“The cross has gathered in the course of the years much of beauty and symbolism, but the cross of which Jesus spoke had nothing of beauty in it. It was an instrument of death.” A.W. Tozer
The crucified life is crucial to our living in the kingdom of our God. This is because our new life is now in Christ, not in ourselves or in this world. This new life in Christ cannot be lived in our strength or by our efforts. It can only be lived by means of the life of Christ in us by the Holy Spirit. Our new live in Christ is the only way we can be free from sin, know deep fellowship and communion with our God, and be truly holy every day.
The apostle Paul in Romans 6:1-7 explains why a crucified life is critical. He begins by clearing up a misunderstanding regarding God’s grace. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!” Apparently, grace had become a kind of blanket behind which believers hid so that they could go on in their favorite sins. Grace is not about freedom to sin; it is about God’s power in us to eliminate sin, to give us the freedom to live as our God intends us to live.
Next, Paul makes clear the fact that we are already dead to sin. How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” By grace our God has placed – immersed or included – us “in Christ Jesus,” including into His death and His resurrection. We are also included in His righteousness and His resurrection power. This has the potential to change everything in our daily living, if we will make use of it.
Paul goes on: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” This is vitally important. We can walk in the new life we have in Jesus Christ and be free from the power of sin, now, in this life. We need no longer live under sin or defeat. By Jesus’ death the power of sin is cancelled for him and for us
Paul sums it up: “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” What a powerful statement! Because we are in Christ, the power of sin over us is broken. We are no longer slaves to sin.
You may ask, “But I do not feel like the power of sin is broken for me. What gives?” For a great many people, the problem is that they do not know how to unlock this power of Christ’s death and resurrection daily. Because of that, they settle for minor victories over sin and slow progress toward holiness.
Our new life in Christ requires a shift to crucified living every day. “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus,” says Paul in 6:11. We must think of or consider our situation differently. This word, “consider” is often translated “reckon;” it is an accounting term in the Greek meaning to add up the facts and believe the math. Our new life in Christ begins when we reckon ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to our God in Christ Jesus. From that point of reckoning we yield total control to Him, surrender all of our daily living to Him.
The call to the crucified life is universal and absolute. “If anyone would come after me,” Jesus said, “let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever finds his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” His words grant us no exceptions. We must daily reckon ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to our God, and we must daily pursue the crucified life. There must be a practical transformation in our living from the moment our feet hit the floor in the morning until we hit the sack at night. It is no longer we who live, for we have denied our self-life, our self-direction and self-protection.
“In every Christian’s heart there is a cross and a throne, and the Christian is on the throne till he puts himself on the cross; if he refuses the cross he remains on the throne…we want to be saved but we insist that Christ do all the dying. No cross for us, no dethronement, no dying. We remain king within the little kingdom of Mansoul and wear our tinsel crown with all the pride of a Caesar; but we doom ourselves to shadows and weakness and spiritual sterility.” A. W. Tozer