Crucified with Christ
by E.W. Bullinger
"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).
These last words the Apostle Paul sums up his important letter to the
churches of Galatia, and he emphasizes the great sum and substance, the
essence and marrow of the Gospel of Christ, and of true Christianity.
This is utterly and entirely opposed to the world and to the world's
religion. The world is that which is opposed to the Father (I John
2:16). The world has always been willing to support religion, and even
Christianity, provided it has been allowed to alter it, and adapt it,
and put its own marks upon it. And in all ages Christians have been
willing to comply with this condition, and have allowed its sacred
deposits to be tampered with.
We must be made new
Man must be made over again, made anew. This is the great point on
which the Apostle lays such stress here. He says, "From henceforth
let no man trouble! me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord
Jesus" (Galatians 6:17). There is a double reference in his words,
when translated more closely, "Administer not to me your
cuts." I need them not, I am crucified with Christ. It is not marks
nor brands made by man upon the flesh that we want, but it is the brands
of the Lord Jesus. He was crucified for us, "wounded for our
iniquities," and those who are crucified with Christ have His marks
on them, and to such can be said, "the grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ be with your spirit (verse 18). This is the cry from Heaven to
all who are crucified with Christ, this "grace" in them and
with them is the "mark" and "brand" which the world
will never countenance and approve.
Take, first, His rejection. He was "rejected of men," not rejected of the Father! No. We must make the distinction which the Scripture of truth makes. Not as is commonly said that the Father hid His face from the Son, but it was God against man. "Awake, O sword, against... the man that is My fellow" (Zechariah 13:7) -- "against the man," not against "My Son." "The Son of Man" was "rejected of men," and the penitent soul, the sin-convicted sinner, has this experience. The first thought of such an one is, "I am accursed before God." Never before has the sinner known the terrible weight of Divine rejection till the Holy Law of the Holy God is written by the Holy Spirit on the fleshy tables of his heart. He that has been crucified with Christ enters into the real positions and in measure and in part into the experience of the darkness which overspread the heavens when Christ as man hung upon the cross, being made a curse for us The death due by the law is realised by such an one; conscience is now for the first time awakened; sin now for the first time is seen as that which separates from God; and the sinner loathes himself, as he thus enters into the first experience of what it is to be crucified with Christ.
But, secondly, there is, thank God, another experience. There is another view of the Cross of Christ, a Divine view, that of acceptance. If at His baptism and transfiguration the testimony of heaven was, "My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," surely it was so here when that Beloved One was accepted; for the holiness of God was then vindicated, the law of God was then honoured, the majesty of God was then magnified, and the same words are pronounced over every sinner who can say, "I have been crucified with Christ." The Father in heaven declares of Him and of every such an one, "My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased," and this, just because he is "accepted in the Beloved." Oh what a mighty reality there is in this great truth! How great the merits of this Saviour who has thus stood in the sinner's place, that the sinner might stand in His! No wonder that of all such the Holy Spirit has written, "There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." What a perfect satisfaction do we present! Who can measure the glorious answer to the law, the vindication of God's holiness, which the man (who a little while ago was a poor forlorn outcast sinner) brings before God, as soon as by grace he is enabled to say, "I have been crucified with Christ." Ah, this is light that will dissipate our darkness: all our bondage and fear would be instantly gone if we could only realize what it means to be "crucified with Christ."
His words become ours
But more than this is contained in the truth: not only Christ's acts
and position are ours, but His words and utterances become in
part ours. We know what it is to cry, "My God, my God, why has Thou
forsaken me?" It is our cry of felt helplessness; it says, if God
should cast us out for ever, "just and true is He." No reason
can we find in ourselves, no ground for our acceptance can we find in
our past living or present feelings. If saved at all, it must be by
grace. and grace alone; and it shews that even this cry is the result
of life which has been given; for though we cry, we say "My --
my God." This is the beginning of the end, all else is assured
when we can say my God. But the full measure of our absolute unworthiness
is never experienced by us until this life and light has been imparted.
It was when God said, "Let there be light," that ruin and
desolation was seen at its worst, and so it is with the sinner. Talk not
about repentance or contrition as a preparation for coming to Christ,
for if we "have been crucified with Christ," we will surely
experience the horror of this great darkness, but it will be coupled
with hope. "My God."
The world and the crucified
We cannot follow all the other thoughts which gather round
"Christ Crucified," but there are two other facts that we must
not omit. The Apostle says, "By whom the world is crucified to me,
and I unto the world" (Galatians 6:14).
Joy and the crucified
(2). Those who are crucified with Christ know something of His sustaining joy. We are not left to imagine what this was, but we know that "For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross, despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2). Great were His sufferings, but greater still His joy. So it will be with us. This alone will support those who have been crucified with Christ. We shall never know the measure of His sorrow, but we shall know something of His joy. For a joy is set before us, and it will enable us to despise the shame and endure the suffering, and confess that "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). "Our light affliction which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (II Corinthians 4:17). Only those who have been crucified with Christ can truly say, "I live" (Galatians 2. 20), and I have the blessed hope of everlasting life. Can we say this? If we cannot, "What is our life?" Your life which you are living for yourselves? Let us not call this life. Let us not call our sinful pleasures joy. For what is our experience? Is it not a consciousness of a disappointed present, and a future without hope? Is it not a heart unsatisfied with earthly objects? Is it not a will at cross purposes with God's will? Do we call this life? Nay, call it what it is, death. Not dead with Christ, not dead to sin, but dead in sins.
May this testimony for the Crucified One quicken us together with Christ, that we may be able to say, "I have been 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 loveth me, and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).