I was going to write something on Paul's teaching in Galatians on what it means to be "crucified with Christ". This morning, I'm meditating on the four passages where he uses the word "crucified". Of course, without using the word in other places, he still expounds the meaning of the Lord's death in the life of believers. This is what the letter to the Galatians is about, the gospel. I was going to write on these things. And I will, but not just now.
As I was thinking about being crucified "with Christ", thoughts of my family came to me. Perhaps the meditation on Christ's love in giving himself for me has awakened the much-needed spirit of gratitude I have for the love I've been given. Love like my family's comes from their own experience with the cross of Christ, a cross I've brought into their lives as they have had to bear with my sin over many years. Despite the wretched example I've been as a father, the depressed and self-centred husband to three wives, the neglectful son of my parents, the disrespectful sibling of my brother and sisters, along with my drug addictions and poverty, they have shown me love, patience, tenderness, forgiveness and a forgetfulness of my selfishness that I've never deserved and can never repay. This is evidence to me of what God does through our Lord in re-creating his image "in the flesh" of those crucified with him. (Thank you for that thought, William). The new life of the Spirit has borne fruit in their lives, making them his nurturing, healing agents of the Spirit in the world. How fortunate I am!
My good fortune is also a two-edged sword, "piercing asunder" soul and spirit, as their love for me awakens a greater need of faithfulness in loving them and others. The "love of Christ compels" me to rest on the cross with him, letting the Spirit slay the flesh, with its proud, self-defined works. Their love strengthens me with a deeper spiritual conviction of God's presence in the world, seeing his power "perfected in weakness". I'm encouraged to see the dead in sin raised to new life, those crippled with lust given fresh legs, and our blind eyes opened to the light. We still "groan" with the rest of creation for the full redemption of our bodies, when "the mortal will put on immortality", when we will be "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of the eye"; "We shall be like for we shall see him as he is". But until then we are more than satisfied by his presence in our hearts through the indwelling of his Spirit. We are "children of promise", awaiting the family inheritance of all who have been crucified with Christ and risen again.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ~Ephesians 3.20-21