How Do We Live a Crucified Life?

“By the cross we, too, are crucified with Christ; but alive in Christ.  We are rebels no more, but are servants; no more servants, but sons!”  F. W. Farrar

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:24

So how is it that are to live the crucified life every day?  After all, this is a requirement if we are to be followers of Jesus, for he told us, ““If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.”  In Romans chapter 6, Paul the Apostle explains the pathway to living a crucified life.  This pathway begins with what we believe about our functional relationship with Jesus Christ.  It moves on to how we think or “reckon,” and then to how we behave in light of our thinking.  He wrote, “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.  For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.  Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

We have been placed into Christ Jesus, included in His death, resurrection, and new life.  We died in Him and with Him, and we now live in Him and with Him.  That life is eternal, by the way, beginning now and extending past the death of our bodies into eternity through our spirits.  Jesus is never to die again after His physical death, and so it is for us after our physical deaths.  The death that He died He died to sin, once for all time.  And once for all of us who are included in His death.  Just as He is alive forever with a life completely fixed upon the purposes and will of the Godhead, we who are placed into His life are to live that same focus.  This we believe as Christ-followers.

This means we must own those purposes, as much as we can know them, as our own every day and live only for our God.  No more self-direction, we live a God-directed life always, at every level.  No more self-promotion, we live a live that seeks only that which honors our God.  No more power of sin controlling us, we are always in conscious submission to our God.  This is the crucified life. We have changed our paradigm and our life focus at all times.  The life of Christ in us is ours when we reckon ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to our God. This is how we think as Christ-followers.

Paul goes on to explain how our believing and thinking change our behaving in Romans 6:12-13  “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,  and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  

If we do not take the initiative against sin, it will reign in us, exercising dominion or control over us.  The initiative we take is two-fold.  First, we must stop presenting ourselves to sin at any point in our daily living; “and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness.”  The Gr., “Paristémi” translated here as “present,” means to come up to and stand by, to yield to a person or thing.  When we yield to self or to sin, we give power to sin to rule over us.  We lack the power to refuse sin on our own, in our own flesh and our own strength.  Focusing on combating sin in our own strength is not effective.

Paul follows up the instruction to stop presenting the ourselves to sin with the positive action we are to take.  “…but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness.”  Paul uses the same Greek word, “paristemi” here.  We are to come to our God and yield ourselves to Him.  We cannot control sin without fully yielding to God. Neither can we divide our living into that which we control and that which our God controls.  This presenting of ourselves to our God must be complete, a daily commitment in every part of our living.  This is a conscious choice and a conscious act of submitting to our God every day.  This is the behavior that leads to our crucified living.

“The cross is not a mere event in history; it is a way of life!  Take up your cross daily, Jesus said.”  John Piper

2 thoughts on “How Do We Live a Crucified Life?

  1. Linda J

    Following the Way seems to require the sacrifice one thing after another the small self is attached to – like the freedom to make a problem out of one thing after another. God has shown me how that keeps me from showing up and being available for something bigger he would have me do – beyond my comfort zone. Giving up those false “freedoms” seems to liberate me in a bigger way. While a part of me (false self) may feel starved, another part (my soul) feels nourished. Thank you for these messages.

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  2. You are right. I think the genius of the crucifixion analogy is that crucifixion is a once for all way to die. Once we have settled the matter that we are going to consider ourselves dead to self and to sin, once for all and no turning back, the daily realities that extend from that choice are less of a fight. We chose to die, so the small-self stuff is viewed in light of that decision. It is so true what you said about freedoms. What we in our flesh see as freedom is usually bondage disguised as getting our way. True freedom is found in returning to that for which we were created, which is to follow our God in every detail. Since that is our purpose, that is the only place we can be free and finally satisfied at the soul level. Your insights are sound, Linda. Our God is good to us.

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