Summary: this testimony of the apostle Paul in which he shares his own personal theology with the Galatian Christians who had become known for their backslidings. It is a beautiful miniature, shining forth as an unusual and sparkling gem, an entire commentary on
WILL YOU ALLOW GOD TO REPRODUCE CHRIST’S LIKENESS IN YOU?
by: A.W. Tozer
"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 him-
self for me. " Galatians 2:20
There seems to be a great throng of professing Christians in our churches today whose total and amazing testimony sounds about like this: "I am thankful for God’s plan in sending Christ to the cross to save me from hell."
I am convinced that it is a cheap, low-grade and misleading kind of Christianity that impels people to rise and state: "Because of sin I was deeply in
debt—and God sent His Son, who came and paid all my debts."
Of course believing Christian men and women are saved from the judgment of hell and it is a reality that Christ our Redeemer has paid the whole slate of debt and sin that was against us.
But what does God say about His purposes in allowing Jesus to go to the cross and to the grave? What does God say about the meaning of death and
resurrection for the Christian believer?
Surely we know the Bible well enough to be able to answer that: God’s highest purpose in the redemption of sinful humanity was based in His hope that
we would allow Him to reproduce the likeness of Jesus Christ in our once-sinful lives!
This is the reason why we should be concerned with this text—this testimony of the apostle Paul in which he shares his own personal theology with
the Galatian Christians who had become known for their backslidings. It is a beautiful miniature, shining forth as an unusual and sparkling gem, an entire
commentary on the deeper Christian life and experience. We are not trying to take it out of its context by dealing with it alone; we are simply acknowledging the fact that the context is too broad to be dealt with in any one message.
It is the King James version of the Bible which quotes Paul: "I am crucified with Christ." Nearly every other version quotes Paul as speaking in a different tense: "I have been crucified with Christ," and that really is the meaning of it: "I have been crucified with Christ."
This verse is quoted sometimes by people who have simply memorized it and they would not be able to tell you what Paul was really trying to communicate. This is not a portion of Scripture which can be skipped through lightly. You cannot skim through and pass over this verse as many seem to be able to do with the Lord’s prayer and the twenty-third Psalm.
This is a verse with such depth of meaning and spiritual potential for the Christian believer that we are obligated to seek its full meaning—so it can become practical and workable and liveable in all of our lives in this present world.
It is plain in this text that Paul was forthright and frank in the matter of his own personal involvement in seeking and finding God’s highest desires and provision for Christian experience and victory. He was not bashful about the implications of his own personality becoming involved with the claims of Jesus Christ.
Not only does he plainly testify, "I have been crucified," but within the immediate vicinity of these verses, he uses the words I, myself and me a total
of 14 times.
There certainly is, in the Bible, a good case for humility in the human personality, but it can be overdone.
We have had a dear missionary veteran among us from time to time. He is learned and cultured—and overly modest. With a great wealth of missionary
exploits and material to tell, he has always refused to use any first person reference to himself.
When asked to tell about something that happened in his pioneer missionary life, he said: "One remembers when one was in China and one saw..." That seems to be carrying the idea of modesty a bit too far, so I said to him, in a joking way, that if he had been writing the Twenty-third Psalm, it would likely read: "The Lord is one’s shepherd, one shall not want; he maketh one to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth one . . ."
I believe Paul knew that there is a legitimate time and place for the use of the word I. In spiritual matters, some people seem to want to maintain a kind of anonymity, if possible. As far as they are concerned, someone else should take the first step. This often comes up in the manner of our praying, as well. Some Christians are so general and vague and uninvolved in their requests that God Himself is unable to answer. I refer to the man who will bow his head and pray: "Lord, bless the missionaries and all for whom we should pray. Amen."