Friday in the Thirty-First Week of Ordinary Time

Galatians 2:17-20

Crucified with Christ

In this passage we have one of the most profound statements in all of Scripture about our union with Christ.  For to speak of salvation by grace through faith is not merely to subscribe to a formula but to enter into a personal relationship with the one who takes us unto himself in undying love through his death for us.  We are joined to Christ in a spiritual union that goes beyond anything organic and certainly mechanical.  It is not Eastern or New Age in which we lose ourselves as a drop in the ocean, but instead find ourselves as he heals, redeems, and remakes us after his image into the beautiful people we were always meant to be, and that can only be attained through union with him.

But we must realize that in this union there is another death, and that is our own.  This is why Paul says those words of unfathomable depth: “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”  And this is precisely where so many go wrong.  They think that salvation is a transaction: Christ died for my sins and I believe and confess that and so am saved.  They will even stamp Romans 10:9-10 as their proof text for such a lame understanding of Scripture which empties the gospel of grace, of truth, and of beauty.  Granted, through faith we enter into a covenant with our Lord, but not a contract.  The closest thing we have to it is marriage in which a man and woman become one flesh.  But here the union is even deeper, and we cannot claim his death for our sakes unless we are willing to die for his sake—and I do not mean martyrdom (although that is not excluded) but dying to sin, the world, and self.  And here Paul adds, “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.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that “when Christ calls a man he bids him come and die.”  This is true.  I would only add that through our union with Christ we rise to new life which is exactly the purpose of that death—we must die that we may rise.

But even with this new birth (for that is what we are describing), we still sin.  Of course, this does not make Christ the minister of sin; it makes him the minister of forgiveness of that sin.  Rebuilding the rails of the law to keep us from sinning would prove no remedy.  Only being joined to Christ in death can remedy our sin problem, which will await its ultimate remedy on the other side of eternity.  Until then, we grow in grace and wait upon the Lord.  We have need of patience.  But rest assured, the one with whom we die shall see to our resurrection.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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