I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me…
This extremely bold, startling, and paradoxical assertion of the apostle, is a metaphorical, pictorial statement of a great spiritual truth, about all really Christian life. Every genuine Christian, who is really united to Christ by living faith, has been crucified with Christ; and since he still lives, his life thereafter is the life of Christ in him.
I. THE CONTEXT WILL FURNISH US WITH THE FIRST RAY OF THE LIGHT WE SEEK. St. Paul is combating an error subversive to Christianity itself, viz., ritualism. He declares that if you go back to that — to the old notion that by deeds you can be justified — you are going back again to law, and have left Christ behind,
II. WHAT IS THE UNIVERSAL SPIRITUAL TRUTH REPRESENTED BY THESE IMAGES — "DEAD WITH CHRIST," "CHRIST LIVING IN US"? If you have really gone to God with the prayer and hope of faith, resting on the propitiation of Christ, you have died to sin. It is as if you had been crucified with Christ. It may be that your Christian history contains no moment of mighty conscious change; that your change took place by slow and imperceptible degrees, more like education than conversion. In that case, it would not be likely that you should feel this great truth about yourself as Paul felt it. Your death to sin may have been less like a crucifixion, a sudden, painful, yet blissful, inevitably conscious severance from it, than like a slow, lingering, almost painless process; like a disease whose stages of advance could never be marked by hours or days. But still it is true of you; if you be hoping in God through Jesus Christ our Lord, you have been crucified with Christ to that huge guilt of which law, just and holy law, convicted you; and having thus died to it, you have no more to fear from it. God has severed it and you. And it is now for you to recognize the grand truth, and rejoice in it.
III. THIS CRUCIFIXION HAS RESPECT TO SOMETHING ELSE THAN THE PREVIOUS GUILT OR DEBT TO DIVINE LAW. Sin is not merely an external thing; an ever-accumulating mass of wrong deeds and words, of omissions and neglects. All these are the results of what we are. The seat of sin is in the soul. The working of the evil element has produced evil habits and tendencies. These must be eradicated. The old nature has to be mortified, crucified; and in its place Christ is to reign.
(G. W. Conder.)
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.