Crucified with Christ

Galatians

Crucified with Christ

August 6th, 1972 @ 8:15 AM

Galatians 2:20

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Galatians 2:20

8-6-72    8:15 a.m.

 

On the radio you share with us in the First Baptist Church of Dallas this early morning service, and this is the pastor bringing the message entitled Crucified with Christ.  In the Book of Galatians, through which we are preaching at these morning hours on Sunday, the text is Galatians 2:20:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me—

wouldn’t that be a good title, “Not I, but Christ?”—

and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

In flying one time along the coast of Alaska, upon a beautiful day, I was looking at a vast range of mountains.  And as I followed it with my eye as the plane flew along the coast, I suddenly saw one of the most beautiful peaks I have ever looked upon, Mt. Fairweather—looked like a snow cone of solid white, rising more than fourteen thousand feet out of the blue, blue ocean, one of the most ravishing panoramas I have ever looked upon in my life.

And sometimes as you look at the Bible, it will be like that, a mountain range, and then suddenly here is a very Andes, a very Everest of elevation, a text that seizes and grips your heart.  Galatians 2:20 is one of those texts.  I cannot remember when I memorized it, and I would suppose so many of you, all the days of your life, have repeated this text:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

[Galatians 2:20]

Will you notice how many “I’s” and “me’s” are in that one sentence?  It swarms with personal pronouns.  There are eight of them.  It comes to my heart, seeing it, reading it, saying it; indeed, how personal is the Christian faith.

It is not impersonal, extraneous, peripheral.  It is heart-centered, soul-centered.  Of all things in this earth, the Christian faith is personal.  It is the religion of the one lost sheep, and the one lost coin, and the one lost boy [Luke 15:3-32].

It pertains to us individually, personally.  Sometimes you can look in the sky at a great nebula, but if you get a telescope and look at it through those great magnifying lenses, you will see that the nebula itself is made up of a galaxy of individual stars.

That is the Christian faith.  It is not a blob or a gob.  It is individual, and that in the extreme.  If you look at the great broad way that leads down to destruction, it looks as though it is a mass of indistinct humanity.  But look at that narrow, strait way [Matthew 7:13-14], and you’ll find individual Christians walking on that glory road.

The religion of Christ is of all things personal, individual.  It is you, your heart and life.  We are saved individually, one at a time [John 3:3, 7].  However we may be born in a Christian home or a Christian country, that does not make us Christians.  As somebody says facetiously, you might as well say that one born in a garage is a car, or that a rat that lives in a stable is a horse, as to say that one being born in a Christian environment, being born in a Christian home and in a Christian nation, is thereby a Christian.  No, we become Christians by being born again individually, one at a time [John 3:3, 7].  We come into this earth, the first birth, individually, born, you.  You are born again individually, just you.  And you die individually, for yourself.  However there may be others gathered around, you go out into that other world alone.  It is always individual.  And our consecration and commitment is always personal and individual.  It has to arise out of the fountain of the deeps in your heart and in your soul.

When Isaiah saw the Lord, he said, “Here am I; send me” [Isaiah 6:8].   When Paul saw the Lord, he said, “Lord, what wouldst Thou have me to do?” [Acts 9:1-6].  When Nehemiah went on his mission, however others were constrained or concerned, Nehemiah gave himself to that purpose, the rebuilding of the walls in the city of Jerusalem [Nehemiah 1:1-2:8].  And when Athanasius was told that the whole world was against him, he replied, “Then it is I, Athanasius, against the whole world.”

Our consecration and commitment is always individual, always.  And our experience is always individual.  There’s no one that can eat for us, or sleep for us, or wake for us.  We live individually, and our life in Christ is no less personal and individual.  That is seen in both of these ordinances.  In the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, we are baptized one at a time, individually [Romans 6:3-5], and when we take of the Lord’s Supper, no one can take it for us [Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26].  When we observe that holy ordinance this afternoon at 5 o’clock, each one of us appearing before the Lord will partake of that bread and of that fruit of the vine individually.

