"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith" (Gal. 2:20, ASV ). "I live," because, of course, the person--the individual--remains still the same. It is not Platonic mysticism, no pantheistic absorption into "the ocean of being."
Men we are, and are ever to be; whatever change we pass through in new birth as to spirit and soul, whatever change awaits the body at the time when the Lord shall call us to be with Himself, we shall never lose our essential identity with what God created us to be at first. We are the same persons all through--the same individuals. The fall did not unmake us as men; our new birth does not unmake us on the other side. We never lose our essential manhood; our individuality is never changed.
But it is "no longer I" because of the blessed fact of my death unto sin in the Lord Jesus on the Cross, and because of His risen and ascended life for me in heaven which I by faith have laid hold of. I have come into the infinite blessedness of my Father's thoughts and actions concerning me. Him whom God has accepted for me and as me I have learnt to accept in the same way for and as myself. As the life which He has given me is His own very life, and has in Him its source and spring, a "life hid with Christ in God," so "in me Christ lives" down here. I have by faith realized identification with Him, as His--part of Himself: "for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones" (Eph. 5:30). His peace, His joy, are mine; His life and Spirit are mine; His pursuits objects, interests, are mine; the love of His Father is mine; His present rejection and future glory are mine also. And all this in the power of a love wherewith he has, at His own personal cost, set me completely free from all that I but now had title to, or which had title to me.
I have now rest for my heart. I am no more at the impracticable work of trying to be what I am not; I am all I desire to be. Only, sense and experience do not present to me my true self at all. My life is in Christ Jesus. I am in Him; and this only faith recognizes, which recognizes also the Cross of the Lord Jesus as that wherein my old man was judged and set in death for God. My "old man was crucified with Christ"; the "new man" is the man in Christ alone.
Here the perpetual sunshine settles down upon my soul. God is for me--with me--and must ever be. No cloud is there of His putting; no hiding ever of the Father's face. I may turn away--true, I may forget, but I have only to turn to Him again, to find undimmed His glorious face shining upon me in His own Beloved, and in His presence I am welcome and at home.
The Spirit who has come to take of the things of Christ and show them to my soul comes not to fill me with my own righteousness, or gladden me with my own beauty, or set up another object before me outside of the Lord Jesus whom I love and before whom I stand in glory. The Lord Jesus, and He alone, is faith's Object; for it knows no other. Ought I to have faith in myself? Ought I to have an object there? The Cross of Christ, then, is the death of the old man; His grave its burial, that, burying my dead out of my sight, I may be free to be occupied with Him who is not dead, but living, and in Whom I live.
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