Sermon ##7 Galatians Series
Title: “Christ and Me”
Text: Galatians 2:20
Subject: The believer’s union with Christ
Paul has already shown us that if he were to rebuild those things which he once destroyed, that is, if he were to return to the Pharisaic teaching of salvation by legal works; he would be a transgressor, because he would be acting contrary to his deepest convictions based on his passed experience. To this he adds that such action would also destroy the meaning of Christ’s death on the cross. Paul had experienced such faith in Christ crucified as to thoroughly replace any confidence he ever had in human merit. This is the connection of verses 20 and 21 to the rest of chapter two. This evening we will consider only verse 20, reserving verse 21 for another message. The subject in verse 20 is “Christ and Me.”
Paul introduces his declaration of oneness with Christ by this statement: “I am crucified with Christ.” What a baffling assertion! Here is the great Apostle to the Gentiles, at the love feast at Antioch, addressing an audience, which consisted of believers of both Jewish and Gentile origins. Peter and Barnabas were in the congregation. Undoubtedly some of those false brethren who caused so much dissension over the law of Moses were still there as well. At this meeting place there was a deplorable situation. Strong cliques had developed, and segregation was being practiced. Jews were eating exclusively with Jews, leaving gentile believers no other alternative than to eat with other Gentiles. This violation of the principle of the “oneness” of all believers in Christ had been caused by Peter’s dissimulation. He and the Judaizers were behaving as though the cross of Christ had been of no avail in taking down the middle wall of partition between them and the Gentiles.
It is under these circumstances that Paul arises and declares the significance, which Christ crucified had come to assume in his personal experience. Paul asserted clearly and boldly that no man was ever to be justified by his own works however righteous they may be, but only by Christ. Now he brings his doctrine to its culmination and practical application in these ringing words: “I am crucified with Christ!” Something marvelous had taken place, rendering Paul a justified man, which had an eternally abiding significance.
In a great range of mountains there are certain peaks which pierce the clouds, but, on the other hand, there are also lower places in the range that are commonly traveled, so that they become great highways. In my mind my text rises like one of the loftiest peaks of the Andes for elevation of sound Biblical instruction. I will not attempt, this evening, to climb the great summits of its sublimity. I do not have the time, nor, I fear, the skill to do so; but I want by the help of the Holy Spirit to bring a few thoughts from the text which may help us in our pilgrimage through this world.
All of God’s elect are in such union with Christ that his righteousness, his life, his death, and his resurrection are theirs.
Divisions: “Christ and Me.”
1. The believer’s realization.
2. The blessed relationship.
3. The beneficial result.
I. The believer’s realization.
NOTE: I want you to observe the number of pronouns of the first person there are in this verse. There are eight. It is thick with “I’s” and “me’s”. This text does not even deal with the plural. It does not mention someone else, nor a third party far away; but the Apostle speaks of himself, his own inner life, his own spiritual death, the love of Christ to him, and the great sacrifice Christ had made for him. This is instructive, for it is the distinguishing mark of the Christian religion that it brings out a man’s individuality. Christianity takes us out of the mixed up mass of men in the world and gives us individuality. If a man ever becomes a Christian he must realize his individuality before God.
A. The dawn of the Christian’s life demonstrates his individuality.
1. Every man must be brought to realize his own personal guilt and danger.
a. Your depravity is personal. You are wicked and helpless.
b. Your danger is personal. You must perish!
2. Every man must be brought to trust Christ personally.
a. You must personally receive him.
b. You must personally embrace him.
c. You must personally see him.
d. You must personally trust him.
e. The new birth is a personal matter; parents nor spouses, nor society can help your standing before God.
B. The delights of the Christian’s life demonstrates his individuality.
1. Jesus calls his people personally.
2. Jesus loves his people personally.
NOTE: There was one lost sheep, one lost coin, one lost boy!
3. Jesus gives his people a personal peace.
C. The duties of the Christian’s life demonstrate his individuality.
1. Whenever the Christian faith comes into a soul it soon leads to a personal consecration to God.
a. He is like Joshua who proclaimed, in the midst of an undecided nation, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
b. He is like Isaiah who said, when there was none to go, “here am I, send me.”
c. He is like Nehemiah, content to build Jerusalem alone, if no one else would assist him.
d. He is like Athanasius, who when he discovered that the whole world was opposed to his theology, cried saying, “Then it is I, Athanasius, against the whole world!”