“I am crucified with Christ: yet I live; no, not I, but Christ liveth in me” [Galatians 2:20]—an individual faith.  Now it is a crucifixion, a death unto another life; the Christian is first somebody who is dead.  One of the most astonishing things that you will find when you read the epistles of Paul is this; he addresses his fellow Christians constantly as being dead.  He talks to them in that language.  I’ll just pick a few of these instances.

In the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans, he will say in verse 8, “If we be dead with Christ, we shall also live with Him” [Romans 6:8].  In the second chapter of the Book of Colossians, on the same page, “If we be dead with Christ” [Colossians 2:20]—and then he speaks; and again, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” [Colossians 3:3].  For ye are dead”—dead!

It’s an unusual way of thinking.  In the second letter to Timothy, the second verse, “It is a faithful saying:  For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him” [2 Timothy 2:11].

As Paul speaks in the sixth chapter of this Book of Galatians, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” [Galatians 6:14].

Dead in Christ; I am crucified with Christ, dead! [Galatians 2:20]. The cross has cut us off and separated us from the world.  But it is not a death that lies in corruption and decay, but it is a death unto a resurrection, another and a glorious life.  “Crucified with Christ, yet I live” [Galatians 2:20].  As the Lord said to John in the first chapter of the Apocalypse, “I am He that was dead:  and behold, I am alive for evermore” [Revelation 1:18].

Dead in Christ but alive to a marvelous resurrection [Galatians 2:20]; the nails and the spear that destroyed our old life opened for us a fountain of new life.  The old man died that the new man might be born [Romans 6:6], the outward man perished that the inward man might come to glory [Romans 6:10-11].  Dead and alive; the world cut off from us, crucified to it that we might be introduced to the glory of the life of God in Christ Jesus [Galatians 6:14].

When the Holy of Holies was the sanctuary of God’s people on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem, once a year, the high priest went inside of that sanctuary [Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7].  There were no windows in it.  It was absolutely dark.  There was no ray of light that penetrated it.  It was midnight blackness [Exodus 26:1-37].  Why?  Why, it is a type and a symbol of what I am speaking about now.  When the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, he shut out the world, and its sun, and the whole universe that it represented.  And in that Holy of Holies, there he looked upon the shekinah glory of God.  Shutting out the light of the world, he saw the light of God, the light that Paul says shined in the face of Jesus Christ [2 Corinthians 4:6].  For spirituality is the opposite of physical being.  Faith is the opposite of sight [2 Corinthians 5:7].  Hope is the opposite of experience.  The love of God is the opposite of the love of the world [1 John 2:15], and in the Holy of Holies, looking up on the things that are unseen by the eyes of faith, the light of the glory of God—that’s why when we pray, we shut our eyes, that we might blot out the world, and might open them by faith and to see, with eyes of the soul, the things of God [Hebrews 11:1].

That phrase, “crucified with Christ” [Galatians 2:20]—three times in the Gospels does Jesus say that we are to deny ourselves and take up our cross, and follow Him.  He says that in the tenth chapter of Matthew [Matthew 10:38], and the sixteenth chapter of Matthew [Matthew 16:24], and in the fourteenth chapter of Luke [Luke 14:27].  And here the Holy Spirit adds another phrase just like it: “I am crucified with Christ” [Galatians 2:20].  Well, what does that mean?  For the Lord said, “Take up your cross, and follow Me” [Matthew 16:24].  What does that mean?  You’re bearing a cross?

Well, practically all of us when we think of those verses and look at these symbols and types of images, all of us think of it in terms of a burden that we’re going to bear, a cross that we bear, a trouble, a sorrow.  Ah, it means nothing of the kind!  It refers to nothing like that.  Not that Christians don’t also have burdens and hearts that break and grievous troubles and trials, but that’s not what that means.  When the Lord says, “Take up your cross, and follow Me” [Matthew 16:24], or when Paul phrases it, “I am crucified with Christ” [Galatians 2:20], he’s not talking about burden bearing, or about brokenness of heart, or trial of soul.  What he’s talking about is dying, death! [Philippians 2:8].

