BROTHERS and SISTERS, knowing that a person is justified not by the works of the Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ, we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the Law, because no one will be justified by the works of the Law. But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I make myself a transgressor. For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave up Himself for me.
I would like focus on the last couple of sentences in the given excerpt. In it Saint Paul describes what Christian life is about. Is it all that there is to it? No, but it does reveal how we should approach our faith.
And so, "I have been crucified with Christ." Paul is not saying that he was literally crucified, but rather that he died with Christ and in Christ to this world. Paul is no longer of this world, while still remaining in it. He now identifies with the Man who was executed by crucifixion. This was such a humiliating and degrading execution that no one, absolutely not one person, would willingly identify with the person who was crucified.
Because Paul was crucified with Jesus, it is no longer he who lives, but Christ lives in him. Paul abandoned the empty striving of this life for pleasures and meanings because he found the only pleasure and the ultimate meaning of life - our Lord Jesus Christ. Since he was crucified with Christ, meaning he died with Him, he now lives with Him, in His life, or rather He lives in Paul's life.
And the life he now lives in the flesh, meaning this earthly life, he lives by faith of the Son of God. That's an important point here, Paul lives by the faith of the Son of God - Son's faith in His Father. And what kind of faith does the Son have? Unwavering. The Son became incarnate to do the will of the Father. And, it is through the Son that we know the Father, it is through Christ that we know God. We are unable to know God without knowing Christ. It can't happen. But through Jesus Christ is has happened.
The Son revealed His Father because He loves us, and He revealed Him by giving up Himself for us. It was a freely given sacrifice, it was His choice because that was the only way to show His deep love for us.
For previous reflections, click here.
Yours in the Lord,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest