â€œAnd they that are Christâ€™s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.â€ (Galatians 5:24)
Death by crucifixion was surely one of the cruelest and most painful forms of execution ever devised. Yet the Lord Jesus â€œfor the joy that was set before him endured the crossâ€ (Hebrews 12:2); He â€œhath 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 Spiritâ€ (1 Peter 3:18).
But just as He sacrificed Himself for us, we are now privileged to offer our â€œbodies a living sacrificeâ€ to Him (Romans 12:1). This spiritual sacrifice is actually compared to crucifixion. â€œOur old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sinâ€ (Romans 6:6).
Crucifixion is not an instantaneous death but a very slow and painful death. Just so, the death of a Christian believer to sin does not take place in a moment of special blessing, butâ€”as in physical crucifixionâ€”is painful and slow. Nevertheless, it is basic in the truly effective Christian life.
In the book of Galatians, we are told three times by the apostle Paul that the Christian believer should be following Christ in His crucifixionâ€”in crucifixion to self, to the flesh, and to the world. First we are to be crucified to the love of self. â€œI 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 meâ€ (Galatians 2:20). Secondly, we are to be crucified to the flesh, for â€œthey that are Christâ€™s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lustsâ€ (todayâ€™s text).
Finally, we should be crucified to the lure of this world. â€œGod 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 worldâ€ (Galatians 6:14). HMM