If you think of that for just a moment, you’ll see how perfectly reasonable, and rational, and true that is.  What did the cross mean to Christ?  It meant an instrument of death.  He was going outside of the city wall to die, to be crucified [John 19:20; Hebrews 13:12].  And He bore His cross for that purpose, that He might be executed [John 19:17-18].  And outside the city wall, when the sun hid its face and the forsakenness of crying from the cross, “Why hast Thou forgotten Me, O God” [Matthew 27:45-46], and He died [Matthew 27:46-50], that’s what it is to be crucified, and that’s what the Lord meant when He said we’re to take up a cross, and follow Him [Matthew 16:24].  That is, we are to die!

Well, how dying?  We are to die to the world, and we are to die to self.  We’re to die to ambition.  We’re to die to pride.  We’re to die to egotism.  We’re to die to ourselves.  A Christian is somebody who is dead.  He has no feelings.  Oh, dear, may I have the temerity and the courage to say these words to myself?  When a Christian goes around with his feelings on his sleeve, he’s not dead.  He’s alive to himself, and he’s alive to the world, and he’s alive to all of those things that batter and buffet him on every hand.  We’re to be dead; dead to ambition, dead to self-preferment, dead to egotism, just dead!  The Christian of all people in the world, the Christian is to be one who lives a life of self-effacement and humility.  That’s what it is to die.  Not I, but Christ [Galatians 2:20].

James A. Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States who was assassinated, when he came into his church, the people were very cognizant of the fact that he was the president of the United States.  And the pastor in the pulpit referred to him as Mr. President.  And upon a day, James A. Garfield went to his pastor and said, “Pastor, I know, and it’s true that I’m president of the United States, but in the church, but in the church, I am just plain James A. Garfield, and I want you to refer to me as such.”  That’s what it is, before God.  We are dead to the world.  No pride, ambition, egotism.  We are dead, crucified.  That’s what the cross is for.

One of the sweetest stories I ever heard about William Carey, the great, first modern missionary—as you know, he changed the whole course of the life of India—and in a time when he was being entertained by the governor general of India, seated at his table, there was a petty officer who looked with contempt upon the Baptist missionary.  And saying it loud where William Carey could hear it, the petty governmental officer said, “This William Carey, I understand, has been a shoemaker.”  Said it to a fellow officer where William Carey could hear it, and noticeably, and intentionally where William Carey could hear it, that he was a shoemaker.  And God’s missionary spoke up and said, “Sir, not a shoemaker, a cobbler, a cobbler.  I was a cobbler.”  Isn’t that all right?  Ah, if we could learn that, I do believe, we’d triumph over the whole world and all that’s in it!  Not I, but Christ [Galatians 2:20]; washing feet [John 13:4-5].

As Jeremiah said to Baruch, “Seekest thou great things for thyself?  Seek them not” [Jeremiah 45:5].  Our life is hid with Christ in God [Colossians 3:3].  Not I, but He [Galatians 2:20].  Now this life:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

[Galatians 2:20]

Dead to be born unto a new life, a glorious life, a resurrected life [Galatians 2:20].

Now, as a Christian, being human and mortal, we have innate fear of dying, and this truth startles us.  Oh, if I am called to crucifixion and to death, what a dreadful thing that I should attempt to be a Christian!  No, not that at all.  For this is but the introduction, the birth into the marvelous new glorious life in Christ.  I live, I live [Galatians 2:20].

Well, what kind of a life is that?  Well, the best way for me to compare it would be to take a worldling, an extreme worldling.  He says, “I’m going to live this to the full; life, life to the fullest.”  So in a city, say, like Old Mexico City or Paris, immediately he makes his way to the red light district, life, life, life abundant.  Or he makes his way to the junky and the pusher; life, life, live it to the full!  Or he makes his way to the saloon; life, life to the full.

Is that life, really?  Here he is, cut down with venereal disease.  Is that life?  It’s a disease that is becoming rampant in the whole world, and especially the United States.  Is that life?  The drug addict, the sallowness of his skin and the destruction of his mind; is that life?  The drunkard in his own vomit, is that life?  Why, you don’t put a door plate, you put a tombstone at a thing like that!

Life, what is life?  This is it.  This is it; crucified with Christ to the old life, to be born again into the glorious image of the life of God in our Lord [Romans 6:6].  That’s life.  That’s life.

