Galatians 2:20 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. ESV
Bible students know that the Apostle Paul was not crucified on the same day as Jesus. Actually church tradition says that Paul was not crucified at all, but rather beheaded as a prisoner in Rome. Why then does he say that was crucified with Christ? Paul was crucified with Christ in at least two significant ways:
1) Through His Faith in Christ, Paul’s Sinful Record was Erased
The most important truth any person will ever understand is why Jesus Christ died on the cross. Some think that He died because He had become a political enemy to Rome. Others think that He died because He offended the Jewish religious leaders. Still others say that He died as a martyr for His way of living. But none of these are the real reason why Jesus was crucified. The Bible says:
Christ died for our sins… (1 Corinthians 15:3)
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin… (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT)
Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. Therefore, in essence, when Jesus died – we died also. Christ died for ‘our’ sins. One Bible translation says:
He destroyed the record of the debt we owed, with its requirements that worked against us. He canceled it by nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:14 CEB)
2) Through His Faith in Christ, Paul’s Sinful Nature Was Defeated
The Bible says that there was a time when we were all slaves to sin. But through our faith in Christ, sin’s stranglehold upon us has been broken and now we have the freedom to live God-honoring lives.
Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. ESV
The Christian’s identity is no longer found in themselves; rather ‘in Christ.’ Note the number of times Paul uses the phrase – ‘In Him’ or ‘In Christ’ in this passage of scripture.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him… In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace… 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance… 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit… ESV
‘In Christ’ all of our sins have been forgiven and we have been made new creations. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; behold , all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)