Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”
Our Bible verse for today: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Christ lives in you and through you.”
The language Paul uses in Galatians 2:20 is more than just symbolic, it is literally true. It is also profoundly important. When he writes, “I have been crucified with Christ”, it is literally true. On the cross Jesus was crucified for your sins and mine. It was your sin being nailed to that cross. In that sense, it was you being crucified. Likewise when he writes, “and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me …” that is also literally true. By His Spirit in your heart, Christ lives in you (1 Corinthians 6:19).
The name “Christian” means “like Christ”. When you take the name of Christian for yourself you are claiming to be like Christ. However, becoming more and more like Christ is a transformation that occurs over time. At the time of our conversion we received the “life” of Jesus in us, but the “likeness” wasn’t there yet.
Instead, at that time, sin was still very much present in our lives. The sins were forgiven, but the residual effects were still there, as were the habits caused by sin. At that time sin still had power over you – strong power. In most cases breaking free from the bonds of those sinful habits occurs progressively over time as we train ourselves to behave differently.
The second stage of the salvation process (sanctification) is the time during which we move further and further away from who we were, and closer and closer to who God wants us to be (like Christ). This requires daily surrender to Jesus. It is an intentional decision on your part to submit to Jesus and to allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in you. This is what Paul meant when he wrote, “The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” It’s all about faith in Jesus and continuous surrender to Him as you subordinate your will for His, and allow Him to live His life through you.
Tomorrow we will consider what this surrender looks like in actual practice, and what the benefits are in this lifetime.