I am crucified with Christ - The death of Christ on the cross has showed me that there is no hope of salvation by the law; I am therefore as truly dead to all expectation of justification by the law, as Christ was dead when he gave up the ghost upon the cross. Through him alone I live - enjoy a present life, and have a prospect of future glory.
Yet not I - It is not of my natural life I speak, nor of any spiritual things which I myself have procured; but Christ liveth in me. God made man to be a habitation of his own Spirit: the law cannot live in me so as to give me a Divine life; it does not animate, but kill; but Christ lives in me; he is the soul of my soul; so that I now live to God. But this life I have by the faith of the Son of God - by believing on Christ as a sacrifice for sin; for he loved me, and because he did so he gave himself for me - made himself a sacrifice unto death, that I might be saved from the bitter pains of death eternal.
I am crucified with Christ - In the previous verse, Paul had said that he was dead. In this verse he states what he meant by it, and shows that he did not wish to be understood as saying that he was inactive, or that he was literally insensible to the appeals made to him by other beings and objects. In respect to one thing he was dead; to all that was truly great and noble he was alive. To understand the remarkable phrase, “I am crucified with Christ,” we may remark:
(1) That this was the way in which Christ was put to death. He suffered on a cross, and thus became literally dead.
(2) in a sense similar to this, Paul became dead to the Law, to the world, and to sin. The Redeemer by the death of the cross became insensible to all surrounding objects, as the dead always are. He ceased to see, and hear, and was as though they were not. He was laid in the cold grave, and they did not affect or influence him. So Paul says that he became insensible to the Law as a means of justification; to the world; to ambition and the love of money; to the pride and pomp of life, and to the dominion of evil and hateful passions. They lost their power over him; they ceased to influence him.
(3) this was with Christ, or by Christ. It cannot mean literally that he was put to death with him, for that is not true. But it means that the effect of the death of Christ on the cross was to make him dead to these things, in like manner as he, when he died, became insensible to the things of this busy world. This may include the following things:
(a)There was an intimate union between Christ and his people, so that what affected him, affected them; see John 15:5-6.
(b)The death of the Redeemer on the cross involved as a consequence the death of his people to the world and to sin; see Galatians 5:24; Galatians 6:14. It was like a blow at the root of a vine or a tree, which would affect every branch and tendril or like a blow at the head which affects every member of the body.
(c)Paul felt identified with the Lord Jesus; and he was willing to share in all the ignominy and contempt which was connected with the idea of the crucifixion. He was willing to regard himself as one with the Redeemer. If there was disgrace attached to the manner in which he died, he was willing to share it with him. He regarded it as a matter to be greatly desired to be made just like Christ in all things, and even in the manner of his death. This idea he has more fully expressed in Philemon 3:10, “That I may know him, (that is, I desire earnestly to know him,) and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” see also Colossians 1:24; compare 1 Peter 4:13.
Nevertheless I live - This expression is added, as in Galatians 2:19, to prevent the possibility of mistake. Paul, though he was crucified with Christ, did not wish to be understood that he felt himself to be dead. He was not inactive; not insensible, as the dead are, to the appeals which are made from God, or to the great objects which ought to interest an immortal mind. He was still actively employed, and the more so from the fact that he was crucified with Christ. The object of all such expressions as this is, to show that it was no design of the gospel to make people inactive, or to annihilate their energies. It was not to cause people to do nothing. It was not to paralyze their powers, or stifle their own efforts. Paul, therefore, says, “I am not dead. I am truly alive; and I live a better life than I did before.” Paul was as active after conversion as he was before. Before, he was engaged in persecution; now, he devoted his great talents with as much energy, and with as untiring zeal, to the cause of the great Redeemer. Indeed, the whole narrative would lead us to suppose that he was more active and zealous after his conversion than he was before. The effect of religion is not to make one dead in regard to the putting forth of the energies of the soul. True religion never made one lazy man; it has converted many a man of indolence, and effeminacy and self-indulgence to a man actively engaged in doing good. If a professor of religion is less active in the service at God than he was in the service of the world; less laborious, and zealous. and ardent than he was before his supposed conversion, he ought to set it down as full proof that he is an utter stranger to true religion.
Yet not I - This is also designed to prevent misapprehension. In the previous clause he had said that he lived, or was actively engaged. But lest this should he misunderstood, and it should be inferred that he meant to say it was by his own energy or powers, he guards it, and says it was not at all from himself. It was by no native tendency; no power of his own; nothing that could be traced to himself. He assumed no credit for any zeal which he had shown in the true life. He was disposed to trace it all to another. He had ample proof in his past experience that there was no tendency in himself to a life of true religion, and he therefore traced it all to another.