Using the apostle Paul, who wrote the sentence and said the text; the old Saul died that the new Paul might be born [Galatians 2:20].  He died to his old heritage, to his old pride, to the zeal for tradition to which he gave his life, over which he presided as a peer.  He died to all of that that he might be born unto God [Romans 6:10-11].  And that is the Lord’s invitation for us.

When we look at the death of Christ, it’s not just the death of another man, not death of a sinner who by right should die, but we’re looking at Someone who died for me [1 Corinthians 15:3], and who died in my place [2 Corinthians 5:21], and for my sake [Galatians 3:13].  And by law, when the criminal is executed, the book is closed, the law has been satisfied, the story is over.  The law has no more demands upon him.  He’s dead.  That’s exactly what it is with us.  Christ died in our stead, and sin has no more claim upon us [Romans 6:18].  Death has no more claim upon us.  The world has no more claim upon us.  We are dead in Christ and have been resurrected to a new life in Jesus [Romans 6:6].

I am crucified with Christ, but I live, and the life that I live in the flesh [Galatians 2:20], what kind of a life?  One that is mutilated and maimed?  No!  The fullness of life to the utmost; this is abounding, overflowing, abundant, “and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” [Galatians 2:20].  What a beautiful way to say it, “who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

A North American Indian, in a testimony about his tribe, said, “There came a preacher, there came a preacher to our tribe.  And he told us all about the white man’s God, and we told him to leave.  There came another preacher, and he said we shouldn’t get drunk, we shouldn’t drink firewater, and we shouldn’t steal.  We paid no attention to him.

“But upon a day,” said this North American Indian, “there came a preacher, and he told us about how somebody named Jesus came down from heaven to live among us, said He took our frame, and our flesh, and our nature; and that He died for our sins that we might be saved; and that He opened up a way for us to go to heaven when we die.”  And the North American Indian said, “And I could never forget it.  I could never forget it.”

We’re that way.  We’re that way.  The fires of hell may scare us for a while, and the burning judgment of God may make us think and pause for a while, but what really moves us heavenward and God-ward is from Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us [Galatians 2:20].  We can never forget it.  And it’s the love of Christ that constrains us thus to take up a cross, to deny ourselves, and to follow Him [Matthew 16:24].

My time is spent.  And we sing now our song of appeal, and you, to give yourself to our Lord, a family you, to come into the fellowship of the church; somebody you, to be baptized in the faith, in obedience [Matthew 28:19]; anybody you, to answer God’s call with your life, while we sing this hymn of appeal, make the decision now, and come now.  In the balcony round, on this lower floor, giving your heart to the Lord, coming into the fellowship of His church, answering God’s call, as the Spirit presses the appeal to your heart, make the decision now, and when we stand up in a moment, come now.  God bless you in the way as you come, as we stand and sing.

CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Galatians 2:20

8-6-72

I.          Eight personal pronouns in the text

A.  The Christian faith is a personal faith

      1.  Saved individually

2.  Our consecration and commitment is to be personal(Isaiah 6:8, Acts 9:6)

3. Our experience is personal

a. Ordinances teach that

II.         Crucified, yet alive

A.  Paul refers to his hearers, readers as being dead(Romans 6:8, Colossians 2:20, 3:3, 2 Timothy 2:11)

      1. The cross has cut us off from the world, joined us to God

a. Holy of Holies

2.  If we would know and see God, we must shout out the world

B.  Crucified with Christ

1.  Three times Jesus says “Pick up your cross and follow Me” (Matthew 10:38, 16:24, Luke 14:27)

2.  A cross means death

a. The Christian is dead – to self, to ambition, to vanity, to egotism

b. No walking around wearing feelings on sleeves

3.  The Christian a humble, crucified man

a. James A. Garfield

b. William Carey

C.  An introduction to another life, a resurrected life

      1. Not a maimed, mortified, mutilated life, but full life in Christ Jesus

D.  In the love of the Son of God

      1. North American Indian’s testimony

2.  World not the same since Jesus died in it(2 Corinthians 5:14, Romans 2:4)