"To this end Christ died, and lived again, that He might be Lord."
"I through the law died unto the law, that I might live unto God, I have been crucified with Christ . . . no longer I, but Christ."
Paul does not hesitate to refer to his own experience, for he does not preach a gospel to the Romans or to the Galatians which he has not proved himself, and all that he has written to the Romans concerning the death with Christ, he sums up in this passage in his epistle to the Galatians. To the Romans he said "we" and "our", but to the Galatians he said "I!" "I" died unto the law, I have been crucified with Christ. In these words we have embodied the deepest meaning of the deliverance of Calvary, and the more simply we take the message, the more quickly shall we prove the word of the Cross as the power of God to deliver. This "I" which has been the central spring of every human life since the fall; this "I" cries Paul, was "crucified with Christ", and the law was the means of bringing me to that place of death-the place where I acknowledged my hopeless condition; the place where I found out that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing; the place where I died to the law by sheer inability to obey it, and from thence I fled to hide myself in the death of Christ, and now I have died with Him. We need to remember that no word of God is exhausted in one application. As we are led on by Him, we find the message of the Cross opening out with an ever widening meaning, to meet an ever deepening need. At first we apprehend our death with Christ simply in relation to the bondage of sin. With our eyes on the crucified Lord, dying for us, we listen to the declaration of Paul in Rom. 6:6, "our old man is crucified with Him", and reckon ourselves dead unto sin, and cast away "anger, passion and malice...evil speaking and reviling", and all the manifest "works of the flesh". Then we prove with joy that the word of the Cross is the power of God to all who believe, and find that the living Christ is "able to save completely them that draw near to God through Him". But sooner or later we find out that we need a deeper deliverance. Our lives are still in some measure self-centred, although we reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin, and find deliverance from the manifest works of the flesh. Self-Energy, or self complacency in service; self-pity when we are suffering; self-judgement in hours of trial; self-sensitiveness in contact with others; self-defence when we are injured, and sometimes, above all and through all a self-consciousness that makes life almost a burden, are some of the indications of the self-centre within.
In the energy of self, desiring to be wholly the Lord's, we may sometimes consecrate ourselves to Him, and with new activities, until we are spent out, or, finding little spiritual fruit from all our labour, our eyes are opened to see the uselessness of all our "creature activity" for Him. It is at this point that the Spirit of God brings the word of the Cross with a fresh and blessed message of deliverance. A deliverance that, to some lives, has meant greater consequences than the freedom from the bondage of sin which they proved in earlier days. The Lord Jesus in His call to the Cross, touched the core of trouble in every life when He said,
"If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself". The Lord did not say his sins, nor certain exterior things, but He who knew what was in man, struck deeper than actions to the very centre of a man, and said "himself". Let a man renounce himself and see himself as crucified with Christ, and quickly another Himself- the Lord Christ - will take the central place in the heart, and quietly bring all things under His sway. "Each of you saith, I,o/oo wrote Paul to the Corinthians about the cause of the contentions in the Church; and instance after instance is given in the Scriptures of the "I" in its various forms. 1Cor 1:11,12.
"Is not this great Babylon which I have built?" cried Nebuchadnezzar. "Iwill say to my soul...take thine ease" says the one whose delight was in earthly treasure. "I am not as the rest of men," is the self-estimation of the moral man. "I am holier than thou" the inner thought of the self-righteous. "I am rich...and have need of nothing," the attitude of the self-satisfied; and "I am" of this one or that one, the "I" of the christian who walks "after the manner of men". "For when one saith, I am of Paul; and another I am of Apollos; are ye not men? writes the Apostle. But "I" crucified with Christ, was Paul's charter of freedom. With the message of the Cross he met every difficulty of the Christians of his day. "We who died". "All died". "For ye died," was his reiterated statement, as he dealt practically with the children of God, about their attitude to sin, and the elements of the world in the Church of God. And the souls to whom he wrote, knew that he lived it out in his own life, He did not say "I have been crucified with Christ:, and seek the highest place, even when he might have "claimed honour" as an Apostle of Christ. "I am nothing" he wrote to the Corinthians, and I "am less than least of all saints:, to the Ephesians. "No longer I" was the whole spirit of his life, as he counted all things loss for Christ, and became, as it were, the off-scouring of all this for His dear sake. For crucified with Christ is Paul's invariable declaration, and from whichever point of view he speaks of the results of the death of Christ, he uniformly keeps Calvary as the basal fact; in all his unfolding of truth never going beyond the radius of the Cross.
The Greek word which the Apostle uses in Galatians 2:20, signifies "To crucify together", and "crucified together with Christ" must be the fact upon which our faith must rest, if we are to know continuous deliverance, for the eyes of the heart must be focused upon the crucified Christ, and not be turned inward upon the subjective experience. "Looking unto Jesus" is the way of deliverance at every stage of spiritual life. We "look" at the Christ upon His Cross, just as the Israelites looked away form their dire condition to the serpent lifted up in the wilderness-look away from ourselves in the death of sin to Calvary, and as we look, we live.Again we "look" and see ourselves crucified with Christ, and in the faith which unites us to Him, we reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin, and cast away every known sin, refusing to let it reign over us, and -in so far as we honestly desire and expect the victory-the Holy Ghost seals our faith with real deliverance. Once more we look to Calvary, and see that we have died to the law, for God no longer says "Thou shalt" to those who are in Christ. As we yeild obedience to the law of Christ, He sends forth the Spirit of His son into our hearts, whereby we cry "Abba Father" and learn to look to HIm to supply our every need.
Again we "look" to Calvary, and with clearer vision see ourselves-"I" crucified with Him. As the Spirit illuminates the message, we
marvel that we did not understand the wondrous secret long before. WE have but to make way for the Living Christ, by taking His Cross as ours, and He will manifest Himself through us. And is this all? Nay. As He who died and rose again occupies the throne within, in His light we shall see light, and as new departments of our complex beings are brought into the searchlight of His Presence, we shall discover aver deeper depths of our need, and find Calvary again and again the place of life. "Crucified with Christ!!" His Cross mine. I am there with Him. I consent to share His Cross, and meet all things with "No longer I!" "I have no longer a separate existence. I am merged with Christ," so He the Living One, will move forth through me, working in me that which is well pleasing in His sight.
(Taken from the book "Crucified with Christ by Jessie Penn Lewis)