So let us turn now to these Scriptures and trace each aspect of this wonderful mystery.
Crucified With Christ
- We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (Rom. 6:6)
- I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. (Gal. 2:20a)
- Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal. 5:24)
- But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal. 6:14)
As I taught on this wonderful fact many years ago, I noticed a brother was taking notes. Afterwards he showed me what he had written down. He wrote, “The flesh has to die; I must crucify my flesh.” But that is not what the Scripture says, and that is not what I taught. Scripture says that those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified (past tense) the flesh with its passions and desires. No one can commit suicide by crucifixion. Someone else must nail us to the Cross. The flesh cannot crucify itself. Jesus has already done what we could not do. The sooner we stop trying to crucify ourselves, the sooner we can boast in the finished work of the Cross and actually witness the evidence of it in our lives.
Notice that Paul does not merely say that Jesus was crucified for us. That is certainly true in and of itself. But there is more. Not only was Jesus crucified for us, He was crucified as us. God considers us to have been crucified as surely as if we were there receiving the nails in our hands and feet. We have been crucified together with Him because God placed us in Him the moment He was crucified.
Died With Christ
- Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Rom. 6:3)
- Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Rom. 6:8a)
- So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 6:11)
- Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ. (Rom. 7:4a)
- We have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died. (2. Cor. 5:14)
- If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations? (Col. 2:20)
- For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3)
Why does the Bible say that we died with Christ? Because we were crucified with Him. When He was crucified, we were crucified. And no one survives a crucifixion. Therefore, when Christ died, we died together with Him.
Buried With Christ
- We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death. (Rom. 6:4a)
- Having been buried with him in baptism. (Col. 2:12a)
We do not bury someone unless we are absolutely sure that they are dead. Ordinarily that would be the end of the story: a life, a death, and a burial. But we have been joined to One Who has overcome death. This is the whole purpose of the Cross. If we remain in union with Him through crucifixion, death and burial, then we will certainly remain in union with Him through all that follows after. So we have also been…
Resurrected With Christ
- For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Rom. 6:5)
- Even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ. (Eph. 2:5a)
- And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses. (Col. 2:13)
If we share in His death then we will share in His life. How could it be otherwise? What is true of the Vine is true of the Branches that are part of the Vine. It would be impossible for the Vine to be raised while the Branches that are part of the Vine to remain buried. So long as the Vine and the Branches are one, they share in both the suffering and in the glory that is revealed afterwards.
In the same way, when God made us one spirit together with Christ on the Cross, His intention was for us to experience both the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. So Paul says that if we suffer with Him, then we will reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12). Again, we see the purpose of the Cross. If we refuse to join Him in suffering then we cannot hope to join Him in ruling. If we refuse the Crucified Death then we cannot have the Resurrected Life.
But there is yet more. When Jesus was raised from the dead, He did not continue to live on the earth as He had previously. He ascended to Heaven. So let us ask: if we have been crucified, dead, buried, and resurrected with Christ, have we also ascended and been seated together with Him? Or should we see this merely as a future event? Certainly there is a future fulfillment we look forward to, but the basis of that future fulfillment has its roots in a present reality: that because of the Cross, we are already…
Ascended and Seated With Christ
- [God] raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:6)
- The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Rev. 3:21)
There is no higher place in the universe than to be seated in the heavenlies at the right hand of God. Who or what can touch you there? Jesus is Lord of all, preeminent over all, and seated in His throne. And now – glorious truth! – we who are in Him have been raised, ascended, and seated together with Him.
Note the past tense of Ephesians 2:6 and the present tense of Revelation 3:21. This is not something for us to enjoy at some point in the distant future; it is something God has already done for us together with Christ when He raised Him up from the dead, raised Him up from the earth and seated Him at His own right hand. Spiritually speaking, that is our position as well: ascended, above the earth, triumphant over all enemies!
How is this possible? Trace it as far back as you can, beginning with where you are “now.” You are seated together with Christ because you ascended together with Christ. You ascended together with Christ because you were resurrected and made alive together with Christ. You were resurrected and made alive together with Christ because you were buried together with Christ. You were buried together with Christ because you died together with Christ. You died together with Christ because you were crucified together with Christ.
This brings us back to Galatians 2:20, for that is where it all began: “I was crucified with Christ.” Back to the Cross! For the Cross is where the two became one. The Cross is where God places us in Christ so that we are joined to Him and become one spirit. The Cross is the means by which we enter into this enduring, living union with Christ.
Do you see, dear friend, that victory, conquering, ruling, reigning, and overcoming is only possible through the Cross? Because of the Cross we have been made one with Him Who overcame all things. His victory is our victory. But we cannot experience the Victory of that Life if we do not embrace the seeming defeat of that Cross.