not general, collective, or theoretical. It's real, intimate, and personal for each one of us. You, an individual, singular Christian, have Christ living in your life. Christ did something profound for you and you did something profound in him when you put your faith in him, and now he animates your life towards God. God's mission in his son, becomes you and me. We are now intimately part of that because the power and person that saved us now lives in us and we live our lives through him, to the glory of God.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live." I died. It's past tense, but appropriated now. You don't seek be be crucified or say you are living the crucified life. That "I" is my self, my sin(full) nature. If my sinful nature or my selfish self is very much alive, something is not complete in my salvation and I need to die. When he was crucified, we were all crucified in our sinful nature. You don't crucify your self. It is something that has happened and is already made available in Christ, that we step into. It is something that has happened that we enter into. Being crucified with Christ, does not mean you are completely dead to self. It means you are participating in the dying of your self, through Christ.
"But Christ lives in me." The Christian, "Christ-I-In", life is a new life where my old, sinful nature is taken over by Christ. When I receive Christ into my life, when I start walking with Christ as his disciple, Christ and his life lives in me. Instead of sin and selfishness motivating me, I am motivated by Christ. Through you and through me, Christ touches people and talks to people who don't know him yet. It is a misconception to say that we will bring people to church to hear of and know Christ, when Christ is living and breathing through every Christian. People who do not know Christ can get to know him through those Christ lives in. To say that you can not share Christ because you think that you do not have the gift of evangelism is a deception. If you have Christ, you have the good news and if you have been a Christian for more than 5 minutes, you have something to share. If you are a Christian, Christ lives in you and the life you now live is Christ's life. The Lord Jesus Christ loves to be among people and point them to his father and that's what Christians do too.
"And the life that I now live." Jesus came to give us a new life to live. The life he gives us is the 7 days a week life. Life is now, it is every day, every minute. Jesus does not make us Christians so that we can now go to church on Sunday, but be miserable, secret Christians during the other six and a half days of the week. Jesus did not punch our ticket to heaven and leave us.
"The life that I now live", is resurrection life. Resurrection life is life raised from the dead. It's still me, but it is me with Christ living in me and the old me died. This life that I now live is my life that has been to the cross, died, and been raised in Christ. It's now life, present tense life. Whatever you are going through now, Christ is with you. He is inside your life, your suffering and your joys. Life in the "now". "Now" life.
"In my body." "The life that I now live in my body". In my body is translated "in the flesh" in other translations. Some people think that any effort made, "in the flesh", is bad, and therefore, should not be made. "Don't get in the flesh", or "he's in the flesh", we hear. This idea carries with it a misconception or error that our flesh should disappear or be completely set aside when we are doing ministry, in Christ, or doing things or speaking for God. People who have this misconception wait for God to evangelize or disciple or help the poor; because they don't want to act, "in the flesh". There is another school of thought that is also deception or error that says that since the flesh does not take part in the kingdom and will not go to heaven, go ahead and indulge the flesh in the smorgasbord of sinful activity.
"The life I now live in my body, I now live by faith, indeed by the faithfulness of God's Son." Paul here says that Christ is now living in the Christian's life, in his or her body. That life is now a life of holiness and good works. Christ lives in me and I now live that life. Live-ing, living is not passive. I have to get out of bed and make my coffee each day. I have to love my neighbor with actions. That getting up, making coffee and actively loving my neighbor all take exertion in my body, my flesh. That's life, Christ living, in and through the body of me.
Life and live occur 4 times in this verse and are the Greek word, Zao, which, according to Strong's Greek Lexicon, means "to live", as in experiencing life. It does not just mean being alive, but living; as in experiencing. Zao has to do with natural, physical life; and it has to do with behavior: how you live. So this is the how of Christ living in me, it is in experiencing life and in how I behave.
"The life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me." This new life is incarnational, "Christ lives in me". It is only through this union with Christ that I can live the Christian life. The life of the Christian starts with faith and continues with faith, all the way through. You never stop faith-ing. It's by faith and through faith. As Phil Newton states, "Not only are we justified by faith, but we also live by faith. This means that saving faith cannot be reduced to a one-time decision or event in the past; it is a living, dynamic reality permeating every aspect of the believer’s life."
"I live by faith." Faith is not just belief, but action. Believing is good, but faith is when you act on your belief. Faith's A-B-C's: Faith is an ACTION, BASED upon a CONFIDENCE. I may have confidence in someone or something, but it is faith when I act. Wayne Grudem states that, "saving faith in Scripture involves this personal trust, the word “trust” is a better word to use in contemporary culture than the word “faith” or “belief.” The reason is that we can “believe” something to be true with no personal commitment or dependence involved in it." How's your commitment to and dependence on Christ? That's trust and that's real faith.
"I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me." My faith is a trust in him. My faith is rooted in him, in his faithfulness. Do I believe in his faithfulness? What do I see when I see him on the cross? Faithfulness.
My faith that I live by is his faith. The life that I now live, I live by faith, Christ's faith. He was faithful. I have faith in him. I live live by him, his faith, his trust and commitment in the Father. I am now living in this intimate, trusting relationship. That is the life that I now live.