“I have been crucified with Christ.”
When the Lord Jesus died on the Cross, He died not only as my Substitute; He died also as my Representative. He died not only for me but as me. When He died, there is a real sense in which I died. All that I was as a child of Adam, all my old, evil, unregenerate self was nailed to the Cross. In God’s reckoning, my history as a man in the flesh came to an end.
That is not all! When the Savior was buried, I too was buried. I am identified with Christ in His burial. This pictures the removal of the old “I” from God’s sight forever.
And when the Lord Jesus arose from the dead, I arose too. But the picture changes here. It is not the one who was buried who arose, not the old self. No, it is the new man - Christ living in me. I arose with Christ to walk in newness of life.
God sees all this as having taken place positionally. Now He wants it to be true practically in my life. He wants me to reckon myself to have gone through this cycle of death, burial and resurrection. But how do I do this?
When temptation comes to me, I should reply to it exactly as a corpse reacts to any solicitation to evil. No response! I should say, in effect, “I have died to sin. You are no longer my master. I am dead as far as you are concerned.”
Day by day I should reckon my old, corrupt self to have been buried in the grave of Jesus. This means I will not be introspectively occupied with it. I will not look for anything worthwhile in it or be disappointed at its utter corruption.
Finally, I will live each moment as one who has risen with Christ to newness of life—new ambitions, new desires, new motives, new freedom and new power.
George Muller told how this truth of identification with Christ first came home to him:
There was a day when I died. Died to George Muller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval or censure, to the approval or blame even of my brothers or friends, and since then, I have studied only to show myself “approved unto God.”