“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
The Bible teaches that all of us come into the world with inherited sin natures, sin natures that disqualify us from citizenship in heaven. Christ’s redemptive work, however, made it possible for sinners to be regenerated, to be “born again” with new, sinless spiritual natures. Of course, this necessitates the death of the “old man,” the former sinful persons we used to be. Christ the Lord insisted that to be His disciple, one must “deny himself, and take up his cross daily” (Luke 9:23). This is a common theme that winds its way through all of Scripture. In the Old Testament, for instance, we see Moses interceding for rebellious Israel. For his intercession to be successful, he first fasted and prostrated himself (Deuteronomy 9:18, 25-26). He had to become, as it were, as good as dead. We see this again in the case of Jonah, whose successful mission to Nineveh was preceded by his being eaten by a fish (Jonah 1-4)! Daniel is another example. This faithful servant of God was thrown into a den of lions overnight. To all concerned, this meant certain death (Daniel 6). The greatest example of all, of course, is the Lord Jesus Himself, who not only became as good as dead at the dawn of His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:1-2), He actually tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9). Christ’s successful ministry necessitated His dying; it was for this reason that He came into the world (John 12:27). His death both reconciled us to God (Romans 5:10) and defeated Satan (Hebrews 2:14). The Good Shepherd who laid His life down for the sheep now asks us to lay our old lives down. This may sound difficult, even intimidating, but the Bible insists this is the only way to a right relationship with God and to a life of real freedom (Galatians 5:24). Paul explained, “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin (Romans 6:5-7). Living the crucified life isn’t always easy, however, it takes effort to “die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). When our old nature with its sinful desires begins to surface, remember that our faithful and merciful High Priest sympathizes with us in our struggles and stands ready to help (Hebrews 4:15-17). Remember also that you are part of a local community of believers, a church family you can lean into for support. May these meditations be a help to you today, dear saints.