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Crucified, Yet I Live
“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.” — Here the apostle Paul explains what he stated in verse 19. —“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.” How was he dead to the law? By having endured its curse, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, his Surety. Paul, writing by divine inspiration, tells us that he died as the victim of the righteous sentence of God’s holy law, and that he had died by the law that he might live unto God.
What Paul says concerning himself is true of all who are born of God. Every heaven born soul died under the just and righteous sentence of God’s holy law with Christ; and we died under the sentence of the law that we might live unto God.
In union with Christ, as members of his body, all God’s elect were crucified with and in him. As the cutting off of the head is the death of all the members, so was the death of Christ the death of all his people. Christ died a death pronounced accursed fifteen hundred years earlier (Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23).
What is that curse? The curse is being cut off from God. And when our dear Savior cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” he proclaimed that, being made sin for us, bearing our sin in his own body on the tree, he was enduring the justly deserved curse of God. He was tasting the bitterness of death. All the waves and billows of God’s offended justice went over him. His Father hid his face from him. In that hour, when he was forsaken, that we might never be forsaken, he was troubled. He sunk in deep waters.
Here the apostle Paul, writing by inspiration of God, tells us that when Christ endured the curse, we endured the curse. When Christ was nailed to the tree, we were nailed to the tree. When Christ died, all God’s elect died with him and in him.
Then, we meet with a blessed “nevertheless” — “nevertheless I live.” It was not possible that the Holy One of God should remain under the power of death. Our Savior went down to the grave that by him eternal life might be communicated to all whom the Father had given him. He had power over his life, both to lay it down and to take it again. His death was an act of obedience to his Father. Adam forfeited his own life, and that of all his posterity. Christ, the last Adam, the Lord from heaven, died that his children might have life and have it more abundantly. Adam poured contempt on God's most holy law. Christ magnified and made it honorable, restoring that which he took not away.
He was in all things implicitly guided by his Father's will, and when he received the commandment to lay down his life, he was not disobedient. An innumerable multitude had been chosen in and given to him to be redeemed from among men. They were to be taken from the lowest point of degradation. They were lying in their own blood, in the pit where there was no water. Christ, by his obedience unto death, has made them kings and priests unto God.
He came to do his Father's will for the deliverance of our souls, by offering the body prepared for him. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God, having a name given him above every name which is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come.
Had Christ remained in the grave, God’s elect would have continued under the power of death; but his rising again was the resurrection of all his people. Many of those chosen ones had gone the way of all the earth. Many others were yet unborn. But all, from righteous Abel to the last who shall be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, were equally interested in the transaction which took place on Calvary. As all the members of Christ's natural body were nailed to the cross, so were all the members of his mystical body, the church. All the children God gave him died in him; and with him, we all arose from the dead (Ephesians 2:6). Paul said, “nevertheless I live.” But he immediately corrected himself, and wrote, “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Remember, Paul wrote this by divine inspiration. The apparent mistake and correction were written as they stand in the Book of God to teach us something very important. — Being born of God, we are “made partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). Christ lives in us (Colossians 1:27).
In him I have received a new and endless life. There is a close analogy between the natural and spiritual life. Two things are essential to the preservation of the former: air and nourishment. By these, the life we derive from Adam is maintained, and, in exact correspondence with this, the spiritual life imparted in the day of regeneration by God revealing his Son in us, by Christ being formed in us, is maintained by the Spirit of Christ. God the Spirit is to the new man what air is to the old. Truth is the food necessary for our support, the truth as it is in Jesus, concerning his incarnation, death, and resurrection. This is the food of the soul. Eating his flesh and drinking his blood, we live by faith in the Son of God.
Until we receive the Spirit, we are dead; but Christ quickens his chosen, redeemed people by manifesting himself to them in a way he does not unto the world; and they immediately, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word. — “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16).
Christ is the Fountain of Life; and the water which he gives his people is in them a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Were it possible for the believer to lose sight of Christ he would die. But our life is preserved by the supply of the Spirit, ever taking of the things of Christ, and showing them to us. — Blessed be God, we who believe were crucified with Christ; yet we live, for Christ lives in us!