Dying for a New Beginning

Scripture: Galatians 2:20 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 problem with New Year’s Resolutions is they tend to “go in one year and out the next.” I’d like us to consider adopting a Bible verse as a resolution. Some people choose a Bible verse at the beginning of January to set the theme for the coming year. If you could have one verse scripted and framed to hang in your living room for the next 12 months, which would you choose? I’d like to suggest Galatians 2:20
This verse presents three configurations to the Christian life.

The Relinquished Life: Galatians 2:20 tells us the Christian life is a relinquished life: “I have been crucified with Christ.” In receiving Christ, we come to the old rugged cross and gaze upon the dying form of one who suffered there for us. We see his hands nailed fast to the wood. We see the spike in his ankles. We see the blood flowing in streaks down his body, and, deeply moved, we turn aside from the kind of life we once lived and take our stand beneath the cross of Jesus. We die to ourselves and to our sin. We die to the world, the flesh, and the devil, and we identify with the cross of Christ. When James Calvert went as a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands, the captain of the ship sought to turn him back. “You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages,” he cried. Calvert only replied, “We died before we came here.”

  1. The Exchanged Life: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Missionary Hudson Taylor called this the “Exchanged Life.” None of us can live the Christian life in our own strength or resist temptation solely by our own will power. Only Christ can successfully live the genuine victorious Christian life—it is, after all, His life—and when we come to Him in full surrender, He begins living His life through us. This involves two levels:
    • Christian Living: Christ lives His life through us, producing the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:20), which represents the character qualities of Christ Himself.
    • Christian Service: Christ does His work through us. In Romans 15:18, Paul said: “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me” (NRSV). In 2 Corinthians 5:20: “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us.” In 2 Timothy 4:17, the apostle said: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me.”
  2. The Trusting Life: “…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.” “This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). Romans 1:17 tells us that the Christian life is one of faith from first to last, for the just shall live by faith. Isaiah 26:3–4 says: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.” Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart.” In heavenly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear;
    And safe is such confiding, for nothing changes here.
    The storm may rage around me, my heart may low be laid;
    But God is round about me, and can I be dismayed.

Conclusion: A. W. Tozer wrote, “If you ask God to give you a special message for the opening year, one that will be made seasonable and real in every exigency of the unknown future, you will be surprised how faithfully He will fulfill His word, and how fittingly the Holy Spirit will speak to you of things to come, and anticipate the real needs and exigencies of your life.” Perhaps Galatians 2:20 is that word from God for you today, if you’re dying for a new beginning and willing to be “crucified with Christ.”

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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