PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH 01 OCTOBER 2023
CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST
GALATIANS 2:17-21 ROMANS 6:1-14
Before anyone becomes a Christian, "religion" is a grim, hopeless struggle to try to please God, and to try to improve oneself by making resolutions to live up to God’s moral law.
When we become Christian, we exchange that ineffective, always trying to toe the line or to walk a legal chalk-line, for the indwelling Spirit – that is Jesus Christ.
Let’s talk a bit about Justification. We don’t talk about that a lot in our churches.
Justification has to do with the act of righteousness. It has to do with the abandonment of our willful sin and the beginning of our fellowship with Christ.
When we were living the life of sin, fellowship with Jesus Christ was broken. It didn’t exist.
Justification happens when that fellowship is restored. It is at that time that a righteous relationship with God can be maintained.
Justification delivers us from the penalty of sin. A person is most perfect at the time he accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and is obedient to repent of sin and has sins washed away in baptism.
From that point on the person, new in Christ either begins to grow in Him or reverts to the old life, living the worldly life. There really is no middle ground there. We either grow in Christ or we slip back to serving Satan.
The work that the Holy Spirit does in us is to give us daily victory over sin. His work is the process of helping us to grow up from a “babe in Christ” to a mature, full-grown Christian – a faithful follower of Christ.
Hebrews 5:11-14 addresses this truth by saying:
“ Concerning Him, (that is, Christ) I have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time, you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
Justification is a beginning that identifies us with Christ in an authentic way. It is the gateway to life in Christ.
On the other hand, sanctification is the pathway to living in Christ. It is the continuous pathway to living in Christ. That is our daily walk with Him.
What hinders some folks from becoming Christians? Well, of course, there are a multitude of reasons. Or, sometimes, they are not reasons, but excuses.
But many people won’t give in to Christ. They may even believe the message. They may even desire to have Christ in their life. But they hold back. They won’t make a commitment.
They will not become Christian, because they know that God expects those who are in Christ to live a holy life. They will excuse themselves by making statements like this:
“I am so weak I won’t be able to keep my life as pure as God expects it to be.” Well, that is true. None of us, on our own, can keep our life as pure as God expects it to be.
But a close, day-by-day – and sometimes, hour-by-hour – communication with God is how we are able to live the life He expects of us.
Many Christians as well, don’t understand this teaching concerning the fact that God has provided the indwelling of His Holy Spirit in us. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us causes us to have the blessing of the unity between Him and us. And that unity of the Holy Spirit within us helps us become strong and successful Christians.
We must accept this strength that God has provided to us through Jesus Christ. We are hopeless without it. When we accept that strength we can live knowing that we always, constantly have someone to call upon for help.
God does not call anyone to Himself to gain numbers. Of course, He wants all of humanity to know Him, believe in Him, and to follow Him.
He never abandons those who call on His name for help. He never leaves those who lean on the Holy Spirit who lives within them for daily, even hourly help.
READ Romans 6:1-14
6 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Christ died not only for our sins, but He died to sin.
In dying, He ceased to have anything further to do with sin.
For us, the same is true. When we take on Christ, we have nothing further to do with sin. We die to sin. Truly, we are crucified with Christ.
And none of this is accomplished by our own efforts. None of this change in our lives once we come to Christ is by our own doing.
Our turning from sin is not through our feeble human efforts. We can’t do that alone. Instead, it is as a result of our identification with Christ that we can overcome the obstacles that come our way and threaten our obedience and devotion to Christ.
The Scriptures speak of this identification with Christ as a death. It is a death. It is not a death of the physical body. It is instead a death to sin. That death to sin begins to happen when we make that decision that we desire a change in our lives – a change that brings peace and purpose to our lives. Peace and Purpose in life on this earth can only come from life in Christ.
So, when we make Jesus Christ Lord of our lives, we die to our sin. It is then that we need faith in Him to accomplish the new life, being dead to sin, but alive in Christ.
It only makes good sense when we think about it. If we are dead to sin, it is unreasonable and even unthinkable, that we should continue living in sin.
Now, let’s look at when this death to sin really took place.
When did we die to sin? When were we united to Christ?
The answer to those questions is this: We died to sin, and we were united to Christ at the time we were baptized into Christ!
Many people who have been baptized are not aware of this vital and precious truth. Many will try to twist the Scripture to make this idea to mean Holy Spirit baptism instead of water baptism by immersion. This baptism will not enable us to speak in tongues or allow us to perform supernatural abilities as some denominations would have you believe and require.
All who have submitted to water baptism are Christians and do receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. There is only one baptism and that is the immersion in water.
And, it is at that time, at that event, that we are united with Christ. It is at that time that we begin to enjoy the benefits of salvation – including His death for our sins. Including our death to sin as a result of His death to sin.
Being crucified with Christ also means that we have been buried with Him.
This is another way that we are identified with Christ. We not only die with Him, but we are also buried with Him. And if being identified with Christ is not enough, He has promised us something even greater! That greater part is that we are not only buried with Him, but we are also raised with Him – that is Resurrection! That is Resurrection to Life!
Here is the Power that enables us to walk in the newness of life when we are united with Him. The Gospel would be good news for only a moment if it did not deal with the problem of deliverance from sinning after we became Christians.
And, you know, that is when we really need the guiding hand of the Master in our lives. The Gospel doesn’t just go so far and then leave us hanging out there on our own. The Gospel provides adequate teaching which allows the newborn Christian to experience daily victory over sin if the Gospel is the Good News it claims to be. And we know that it is that Good News.
We can never be happy, rested, or spiritually healthy until we become holy.
We must have daily victory over sin if we are to have the peace of God which passes all understanding.
It is when we are immersed and raised up that we are united with Christ. It is then that we receive the Holy Spirit. It is then that we are born again.
It is then that we become new creatures. It is then that a new nature inhabits us, and we begin a new nature and a new life.
Have you crucified your old self? Or are you living in an old decaying shell continually, and willfully sinning?
It is important for us, as Christians, to occasionally take an inventory of our lives. Ask ourselves – Who is in control of my life? Most of us are not in control of our lives. Either God is in control of our life – or Satan is in control. And, if we say that we are in control of our life – it is really Satan who is in control of your life.
If you truthfully can say that God, through His Son Jesus Christ, is in control of your life, you are blessed and understand that is because of your crucified and risen to life Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.