“Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it”. -Luke 9:24
We have a choice between two opposing lives, the life of this world and the life from above. Our journey begins by inheriting the life of this world.
Paul the apostle chose to crucify his worldly life for the one from above!
“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. -Gal 2:20
Why does our life need to be crucified?
The first man Adam brought sin into the world when he disobeyed God. This life of sin was passed down, effecting our relationship with God. To restore the relationship, the life of sin must be put to death, the only way is for it to be crucified with Christ. -Romans 6:6
To better understand we need to know how God made us.
“the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” -Genesis 2:7
The Bible teaches man is composed of three parts; the body, soul and spirit. The body and soul are revealed in Genesis 2:7; we must go elsewhere in scripture to see how our spirit came to be –
“Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.” -Zech 12:1
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” -Jeremiah 1:5
The spirit is formed in the womb before the breath of life comes into the body.
Our spirit is where God communes with us and where his inspiration helps us to grow and be like him.
He warned Adam and Eve, the day you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you will die! They continued to live, so what died?
They were given a choice between two very different lives. They could depend on God and receive his life, or they could be independent and seek their own life. Eve was deceived into following her own way and Adam followed. Their disobedience caused them to lose an intimate relationship with God which caused their life from above to die.
Once sin entered the human race through disobedience it had to run its course before the messiah could come and give man an opportunity to regain life from above. (The science of how sin genetically entered the human race and passes on to our children is in an on going study called Epigenetics).
All was not lost, the spirit in man retained a conscience along with the influence of God’s fundemental law (Rom 2:4), as a result conviction gripped Adam and Eve and they sewed fig leaves to hide their shame.
God called for Adam and asked where he was, he knew where Adam was physically, what he lost was communion from within.
Adam decided to cover his shame with fig leaves but it did not please God, so God put an animal to death and clothed them with the skin. This animal sacrifice symbolized death to the carnal life until the true sacrifice came in the messiah which would reverse what Adam had done.
The first two children born from Eve continued to bear out what was acceptable to God, when it came time to give an offering to God, the first son Cain presented fruit from the field, the younger son Abel sacrificed an animal, Abel’s offering was accepted, Cain’s was not. Abel’s sacrifice symbolized death to the works of the flesh and Cain’s offering represented the works of the flesh. Able was showing his dependence on God by identifying with his sacrifice, Cain was showing his independence from God by identifying with his own works.
God’s ways are far above our ways and are not obtainable by human effort. Only by faith can God cause us to be what He wants us to be. That being said, living by faith is accompanied by doing what is right as much as lies within us.
The act of animal sacrifice alone was not pleasing to God unless the one offering it identified with it by faith!
How are believers in the Old Testament saved?
“And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” -Heb 11:39-40
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” -Heb 11:13
The Old Testament Saints embraced the promises of God and by faith it was counted to them for righteousness. -Rom 4:3
The sacrifices of old were done away with in the New Testament because we have a perfect sacrifice in Jesus Christ. Unlike saints in the Old Testament who sacrificed animals, we live a sacrificial life through Jesus by identifying with his death!
“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” -Heb 6:5-11)
“I have been crucified with Christ; 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 for me” … Galatians 2:20
“My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” … Philippians 3:10
Death to our old life doesn’t happen instantaneously, we first count ourselves dead (Rom 6:11) by faith until we come to know him in the power of his resurrection!
The crucified life is the axe that cuts the root of all false religion. The basis of false religion comes from the carnal mind. Whether we are Catholic, Protestant or Pentecostal, if we are not crucified with Jesus we are in error! Many Christian doctrines are birthed from the carnal mind, you can be sure those who are crucified with Christ and live the resurrected life are on the same page.
There were two thieves on a cross with Jesus, one of them plead with Jesus to save his life, the other asked to be remembered when Jesus came into his Kingdom. The first thief lost his life by attempting to save it, the latter saved his life by losing it for the sake of the Kingdom.
How do we lose our Life for Jesus sake?
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” -Luke 22:42
Our carnal life wants to retain control and will go to any length to keep it. It is especially tuned to religion and will become very accommodating in however religious we want to be as long as we don’t lay it on the alter.
Those seeking truth know it will lead them to the death of their carnal life, they embrace Jesus death as their own and believe God for the outcome. They understand their works cannot save them, it is only by dying to them we are saved!
In the end our sacrificial life through Jesus reverses what Adam did and life in the spirit is regained!
Supporting Passages –
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” (Rom 8:7)
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Rom 8:13)
“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt 16:25)
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” (Jn 12:24)
“Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” (Rom 6:6)
“Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2 Cor 4:10)
“I have been crucified with Christ; 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 for me.” (Gal 2:20)
“My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.” (Gal 4:19)
“And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal 5:20)
“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal 6:14)
“And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” (Phil 3:9)
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them,[a] embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Heb 11:13
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us[a] in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” (1 Pet 4:1)
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Rev 12:11)
“Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me,[a] “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Rev 14:13)
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2)