I am crucified with the Messiah: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but the Messiah 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” (Galatians 2:20).
This is my new favorite text! 🙂 This is the very heart of the Third Angel’s Message. And I also just found out that A.T. Jones also has a book on Galatians which is in print. I’m going to share with you a couple of excerpts regarding this text in that book. I also want to share with you some thoughts that I’ve gleaned from studying this.
The cross of the Messiah is not merely a past event (2000 years ago) in one place (in Judea). It encompasses Eden lost (through the first Adam) to Eden restored (through the Second Adam) in time. It also encompasses this whole fallen earth from pole to pole. That is why Paul could say to the Galatians that the Messiah is “crucified among” them, just as he preached to the Colossians, Ephesians, and to the people everywhere else he preached.
“Our old man ***is crucified*** with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:6).
“Is” is present tense; “crucified” is past tense. Why is this? Is the present reality of the cross just a figure of speech? No, friends, it is not. Firstly, the Messiah crucified is “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). It is universal. It is for all. It is a FACT that the Messiah became we–yes, you and me–with our very sinful nature in His flesh, nevertheless He lived. Why? Because He was dead unto sin. He lived a sinless life in a sinful flesh–and this is the faith of Jesus, and the measure of this faith has been given as a gift to all mankind. It is already ours! Why? Because the Messiah is we–you and me! His life is ours! We are crucified with Him! And we are risen again with Him! These are the glad tidings! 🙂 Rejoice therein! 😀
So it is a legal reality, a legal FACT, that Messiah became we. He died in our flesh, yet lives. This reality is a present reality, not a past reality, because we are all in the sinful flesh; and we see signs of death in all of creation due to sin. But at Calvary, the Messiah transcended both time and place and took upon Himself all the sins of the world, bearing them all at once. How could He do this? Because He has an infinite mind. He laid it aside to overcome sin, as one of us, but as one of God, He used it to bear all of our sins to fulfill the death which was ours. For the Torah to be satisfied for our sins, there had to be death, and not just any death, but the eternal death, from which there is no hope of a resurrection.
The Messiah did not have this hope while He bore our sins. Try to imagine the best you can, that each and every sin that you ever committed He personally felt and bore the shame and guilt of. Them multiply that by billions! Also do not forget that the relation that He has to each one of us is such that He only sees you, He only sees me, as if there is not another soul on earth. I cannot explain it in words, but somehow He can compartmentalize His infinite mind and have a personal one-on-one relationship with us; and this He had with all of our sins. He felt that our sins were to great for Him to ever see the Father again. But He “loved me, and gave Himself for me” (and you claim this too), so He endured this death.
The past tense of “crucified” shows that it did take place, and to our perspective living after the cross, it took place in the past, now nearly 2000 years ago. But the Messiah IS (present tense) crucified among us! Messiah, while on the cross, lived beyond time. He was living today, bearing our sins of today, in our sinful flesh–yes, His sinful flesh in His own physical body, but also all of our sinful flesh. He was not just that Man on the tree. He was infinite. He was in you and me–no, not metaphysically as pantheists believe, but in His infinite mind. He saw you. He knew you. He knew your sins, yes our recent sins of today. He can be present in all of creation because He can see and act in His creation by His Spirit, which is totally beyond our comprehension. But because He is one of God, He is a Spirit, for “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). He is not just the flesh and blood, for He is of the very nature of God.
Therefore, the Messiah IS crucified among us–yes, in you and me. Our sins were not merely cast upon Him so that His crucifixion is separate from us in place and time. No, He was in us–in our flesh in His physical body, and in our flesh, beholding and bearing our sins of today wherever we are at on earth.
And thus is the mystery of death and life. In all of creation we see death, nevertheless life. The death is due to the sin of the first Adam. All nature bears it and testifies to the sin of Adam. The “nevertheless life” (“nevertheless I live”) is the resurrected life of the Messiah, for He is “the life” (John 1:4; 11:25; 14:6; 1 John 1:2) of all that live–not us humans, but all life. All life comes from the FACT that the Messiah bore the eternal death resulting from sin, and resurrected on the third day (First-fruits, which is today on the calendar). He bore the death but became the life of all creatures on the third day, for He defeated death? How? By faith, His own merited faith of which He totally depended on God and His promises. He believed God’s Word as FACT, and so it was FACT.
“All things are God’s, not only by creation, but by redemption. All the blessings of this life and of the life to come are delivered to us stamped with the cross of Calvary” (Christ’s Object Lessons, 362).
“Our Lord has said, ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. . . . For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.’ John 6:53-55. This is true of our physical nature. To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf” (Desire of Ages, 660).
“***A mysterious life*** pervades all nature–a life that sustains the unnumbered worlds throughout immensity, that lives in the insect atom which floats in the summer breeze, that wings the flight of the swallow and feeds the young ravens which cry, that brings the bud to blossom and the flower to fruit. The same power that upholds nature, is working also in man. The same great laws that guide alike the star and the atom control human life. The laws that govern the heart’s action, regulating the flow of the current of life to the body, are the laws of ***the mighty Intelligence*** that has the jurisdiction of the soul. From Him all life proceeds. Only in harmony with Him can be found its true sphere of action. For all the objects of His creation the condition is the same–a life sustained by receiving ***the life of God***, a life exercised in harmony with the Creator’s will. To transgress His law, physical, mental, or moral, is to place one’s self out of harmony with the universe, to introduce discord, anarchy, ruin” (Education, 99).
