Galatians 2:20 is a remarkable verse that reads as follows. “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.” The Apostle Paul packs a lot into that one verse and we could look at it from a number of different angles. With the Easter season only one month away, I want to focus on the relevance of this verse as we remember the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Paul was the greatest missionary in church history. Paul’s ministry corresponded to the early beginnings of the Christian Church and he was instrumental in laying the foundation that Church would build on for 20 centuries and beyond. While the Apostle Peter focused his ministry on the Jewish people, Paul geared his ministry toward a gentile audience and went wherever he could preaching the gospel message. His message was not complicated, but it was radical. It was a message of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was perfect in every way, but was crucified and then raised to life three days later. Everywhere he went Paul faced the possibility of death, imprisonment, or torture as he preached this message. Yes, many embraced the message, but a much greater number rejected the message and were hostile towards Paul.
One of Paul’s many letters was to a group of churches in Galatia, which is a region of modern day Turkey. Paul had preached the gospel in these churches and now was writing them to encourage them. In the 6 chapters of his letter to the Galatians, Paul gives a crystal clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s go back to 2:20. What is so remarkable about this verse is that Paul claims to not just preach a message of Christ-crucified, but he also claims to live that message. Every day, Paul died a death in that he crucified his sin nature. In place of his fleshly nature, Christ lived through him. How was this possible? By faith in the Son of God – that was the secret and source of his power. Paul didn’t become the greatest missionary in history simply because he was stronger or more intelligent or more savvy than anyone else. He was so successful because he died daily to his flesh and let Christ live through him. Let us aim for such a death.