In many of the nations of the world, we find capital punishment being exercised for many differing offenses. Some nations practice capital punishment against only the most heinous of crimes, for others, executions take place for many varying offenses like smuggling, unlawful possession of firearms or drugs, armed robbery etc. For a more complete list of capital offenses in the various countries of the world click on this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_capital_punishment_by_nation
The methods of capital punishment also vary among the nations as well. These methods include: Lethal injection, electric chair, gas chamber, single person shooting, firing squad, hanging, beheading, guillotine, stoning and use of the garrote.
In Bible times, crucifixion was one of the most common methods of capital punishment used in theRoman Empire. Crucifixion is no longer used officially by any government for the purpose of capital punishment. However, symbolic and ritualistic crucifixions continue to take place in many countries throughout the world.
The Biblical teachings on capital punishment and physical crucifixions will have to wait for another time and place, for today’s blog entry I would like us to concentrate on the meaning of “being crucified with Christ”.
Gal 2:20 (KJV)
20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ 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.
Gal 5:24 (KJV)
24) And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Gal 6:14 (KJV)
14) But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Rom 6:6 (KJV)
6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered a horrible crucifixion at the hands of the Roman government and Jewish religious leaders. In a sense, we are all guilty of placing Christ on the cross; we are guilty of committing the sins for which He was crucified:
1Cor 15:3-4 (KJV)
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:…
It was because of our sins that He would have to die on the cross, taking the punishment of our sins upon Himself so that we might be saved:
Gal 3:13 (KJV)
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:
1Pet 3:18 (KJV)
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
But the results of Christ’s crucifixion do not end on the cross. We are told throughout the New Testament scriptures that we, as Christians, share in the experience of the crucifixion. Let’s begin our study by looking at Gal 2:20 (KJV):
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ 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.
The term “crucified” relates to us the idea death and its results. When Christ was crucified, His physical life was laid aside (death). The results of His death was that His body was left in the tomb, while His spirit entered heaven for three days and three nights; this entailed separation, ie separation of His spirit from His body, and also the separation of both His body and spirit from this world).
In the above verse, we find that Christians are described as being “crucified with Christ”. In other words, just as Christ was literally put to death and then experienced separation, so to we, as Christians, are put to death and separated in three ways:
1. We no longer live to fulfill our sinful, fleshly desires. Although we still commit sin, but we no longer are enslaved by our fleshly desires. A separation has been formed between us and our desires We now strive to obey our Lord in everything that we do fighting against our desires and striving to live lives of holiness. Gal 5:24 (KJV) And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
2. We are no longer alive to the affects of the sinful world around us. Many are the temptations and sins that are placed before us in this sinful world. Not only do we no longer serve our fleshly desires, we no longer serve the sinful world around us. We are no longer “alive” to these temptations, but we now are counted as dead, separated from them. Gal 6:14 (KJV) But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
3. Our “old man” is also put to death through the workings of Christ on the cross. Our “old man” is a phrase used to describe our old sin nature and the resulting sinful lifestyle. Our past habits and practices have been changed. We were slaves to our sinful lifestyle but now have become the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is also described in God’s Word as becoming a “new creature in Christ” (2 Cor 5:17). Rom 6:6 (KJV) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
In our Gal 2:20 text, the verse continues on…. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:…”
Here the phrase “nevertheless I live…” is teaching us that just as the death of Christ on the cross resulted in His resurrection and new physical life on earth; so too, our sharing in His crucifixion results in our new life in Him. Although we are counted as dead to our sinful desires, the sinful world and our “old man” ; we are made spiritually alive. This spiritual life is accompanied by the indwelling of the Savior, in the person of the Holy Spirit.
Our text closes by stating… “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.”
This newly received spiritual life, and the accompanying change in lifestyle, is based upon faith in Christ. How does a person share in the crucifixion of Christ? Through faith. How does a Christian live a new life of submission to Christ? Through faith. This same Christ in whom we trust, is the same Christ that loved us before the world began. Based upon His love, He came to the earth and died on the cross so that we might be saved.
If you see that your sin has caused the Lord grief and pain; if you abhor the sin that is in your life and you are willing to turn from that sin; come to Christ in faith, trusting in Him to forgive your every sin, and make your future with Him secure.
Matt 11:28-30 (KJV)
Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
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.
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