Christ liveth in me - Christ was the source of all the life that he had. Of course this cannot be taken literally that Christ had a residence in the apostle, but it must mean that his grace resided in him; that his principles actuated him: and that he derived all his energy, and zeal, and life from his grace. The union between the Lord Jesus and the disciple was so close that it might be said the one lived in the other. So the juices of the vine are in each branch, and leaf, and tendril, and live in them and animate them; the vital energy of the brain is in each delicate nerve - no matter how small - that is found in any part of the human frame. Christ was in him as it were the vital principle. All his life and energy were derived from him.
And the life which I now live in the flesh - As I now live on the earth surrounded by the cares and anxieties of this life. I carry the life-giving principles of my religion to all my duties and all my trials.
I live by the faith of the Son of God - By confidence in the Son of God, looking to him for strength, and trusting in his promises, and in his grace. Who loved me, etc. He felt under the highest obligation to him from the fact that he had loved him, and given himself to the death of the cross in his behalf. The conviction of obligation on this account Paul often expresses; see the Romans 6:8-11; 8:35-39 notes; 2 Corinthians 5:15 note. There is no higher sense of obligation than that which is felt toward the Saviour; and Paul felt himself bound, as we should, to live entirely to him who had redeemed him by his blood.
One of the sins that constitute one of the signs of the last days, is that professed Christians are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Deal truly with your own souls. Search carefully. How few, after a faithful examination, can look up to Heaven and say, “I am not one of those thus described. I am not a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God.” How few can say, “I am dead to the world; the life I now live is by faith of the Son of God. My life is hid with Christ in God, and when He who is my life shall appear, then shall I also appear with Him in glory.” MYP 84.1
The love and grace of God! Oh precious grace! more valuable than fine gold. It elevates and ennobles the spirit beyond all other principles. It sets the heart and affections upon Heaven. While those around us may be engaged in worldly vanity, pleasure-seeking, and folly, the conversation is in heaven, whence we look for the Saviour; the soul is reaching out after God for pardon and peace, for righteousness and true holiness. Converse with God and contemplation of things above transform the soul into the likeness of Christ.—The Review and Herald, May 11, 1886. MYP 84.2Read in context »
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-13. AA 251.1
Paul realized that his sufficiency was not in himself, but in the presence of the Holy Spirit, whose gracious influence filled his heart, bringing every thought into subjection to Christ. He spoke of himself as “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:10. In the apostle's teachings Christ was the central figure. “I live,” he declared, “yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Galatians 2:20. Self was hidden; Christ was revealed and exalted. AA 251.2
Paul was an eloquent speaker. Before his conversion he had often sought to impress his hearers by flights of oratory. But now he set all this aside. Instead of indulging in poetic descriptions and fanciful representations, which might please the senses and feed the imagination, but which would not touch the daily experience, Paul sought by the use of simple language to bring home to the heart the truths that are of vital importance. Fanciful representations of truth may cause an ecstasy of feeling, but all too often truths presented in this way do not supply the food necessary to strengthen and fortify the believer for the battles of life. The immediate needs, the present trials, of struggling souls—these must be met with sound, practical instruction in the fundamental principles of Christianity. AA 251.3Read in context »
It is the privilege of every student to take the life and teachings of Christ as his daily study. Christian education means the acceptance, in sentiment and principle, of the teachings of the Saviour. It includes a daily, conscientious walking in the footsteps of Christ, who consented to come to the world in the form of humanity, that He might give to the human race a power that they could gain by no other means. What was that power? The power to take the teachings of Christ and follow them to the letter. CT 36.1
In His resistance of evil and His labor for others, Christ gave to men an example of the highest education. He revealed God to His disciples in a way that wrought in their hearts a special work, such as He has long been urging us to allow Him to do in our hearts. There are many who in dwelling so largely on theory have lost sight of the living power of the Saviour's example. They have lost sight of Him as the self-denying, humble worker. What they need is to behold Jesus. Daily they need the fresh revealing of His presence. They need to follow more closely His example of self-renunciation and sacrifice. CT 36.2
We need the experience that Paul had when he wrote, “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. CT 36.3Read in context »
The unbelieving Jews refused to see any except the most literal meaning in the Saviour's words. By the ritual law they were forbidden to taste blood, and they now construed Christ's language into a sacrilegious speech, and disputed over it among themselves. Many even of the disciples said, “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” DA 390.1
The Saviour answered them: “Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” DA 390.2
The life of Christ that gives life to the world is in His word. It was by His word that Jesus healed disease and cast out demons; by His word He stilled the sea, and raised the dead; and the people bore witness that His word was with power. He spoke the word of God, as He had spoken through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament. The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ, and the Saviour desired to fix the faith of His followers on the word. When His visible presence should be withdrawn, the word must be their source of power. Like their Master, they were to live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. DA 390.3Read in context »