I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
1. Fifty years ago in Redemption Accomplished and Applied, John Murray explained that our salvation includes both what happened 2,000 years ago (historically) and also what happens today (existentially). There is both a 'then' and a 'now' to our salvation. Galatians 2:20 brings them both together. 'Christ gave himself for me' and 'the life I now life in the flesh I live by faith.'
2. As in Romans 6, just as Jesus died and was raised, those in union with Jesus have died and been raised. As Richard Gaffin put it: if the apostle Paul were to host a 21st century prophecy conference, and in the Q&A someone asked when the resurrection of the dead would take place, Paul would answer: it's already begun. Jesus is the firstfruits, the first installment, the initial ingathering of a great and inevitable harvest, and we have died and been raised in him. Not by sight, but by faith.
3. So personal! '. . . who loved me and gave himself for me.” Charles Wesley exulted in how intimately personal this text is. A disciple of Jesus doesn’t just say John 3:16 (God loved the world) but also Galatians 2:20 (God loved me).
4. Becoming a disciple of Jesus is dying. It is a ‘faith-death.’ It is casting ourselves on Christ and his work on our behalf, releasing all self-production, self-parading, self-performance, self-striving, self-accumulations, self-securities; abandoning the frantic, furious anxieties of both selfish disobedience and selfish obedience, for liberating surrender to Jesus. If you’re living with fears and bondage, there is one relevant question. Have you died? Later in Galatians Paul will say that 'those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh and its passions' (5:24). Not: those who belong to Christ have confessed, or struggled against, or wounded the flesh and its passions. They have crucified these passions. Crucified.
5. But it is a death-unto-life. '. . . the life I now live . . .' Faith-death leads to a faith-life. The only life worth living. The only life that is truly life.