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December 4 Today’s Reading: Galatians 2-4
“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.”
What a wondrous declaration for any sinner to make! Yet, here is a declaration made under divine inspiration, by a believing sinner just like me, just like you. That means it is a declaration that any sinner, and every sinner, who trusts Christ, can and should confidently make.
Crucified with Christ
“I am crucified with Christ.” — A more accurate translation is, “I have been crucified with Christ.” When he died as my Substitute, I died in and with him. My union with Christ is so real, so complete, so thorough that anything that is true of him as my Mediator is true of me. When he died, I died (Romans 6:6; Galatians 6:14; Colossians 2:20). When he was buried, I was buried (Romans 6:3-4). When he arose, I arose (Ephesians 2:5-6). When he sat down in Glory, I sat down with him in Glory (Ephesians 2:6)!
“Nevertheless I live.”— Being crucified with Christ, I am dead to the law. Yet, being born again by his Spirit, I live, live by him, with him, and for him.
“Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” — When God the Holy Spirit regenerated me, he made me a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), put Christ in me (Colossians 1:27), imparted to me his righteous nature (1 John 3:9); and now Christ lives in me. He is Life. I have no life but him. And it is this gift of new life (Christ in me) that Paul declares is the hope of glory. The only basis of that hope is the fact that I have been crucified with Christ. But the hope of faith, the confident hope of eternal life is “Christ liveth in me.” I had no hope until I had Christ.
“And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.” — This life that I possess and live in this mortality, in this mortal body, I live by the merit, virtue, and efficacy of the faith and faithfulness of the Son of God, my God-man Mediator, who lived in perfect obedience to God in my room and stead, and was faithful even unto death for me. O holy Savior, give me grace to live, day by day, looking to you alone for pardon, righteousness, peace, joy, comfort, every supply of grace in this world, and for eternal salvation in the world to come!
“The Son of God, who loved me.” — The Son of God loved me! He loved me, a sinner, lost and undone. He loved me eternally. He loved me freely. He loved me, knowing all the evil that I would become and all the evil I would do. I did not love him; but he loved me. I did not want his love; but he loved me. He loved me, knowing full well that he would get no love from me in return, except he create it in me by his grace. I am amazed that anyone could love me, and count the love of any toward me a thing of great value. But this is amazing and wonderful beyond imagination. — “The Son of God loved me!”
“The Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” — How do I know that he loved me? He “gave himself for me!” “Gave himself?” Yes, “himself.” He gave me his gifts. He gave me his grace. He gave me his salvation. Indeed, he has given me all things! But all cannot be compared to this. — He “gave himself for me!” I deserved his wrath, but he “gave himself for me!” I deserved hell, but he “gave himself for me!”
He gave his body and his soul, his perfect humanity in union with his eternal deity, into the hands of divine justice. He gave himself up unto death upon the cursed tree in my room and stead as a Sacrifice for sin that he might have me! He gave himself a ransom for many. He gave himself for his Church, to redeem it as his holy Bride. He gave himself for his elect, to satisfy divine justice for them and save them. Yet, he “loved me and gave himself for me,” to redeem me, to atone for my sin, to save me!
O my soul, look up! Be encouraged to hope, to believe, to hang upon the Son of God, “who loved me, and gave himself for me!” Oh, for faith to believe him! Oh, for grace to love him and give myself to him, “who loved me, and gave himself for me!” Precious Savior, blessed Author and Finisher of our faith, eternal Lover of my soul, grant me this mercy!