After teaching the truth of their death, burial and resurrection with Christ I am often asked by people why they never heard this truth before. And for some, the answer is they have, it just has never received the proper attention and explanation that it deserves.
And this can be the product of not fully understanding the cross, specifically our union with Christ on it, since we have trouble taking an abstract thought like our death with Christ and relating it into our everyday life.
Here is how John Piper explains the cross from an article he wrote entitled, "Boasting Only in the Cross".
"Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." When Christ died, we died. The glorious meaning of the death of Christ is that when he died, all his own died in him. That death, that he died for us all, becomes our death when we are united to Christ by faith.
"But you say, "Aren't I alive? I feel alive." Well, here is a need for education. We must learn what happened to us. We must be taught these things. That is why Galatians 2:20 and 6:14 are in the Bible. God is teaching us what happened to us, so that we can know ourselves and know his way of working with us and exult in him and in his Son and in the cross as we ought.
"So we read Galatians 2:20 again to see that, Yes, we are dead and yes, we are alive. "I have been crucified with Christ [so I am dead, and he goes on]; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me [why? Because I died, that is, my old rebellious, unbelieving self died, and he goes on]; and the life which I now live in the flesh [so, Yes, I am alive, but it isn't the same "I" as the "I" who died] I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." In other words the "I" who lives is the new "I" of faith. The new creation lives. The believer lives. The old self died on the cross with Jesus.
"And if you ask, "What's the key for linking up with this reality? How can this be mine? The answer is implied in the words about faith in Galatians 2:20. "The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God." That is the link. God links you to his Son by faith. And when he does there is a union with the Son of God so that his death becomes your death and his life becomes your life.
Too often we make the mistake of waiting for our experience to validate the truth. That is, we wait until we feel dead and feel Christ living in us and then believe it to be so.
But it is the other way around. First we are to believe, by faith, in Father's Word, that God has united us with Jesus on the cross. And in trusting that this is true, step out into our world expecting Jesus to live His life in us. The experience will follow the faith.
That doesn't mean we will necessarily see some fantastic miracle or have some other out of this world experience. Instead, we get to experience Jesus Himself. His power and His strength in that moment.
And that is the point, to live life with Jesus today. For only here do we experience freedom and rest, others are blessed and, most importantly, God is glorified.
In Christ who is our Life,