36 years ago, next month, I died. No, I didn’t die a physical death, but it was a death nonetheless. It was 36 years ago, next month, that I participated with Jesus Christ in His crucifixion and died. Some call it accepting Jesus or inviting Jesus into one’s heart, but maybe it should be termed in the way Paul said it.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and I live, yet no longer I, but Christ living in me; and now the life I live in the flesh, I live by faith, the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” – Galatians 2:19b-20
I’m wondering if the phrase, “Christ died for me,” should be eliminated and in its place be put, “Christ who died AS me.” Because Paul said, “crucified with Christ,” that means that I am right alongside Him, maybe joined at the hip, when the crucifixion happened. Unfortunately, it is all to common that followers of Jesus act like people of the world with all the ways of the world: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, covetousness, wrath, rage, malice, slander, abusive and filthy language and lying to one another.
When the attitude that Jesus died FOR me and not AS me is the prevailing one, my original life is intact. Jesus’ death is just put on as an overcoat over my original life and I can shed that any time I decide.
Paul’s imagery is that a believer’s original life, the “original me” has died; that original version of me needs to stay dead! All to often, though, believers go to that grave site and start digging. The old is dead! Stop being a grave robber!
When the prevailing attitude is that Christ died for me and not as me, the idea is that Jesus death is a fix of my original life. It’s like an update or patch to some software on a computer; the original programming stays but is improved by fixing the errors or flaws present.
The problem with this is this: there is no fix available for the problem of the sin nature! The original must be killed and buried, never again to see the light of the sun. Jesus’ death is not a patch fix; it is totally something new. The old person must die and that is only accomplished if that old self participates with Christ in His crucifixion.
The great thing about being crucified with Christ is this – when I die with Him, I also get to be raised in Him through His resurrection into a new life that is lived by Him in me by faith, but not by my, or just any, faith, but the faith of Jesus Himself.
So, let me ask a question to my fellow followers of Christ: how often are you visiting the cemetery with a shovel to dig up that dead original you? If you find yourself in the cemetery, shovel in hand, ready to dig, remember these words: YOU’RE DEAD! STAY DEAD!
And I might add, why are you visiting the “cemetery” where the old you is buried anyway? People go to someone’s grave site to remember or grieve; why would we want to remember or grieve the “original us?” Rather, we should say, “Good riddance!” and forget where that original is buried.