A Crucial Crucifixion

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.  (James 2:10 ESV)

The law is a package deal. If you keep one law, you must keep them all. When you break one law, you have broken all of them and are found guilty. We carry the law as a heavy weight on our shoulders. We are sad when we can’t achieve, disappointed when we can’t perform. We’re never good enough, never quite make it, never get it just right. The law is perfect, and when we fail in one point, we have failed in all points and we are judged guilty.

But there’s good news. Don’t miss this.

For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:19-20 ESV)

If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have been crucified with Christ. This is great truth and sometimes hard to grasp. Notice the grammar of the statement: “I have been crucified.” This is the present perfect tense—denoting an event in the past with continuing effects. When were we crucified?   When Jesus died. Jesus died a substitutionary death—he died in our place. He stood in on our behalf.

The law that brought to Paul the awareness of sin, and the guilt to you, brought Christ to the cross. And on the cross, he died, once for all, for the sins of all people. The law always required a sacrifice. Jesus’s sacrifice was perfect—the law was perfect. Jesus’s sacrifice was complete, fulfilling the obligations of the law. When you chose to accept Christ, whether you knew it or not, you accepted Him as your representative before God and His death as fulfilling the law.

How should this change the way we live?

One word: focus. Do you focus on your sin problem or on the One who freed you from your sin problem? When you fail, do you wallow in guilt, or turn to the One who took your failures to the cross and seek His forgiveness?