Sunday, September 25, 2022

Galatians Words ~ Word 13: Crucified


Galatians Words ~ Word 13: Crucified

Who do you belong to? Paul says that the answer to this question will determine both your focus and your actions.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.Galatians 5:24

If you are a follower of Christ, then you belong to Him. You are His. Your life is His. Look at how Paul has expressed this in some of his other letters:

“Jesus Christ, gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:14

We are people who are “his very own”. Another translation says we are people who are His “treasured possession”. Plus, Paul says, being His people means He has purified us, made us holy. We are holy people who belong to Christ.

Paul again describes the people of God in 1 Peter 2:9, as God’s holy and treasured people.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

So, though we are no longer slaves to sin and to the law and are now children of God whom Christ has set free, our freedom includes belonging to God as His holy people. And with that identity comes responsibility. We now live as God’s people by God’s standards with the gift of God’s Spirit within us, leading us and enabling us and producing in us the character traits that show we belong to Christ.

We have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) and we now live for God. Our life with God also includes the responsibility of crucifying the sinful nature within us. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature..." (5:24). We have seen already that there is a conflict within as we follow Christ. Our sinful nature rebels and wars against the Spirit in us, as our “sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:17). And so, Paul goes on in 5:17 to say that they are in conflict with each other. Because of this conflict within us, Paul says that we, in coming to Christ by faith, have crucified the sinful nature. It has been crucified in us – put to death. But it is also an action we must continually renew our commitment to, saying no to the desires of the sinful nature. Jesus himself called us to this commitment to putting our sinful nature to death:

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

To crucify our sinful nature is a daily habit of denying our sinful desires and nailing them to the cross. We daily die to our old self with its selfish desires. We say ‘no’ to them and ‘yes’ to the Spirit. How? We say ‘yes’ to the Spirit’s desires by walking by Him (5:16), being led by Him (5:18), living by Him (5:25), and keeping in step with Him (5:25). As God’s holy people we live a Spirit-filled life. We connect with the cross of Christ where Jesus gave up His freedom and rights for our sake, and we crucify ourselves from the ways of the sinful nature and the ways of the world.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

We put to death, daily, our old self, our selfish nature and worldly ways, and live for Christ. The action of Christ on the cross is our model. While the world boasts of the things that the world views as important – wealth, national identity, status, power, fame. We, who belong to Christ, boast, along with Paul, in the cross – our symbol that points us to what is important to Christ – love, sacrifice, and service to others.

To whom do you belong?


Walking through a verse or passage, asking investigative questions, will often help me see the answers that lead me to understanding it. Putting it on paper will help me visualize it and meditate on it.

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