2. The ordinances of the Christian faith are personal in their significance.
a. Baptism is our personal testimony.
b. The Supper is the symbol of our personal faith in personal redemption.
3. Our responsibility in Christian service is a personal matter.
a. We must personally watch over ourselves.
b. We must personally work for revival.
c. We must be personal missionaries.
D. The doctrines of the Christian faith demonstrate the individuality of God’s children. We believe in:
1. Personal election.
2. Personal regeneration.
3. Personal perseverance.
4. Personal redemption.
5. Personal faith.
6. Personal glorification.
E. The destiny of the Christian’s life demonstrates his individuality.
NOTE: In this matter of eternal destiny the reprobate, as well as the elect, are individuals.
1. You must die alone.
2. You will be judged so individually that it will seem as though you are alone.
3. In the resurrection every seed will receive its own body.
4. The joys of heaven will be personally enjoyed.
5. The miseries of hell will be personally endured.
II. The blessed relationship.
Read the text again. Here is man, but here is the Son of God as well, and the two personalities are singularly interwoven. Christ and the believer are one! As we are naturally one with Adam, as he is our representative in the Covenant of Works; so we are one with Christ as he is our Representative in the Covenant of Grace. How can this be? (Rom. 5:18-19).
A. There is a representative union with Christ.
Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ.” Paul means by this that we are one with Christ. “As in the womb, head and members are not conceived apart, but together, as having relation to each other; so were we and Christ (as making up one mystical body to God) formed together in the eternal womb of election.” Thomas Goodwin.
Lord Jesus, are we one with Thee?
O height, O depth of love!
Thou one with us on Calvary,
We are with Thee above.
Such was Thy grace, that for our sake
Thou didst from heaven come down,
With us of flesh and blood partake,
In all our misery, one.
Our sins, our guilt, in love divine,
Confessed and borne by Thee;
The gall, the curse, the wrath, were Thine,
To set Thy members free.
Ascended now in glory bright,
Still one with us Thou art;
Nor life, nor death, nor depth, nor height
Thy saints and Thee can part.
O teach us, Lord, to know and own
This wondrous mystery,
That Thou with us art truly one,
And we are one with Thee.
Soon, soon, shall come that glorious day,
When seated on Thy throne,
Thou shalt to wondering world’s display
That Thou art with us one.
1. Paul realized this as a doctrinal truth.
a. We have such a union with Christ that when he died, we actually died in him, thus God’s wrath was satisfied (Isa. 53:4-6, 8, 12; Matt. 20:28; Gal. 1:4; 3:13).
b. Our union to Christ is such that when he was quickened from the dead, we were made alive in him (Eph. 2:3, 5, 6; Col. 2:12-14; 3:1).
2. Paul accepted this truth confidently (Rom. 8:1, 33-39). I am one with Christ for:
3. Paul felt the power of his death with Christ, causing the crucifixion of his old corrupt nature.
a. When you perceive, by faith, that you have been executed by the law you realize that the law has no more dominion over you.
b. The pleasures of sin could no longer have dominion over him, because he was dead to them (Rom. 6:6-7).
c. The carnal things of the world, material possessions, could no allure his service because he was a dead man (Col. 2:2-3).
B. There is a real union with Christ by faith. “Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”
What is the Christian’s life? “Christ liveth in me.”
1. Christ comes in sovereignly in regeneration.
2. Christ lives in every believer.
3. If a man is a Christian, he is ruled by Christ. This promised seed is the governing principle of his life.
C. The result of this union.
1. We live by faith.
2. Who do we have faith in:
a. One who loved me.
b. One who gave himself for me.
III. The beneficial result.
A. Because of our union with Christ, we have a new life (2 Cor. 5;17).
B. Because of our union with Christ, we have a strange life – The world knows us not!
C. Because of our union with Christ, we have the true life.
D. Because of our union with Christ, we have a humbled life of self-sacrifice (John 3:30; Rom. 12:1-2).
Application: Believer realize what is yours in Christ.
1. Perfect love.
2. Perfect salvation.
3. Holy security.
4. Holy wealth.
7. Oh, let us live for Christ!
8. Let us realize that if we are one with him, then we are one with each other.