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looked on as two aspects of the great work of redemption which has been worked out by
God alone in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2: 20 - 3: 9.
pp. 72 - 77
The Apostle Paul finishes his address to Peter publicly in the well-known words of
Gal. 2: 20, 21:
"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. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come
by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."
These words are really a concise summary of the teaching he later gives in the epistle
to the Romans, specially in chapters 6: and 7: Saul the zealous Pharisee, had to learn
the real place of the law of God as it affects mankind as sinners. What meant so much to
him in his pre-Christian life, he found to be useless in conquering the great problem of
sin. Once he could say that "touching the righteousness in the law he was blameless"
(Phil. 3: 6). That is to say, as far as external observance of the law was concerned, he
was correct in all details. What he had never realized to this point was that the law
touches the mind first of all. He said:
". . . . . I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had
said, Thou shalt not covet" (Rom. 7: 7).
Now lust originates in the mind, and the law of God shows this up remorselessly, but
gives no power to conquer or eradicate it. The result for Paul was
"For sin, taking occasion by the commandment (the law) deceived me, and by it slew
me" (Rom. 7: 11).
This painful experience proved to be the death knell to all the Apostle's hopes for
complete personal righteousness by his own efforts. The next move, if there was to be
one, must come from God. And it did, by the same means, namely death followed by
resurrection life, for the Lord unfolded to Paul the great truth of identification with
Christ, in His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection (Rom. 6: 1-11), and it is
noteworthy that this doctrine is only found in Paul's writings.
When we understand this, we are able to plumb the depths of Gal. 2: 20. "I have
been crucified with Christ" declares the Apostle. The verb is in the perfect tense in the
Greek, expressing past action issuing in abiding results. Nevertheless he is abundantly
alive, for the power and life of the risen Christ now indwells him and takes complete
control from this moment onwards.