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 Galatians had received the gospel by faith, but now were seeking to add law-keeping to their faith in order to gain more acceptance with God. In Galatians 2:15-19, Paul demonstrates that the law which distinguished Jews from Gentiles could not be kept fully in order to justify a guilty sinner before God; hence God provided a righteousness apart from the keeping of the law – namely, Christ’s righteousness, that is received by faith in Him. In His death on the cross, Christ satisfied the just demands of the law; and since we died with Him, we are released from the bondage and condemnation of the law.
Paul then goes on to give us this beautiful verse describing our union with Christ. One writer puts it this way:
“When God declares the ungodly sinner just, He makes no mere legal and lifeless imputation of righteousness apart from a real and deep life-union of the believer with Christ. God has indeed declared righteous “the ungodly,” but not apart from Christ, not outside of Christ. We are justified only in Christ; that is, having come into vital life-union with Christ through faith in His atoning death. Those whom God declares righteous are “created in Christ Jesus.” We are actually new creatures “in Christ.”
Our old man in Adam was crucified with Christ on the cross. We now have a new man that is inseparable from Christ. He lives in us and we in Him. We were chosen in Him, we died with Him, we were buried with Him, we rose with Him, we live in Him, and one day He is coming back to take us to be with Him forever. Hallelujah!
The implication of this truth on our lives is enormous. It will affect how we view God’s acceptance of us; we will know more victories in our battle against sin; our joy will be less disturbed by our circumstances; and finally, our love for and communion with Christ will be deepened. May the Holy Spirit apply this truth to our hearts daily.