I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me…
This spiritual life of the believer may be explained in a twofold manner. It may be explained as —
I. A LIFE OF FAITH. See —
1. Faith's exercise. Without faith there is no real religion in the soul. The men of the world know practically what faith is. They have faith in their everyday transactions. They give credit to each other's word; and conduct their business on the supposition that each man will speak truth to, and not deceive, his neighbour. The husbandman, in faith, throws away his corn, and scatters it over the ground. The man of unbelief would say — "That corn is lost; that seed will die, and come to nothing." But the husbandman has faith — faith gathered from past experience — that that corn-seed will not be lest; that, on the contrary, it will spring up, and become first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear; and that he will in due season reap, it may be, sixty or one-hundred-fold, for that which he has sown. So is it in spiritual things. The children of God live by faith. All your dealings, brethren, with God, are carried on by the exercise of this blessed principle. You deal with God as one who cannot lie. You take Him at His word. For now observe, not only faith's exercise, but also —
2. Faith's object. To a saved sinner, what is the great object of faith? Is it not the Divine Saviour? "The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God." There are some men who call themselves Christians, but in their Christianity there is no Christ. Ignoring the very existence of Christianity, they think that Lyceums, Athenaeums, Institutes, and similar instrumentalities, are to regenerate our country. Everything which stops short of Christ must prove a failure. Some men put great faith in mere education. Other men err in another direction. They put their faith in preachers, instead of in Christ. They forget that the only use of preaching is to point to Christ. And how is your faith exercised towards Christ 7 It is exercised towards Christ as a crucified Saviour. It is exercised towards Christ as your atoning Priest, as your all sufficient Surety, as your almighty Redeemer. But then you cannot view such a sacrifice for your good without the deepest feeling. And, therefore, the present life is not only a life of faith; it is also —
II. A LIFE OF GRATITUDE. It is a life of gratitude to Christ for —
1. His unmerited love. My dear brethren, there is no motive to obedience so powerful as the motive of love — "Who loved me." And how has this love been shown? In the most costly manner it can. And this is our next point. The believer's present life is a life of gratitude to Christ for —
2. His precious redemption — "Who gave Himself for me." This.is the strongest possible proof which Christ could have given of His wondrous affection. "Greater love," He Himself tells us, "hath no man than this, that a man should lay. down his life for his friends." I now add two other remarks, by way of application.We see hence —
1. The blessed prospects of the Christian believer.
2. The true nature of spiritual life.I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me? The sun in the heavens gives light, it is supposed, at least to nine hundred millions of people. But you and I have as much enjoyment of that sun as though it had been placed in the firmament for our use alone. So is it with Christ. Christ died for all; but we should see that Christ died for us in particular, and we should look to Christ as dying for ourselves, as though He died for us, and for no one else. These words, however, are not mine, but the words of a Christian prelate. You have life, spiritual life, the secret life of faith. This is well described by Bishop Reynolds — "It is a hidden life. The best of it is yet unseen: Though the cabinet which is seen be rich, yet the jewel which it conceals is much richer. This life is hidden with Christ, and so hidden that we know not where it is. It is so hidden, that no enemy can touch it. It is hidden in God. If is life in the fountain. And this is such a fountain of life as hath in it fulness without satiety, purity without defilement, perpetuity without decay, and all-sufficiency Without defect. This life is hidden, but it is not lost. It is hidden like seed in the ground. And when Christ the Sun of righteousness shall appear, this life of ours in Him will spring up and appear glorious." This life, this hidden life, brethren, I trust, is the portion of the greater part of this assembly — a life of joy on earth, and a life of joy and glory unutterable in the heavens.
(C. Clayton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.