“With God ‘is the fountain of life.’ Psalm 36:9. Not only is He the originator of all, but ***HE IS THE LIFE OF EVERYTHING THAT LIVES***. It is His life that we receive in the sunshine, in the pure, sweet air, in the food which builds up our bodies and sustains our strength. It is by His life that we exist, hour by hour, moment by moment. Except as perverted by sin, all His gifts tend to life, to health and joy” (Education, 197).
The life of our Saviour only comes to us all because He first bore our sins. The Messiah crucified is stamped on every living thing and upon everything that communicates His life (food and drink). Of course this is a metaphor of speech, but the life of the cross is very real, though unseen. The FACT of this life can only be seen through the eyes of faith, even the faith of Jesus which has produced this life. Not a creature on earth would have any right to live, whether 5000 years ago or today, if it weren’t for the Fountain of Life whose streams flow from the wounds of Calvary! And His life is already ours, but it only became ours through an infinite sacrifice.
First of all, the Messiah emptied Himself–of the form of God–to become one of us. He will never have this form again, though the glories of this form and more returned to Him at His ascension. But He will always exist in the form of humanity, and He became this form so that He could live our life and die our death. But there is another form, or nature, that He eternally died from as well. And this is something I haven’t seen before. Our Saviour eternally died in the fallen human nature. This form, or nature, will never be resurrected again. Yea, He bore the sins of the world in a sinful flesh that He assumed after He had already eternally died to the form of God; and that fallen nature called ‘the old man of sin’ will never be resurrected again. And that, my friends, is our very hope.,
Listen to these very precious words…
And I want you to remember that He is we (we are in Him)
and that the cross of Calvary is a very present reality…
“Our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with the Messiah, we believe that we shall also live with Him: Knowing that the Messiah being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be ***dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus the Messiah our Lord***” (Romans 6:6-11).
Are you capturing the gladness of the tidings of hope? 🙂 The Messiah lost all hope of being resurrected to be with the Father. Why? Because all that was in His mind was the sins of the world that He was bearing. Sinful, human flesh is all that He was. Nay, even worse: “I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people” (Psalm 22:6). He felt (tasted/experienced, Heb. 2:9) the very death that the lost sinner must feel. His infinite mind pierced through every sin ever committed. But this utter hopelessness became the very hope of eternal life for all! And what is the hope? It is that death was defeated when He spoke the victorious words, “It is finished.” “Father, into thy hands I commend My spirit” (John 19:30; Luke 23:46).
What was finished? The Messiah living our sinless life in our sinful flesh and thus defeating the sin and its “sting of death” (1 Cor. 15:56)! And this is the everlasting hope of the gospel! The Messiah, who became sin and death itself, defeated sin and death itself! How? By His faith. And that is hope for us because His faith is our faith, for He became we!
Therefore, we are–present tense–crucified with the Messiah. It is already FACT! It is present FACT because He is we on the tree. This FACT of the cross, and all of its power, transcends time. We are already crucified with the Messiah whether we believe it or not. Every breath we breath comes from this FACT. All nature testifies of this FACT because there are signs of death, nevertheless there is life because He is our life. If there was no cross, there would be no life, no existence after sin. This legal reality of the Messiah taking death and giving life is more than just an economical transaction–it is life itself. How this can be–how the Messiah bore all of our sins in His infinite, suffering mind and can transcend time–we are not expected to comprehend, but to simply believe.
Why have I been emphasizing the word FACT, that this is all a fact? It is because we need certainty. I don’t think most of us have had this certainty. That is why we continue to sin but not wanting to in the long term. I don’t think we have fully embraced the power of the gospel FACT that we are crucified with the Messiah. But faith–the faith of Jesus–makes this legal reality a *living* reality. But when we live by the faith of the Son of God, all legalities become living realities. The Torah is seen as precious promises already fulfilled in the life of Jesus, and His life is seen to be our life.
When we have these eyes to see this FACT as it really is, then we are experimentally (not just legally) crucified with the Messiah. As we saw in Romans 6, we are “dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus”. This becomes our living experience. When sin comes and tempts us, it has nothing in us, for we are dead to our sinful flesh that tempts us (all temptations must go through our flesh). And this very flesh Messiah bore on the tree, yet sinless was He; yea, sinless was me! The faith of Jesus becomes a living reality in me. No longer is faith a dead theory, for this true faith of Jesus, is based on certainty, not on theory.
And the certainty, the FACT, is that “I am crucified with the Messiah: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but the Messiah 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.” I am “dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus the Messiah our Lord.” Why? Because I know that He is me on the tree. And I know “that the Messiah being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him.” He is my life because He died my death, yet sinless was He, and when He spoke the words “It is finished”; “Father, into thy hands I commend My spirit”; He was full of faith that on the third day He would be resurrected by the very power of His sinless life in our sinful flesh. And this power is ours to raise us up unto eternal life with Him if we believe that He is we–our life, our death, our hope, our resurrection!
It is already FACT friends, just believe it! Believe that your eternal life is already secured in Him and that you are crucified with Him–“dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus the Messiah our Lord.” His FAITH in you will make this legal FACT a *living* reality.
Excerpts of A.T. Jones on Galatians:
Rejoice in these glad tidings! 🙂
May God bless you dear one; you are already intimately His beloved.