“I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live; and yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20 RV).
Through the identification of Jesus Christ with sin we can be brought back again into perfect harmony with God; but God does not take away our responsibility; He puts upon us a new responsibility. We are made sons and daughters of God through the Atonement and we have a tremendous dignity to maintain; we have no business to bow our necks to any yoke saving the yoke of the Lord Jesus Christ. There ought to be in us a holy scorn whenever it comes to being dictated to by the spirit of the age in which we live. The age in which we live is governed by the prince of this world who hates Jesus Christ. His great doctrine is self-realization, We ought to be free from the dominion of the prince of this world; only one yoke should be upon our shoulders, the yoke of the Lord Jesus. Our Lord was meek towards His Father, He let God Almighty do what He liked with His life and never murmured; He never awakened self-pity, nor brought down sympathy for Himself. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).
Galatians 2:20 is the Scriptural expression of identification with Jesus Christ in such a way that the whole life is changed. The destiny was getting wonderfully like the destiny of Satan, viz. self-realization; now, Paul says, it is no longer the destiny of self-realization for me, but the destiny of Christ-realization, (“and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, . . .”) that is, the very faith which governed Jesus Christ now governs him. Paul is not talking of elementary faith in Jesus, of the faith which is in the Son of God, the very faith that was in Jesus is in me, he says. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” There is only one kind of holiness, and that is the holiness of the Lord Jesus. There is only one kind of human nature, and that is the human nature of us all, and Jesus Christ by means of His identification with our human nature can give us the disposition that He had. We have to see to it that we habitually work out that disposition through our eyes and ears and tongue, through all the organs of our body and in every detail of our life. The apostle Paul has been identified with the death of Jesus Christ, his whole life has been invaded by a new spirit, he has been “by one Spirit . . . baptized into one body,” and now he has no longer any connection with the body of sin, that mystical body which ultimately ends with the devil. We are made part of the mystical Body of Christ by sanctification.
We have used the term “invasion” because it gives the idea better than any other. The illustration our Lord uses of the vine and the branches in John 15 is the most satisfactory one, because it indicates that every bit of the life in the branch which bears fruit is the result of an invasion from the parent stem: “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” Our life is drawn from the Lord Jesus, not only the spring and the motive of the life, but our actual thinking and living and doing. This is what Paul means when he talks about the new man in Christ Jesus. After sanctification that is where the life is drawn from. “All my springs are in Thee”[ Psalm 87:7].
Notice how God will wither up every other spring you have. He will wither up your natural virtues, He will break up confidence in your natural powers, He will wither up your confidence in brain and spirit and body, until you learn by practical experience that you have no right to draw your life from any source other than the tremendous reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. Thank God if you are going through a drying-up experience!
New Man, New Potential
Our Lord never patches up our natural virtues, He replaces the whole man from within, until the new man is shown in the new manners. God does not give new manners; we make our own, but we have to make them out of the new life (Ephesians 4:22-32). Every detail of our physical life is to be absolutely under the control of the new disposition which God planted in us by means of identification with Jesus Christ, and we shall no longer be allowed to murmur “can’t.” There is no such a word as “can’t” in a Christian’s vocabulary if he is rightly related to God; there is only one word and that is “I can.” “I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want [RV]. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13).
Oswald Chambers, Biblical Psychology. An excerpt from chapter 4 in The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers (Discovery House Publications). Subheadings added