Galatians 2:20: A “Living” Scripture
We are presently looking at some single scripture that are so powerful, so clear, so complete that they are able to stand alone. It is our intention to ...
1. Memorize in advance. Then I will bring a … 2. Message… And then during the week we will 3. Meditate on this verse.
Galatians 2:20 is one of the all-time great Bible verse about life and living. “I live...liveth... the life...I now live...I live.” In 44 words the Apostle Paul the simple secret to the Christian life.
I cannot tell you how many times I have read or quoted this verse in the
past 40 years. But the recently it was as though an entirely new phrase came out in this old verse. “The life which I now live. The life which I now live. The life which I now live.” What kind of life is it that we now live?
“I am crucified with Christ...”
This speaks of the termination of our old life. Our past sinful life has been blotted out!
The cross of Christ was a double-cross. First, Christ was crucified for our sins. And we were crucified with Christ where we died to sin. “I am crucified with Christ.” This establishes the time of your death. You died 2,000 years ago with Christ on the cross.
God sees every man either in Adam or in Christ. If He sees us in Adam,
He sees us dead in sin. If He sees us in Christ, He sees us dead to sin. At this very moment as God watches me, He sees me dead, buried and risen with Christ!
· Died to the law, v. 19. Christ’s death satisfied the law. To go back to the law is to go back to Moses. Romans 6:3-8; Colossians 2:20; 3:3.
· Died to sin, 1 Peter 2:24. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.”
It is this fact that saves me from the penalty of my sin. Since I am dead I can never be brought to trial to account for my sins.
“During the Civil War a man by the name of George Wyatt was drawn by lot to go to the front. He had a wife and six children. A young man named Richard Pratt offered to go in his stead. He was accepted and joined the ranks, bearing the name and number of George Wyatt. Before long Pratt was killed in action. The authorities later sought again to draft George Wyatt into service. He protested, entering the plea that the had died in the person of Pratt. He insisted that the authorities consult their own records as to the fact of his having died in identification with Pratt. his substitute. Wyatt was thereby exempted as beyond the claims of law and further service. He died in the person of his representative. There we have the truth of identification in a nutshell. God’s way of deliverance is through death—through identification with our Substitute in His death and resurrection,” (L. E. Maxwell, Born Crucified, p. 13).
If Christ died for us, then we died. If we died, then we are no longer alive. We are then to “reckon” ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God through Christ. We are not called to a process of self-crucifixion but to the acceptance of a crucifixion already accomplished.
If I am going to truly follow Christ then I will follow Him to His death and my death. It is though we are sent to the electric chair for execution. Beside that chair is a sign: Wired for 220—Galatians 2:20.
The cross is God’s answer for the self problem. Song: I am crucified with Christ
“Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”
This speaks of the regeneration and identification of our life.
The death and resurrection of Christ are not only historical events (He “gave himself” and now “lives”), but by faith we share in them, we benefit from them. We are crucified and risen with Christ. Our old life was taken away at the cross and a new life was given - the very life of Christ. If we ever really understand this and truly discover this we can never remain the same.
“Yet not I...” How much of your life is all about you—our plans, your ambitions, your influence, your opinions?
What is the distinctive mark of those who are saved and have the Christ-life? Reading their Bibles? Praying? Going to church? Giving their tithes? Those are all great things - things Christian ought to be doing.
The Christian life is not a life of imitation = W. W. J. D., “What would Jesus Do?”
The Christian life is a life of impartation. The distinctive mark is that “Christ lives in us.”
· 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
· 1 Corinthians 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
Christianity is “Christ-in-you-ity” and “Christ-in-me-ity.” This is not a reformation of our old life, but the impartation of God’s life to us and in us. Ours is not an “Old Adam Improvement” plan—do better, try harder, give up this, give up that.
Once you receive Christ you can say, “Jesus Christ lives in me.”
- You may not fully understand it.
- You may not feel it all the time.
- But it is so because it is so!
Do we understand this?
- Christ for us is a wonderful thought.
- Christ with us is even more thrilling.
- Christ in us is unspeakably glorious!
“And the life which I now live in the flesh.”
This speaks of the sanctification of our life.
Spend time with me thinking about that word “now.” The opposite of the
word “now” is “then.” The life we now live is not the same as the life we once lived. We still live in the flesh, but now we do not live after the flesh.
Sometimes the life we now live is not a lot different from the life we
use to live. That we not true of the man who was inspired to write this
Saul, before the Damascus road change.
- Pharisee, Christian-killer, blinded by his religion.
After the Damascus road change.
- Devoted Christian, zealous preacher, missionary, church planter.
· 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
How do we experience this “changed” life?
1. Our efforts are worthless. It is not through reformation.
2. Even if we could change ourselves, we would mess it up because we would take the credit.
3. As long as we do our best we prevent God from doing His normal.
The change we so desperately need and want comes by the residence and
the release of the person of Christ.
· Ephesians 3:17 "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith...”
· 1 John 4:4 “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
Song: What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart.
“Christianity then is simply Jesus Christ living in our bodies minding His own business,” Jack Taylor.
Christ gives us a new desire for holiness, for God and for heaven. It is not that we cannot sin again; we can. But we do not want to. The whole attitude of our life has been changed.
<> There is an immediate change in our heart when we are saved.
<> There is a progressive change in our way of living. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord,” 2 Corinthians 3:18.
<> There is an ultimate change at the resurrection. “Behold, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” 1 Corinthians 15:51. “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come,” Job 14:14.
“I live by the faith of the Son of God...”
Do you see how all of this fits together? If we are not experiencing a changed life, its because we are not cooperating with the Christ-life and are ignoring our crucified-life in allowing sin to be alive in us, instead of dead.
Controlled by what? “By the faith of the Son of God.” It was the simple act of faith, trust in Christ, that put us “under new management.”
· Proverbs 3:5, 6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”
“Who loved me and gave himself for me.”
This takes us full circle — back to the cross. What started at the cross, “I am crucified with Christ,” ends with the cross, “Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Do you know this — Christ really loves you! It one thing to know “for God so loved the world,” and “Christ loved the church,” but how awesome it is to know Christ “loves me.” Paul looked at this so personally that to him it was as though he were the sole object of the love and sacrifice of Christ.
Jack Taylor illustrates it this way. “Here is a cup of water and by it a tea bag. The water is not the tea and the tea is not the water. They are two separate items. The water is heated and the tea bag placed in the water. A strange thing takes place...the water changes color and nature. It becomes indwelt by a new and dominate nature. The rich tea-color swirls around in the cup until the fluid is tea, not water. For the water to exist now is for tea to exist. The water could say, “It is no longer I that lives, but tea that lives in me.” Not many people I know drink hot water. There isn’t much demand for it. But if that water, heated in preparation, can be made to become a wholesome and stimulating drink, then it is worthwhile.
So the Christ is just a cup of water, which when heated with faith and entered by the Savior, becomes something else. The Christ nature comes into him and with his consent dominates. He becomes more and more like Christ and less and less like himself. Just as the “tea in the water is the hope of taste,” Christ in the Christian is the hope of glory!
I am crucified with Jesus, And the cross has set me free;
I have risen again with Jesus, And He lives and reigns in me!
It is sweet to die with Jesus, To the world, and self, and sin.
It is sweet to live with Jesus, As He lives and reigns within.