Identification with Christ

How Long Does It Take for My Fleshly Passions to Die


I’m often asked, “If I’m a Christian, why do I keep sinning?” If you’ve asked similar questions, I understand. We want to be holy. We want our lives to count for Christ and be vessels through whom His Spirit flows. Galatians 5:24 is a “go to” verse in regard to our flesh. “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.” If you’re scratching your head and silently objecting that the very problem is that your flesh isn’t dead, consider the following. 1. We can’t crucify our flesh. Our flesh would never climb on a cross and nail itself to the wood. Our spirit might be willing, but our sin nature wouldn’t. Our flesh being crucified must be understood in the context of Paul’s words, “those who belong to Christ.” Our fleshly crucifixion took place on Christ’s crucifixion. It is what is called the doctrine of identification. When we place our faith in Christ, we are identified with Him in His death. But what about our daily lives, our daily walk? What about our “passions and desires” being crucified to which Galatians 5:24 refer? If we were to stand at the foot of a cross where someone has been crucified, we would note the following. First, the past tense. The person was crucified. The nails in the person holding the person to the cross – done. They have been crucified. Second, the present tense. They are crucified but still breathing – struggling more at times, but still alive. Third. They are crucified and no longer alive. We follow suit in the analogy of Galatians 5:24. We have the past tense experience of being crucified with Christ in that we identify with Him in His substitutionary crucifixion for our sins. We have the present tense experience. We have been crucified with Christ but are still breathing, alive. Third, we will one day no longer be breathing on earth and will be resurrected to new life with Christ. We struggle with our flesh because although we have been crucified with Christ (past tense), our fleshly passions and desires take a long time to die. A person dying on a cross could use the foot brace to lift themselves up to take a breath and extend their life a few more minutes or hours. Are we lifting our fleshly nature up to give it air?  Or, are we refusing to accommodate our flesh when it wants to be lifted and given oxygen? The body takes time to die on a cross. The fleshly nature takes time to die. How much are we helping it live and in what ways? Figure that out and we can accelerate the death of our fleshly passions and desires. Will we?

Heavenly Father, Jesus was the first of the three to die on the cross. Show us how we can accommodate Your will and Spirit rather than give life to our fleshly nature.  

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