I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20
Galatians 2:20 is a golden text of the Pauline canon. We use it to expound the revelation of the mystery. In it, Paul presents the event of the crucifixion; he refers to the resurrection and reveals how we are to perceive ourselves in view of the Christ event. There are two paradigms of Christ. We’re not to perceive Christ merely historically; we’re not to speak of Him only from an outer realm understanding. We’re to see the reality of mutual indwelling, of union with reciprocal identity by which we derive our identity from His. Many don’t have that understanding of Christ.
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you”. – John 14:20
We need to understand that the Gospel addresses us in post-resurrection realities. On the eve of His crucifixion, our Lord addressed His disciples in the upper room. The day He was referring to in His discourse is the day of the New Creation, the day we are living in today. He wasn’t talking about a twenty-four-hour day. It is the eternal Now. In His discourse, He spoke of three categories of perichoresis:
- His Trinitarian Perichoresis: “I am in my Father”
- The Hypostatic Union: “ye in me”. This refers to the humanity that the Eternal Son assumed in His one person.
- The Unio Mystica: This speaks of the believer’s union with Christ.
This is the understanding we are to have of Christ. We’re to understand our intricate union with Him, mutually. He indwells you, and you also indwell Him.
In Galatians 2:20, Paul was saying, “I no longer live as ‘I’”. What do you call “I”? When we speak of “I”, we’re referring to the identity paradigm. That is, that which you believe, which you have come to understand conclusively as your identity, which you associate with as yourself. This is the concept Paul says must be redefined in Christ. Paul’s emphatic “I” is transferred out of the mode of existence that He knew. Our faith is not merely a verbal profession – saying, “I believe in Jesus”. The entire scope of our science of being, of how we live, is that we have been transferred out of our mode of existence into His. This is how we live an ecstatic life. We live from Him. He is our one and only Life, and we become vessels for Christ to be manifested on Earth today. Think of yourself on these terms. You are the son of God; you are the servant of humanity; you are the master over all circumstances. This is beautiful.
To the Apostle Paul, being in Christ meant He was living in a constant state of revelatory surprise. He never wrote his epistles from a state of boredom or familiarity. He would repeat Himself over and over again because he was caught up in this. He was surprised by the revelation that he was chosen by the Father in Christ, that Christ had loved and embraced him, and that Christ had accepted him into His own Life. That’s not true of Paul only, but it is true of you and me.
Grace is not merely unmerited favor. Grace means that what was exclusive to God has been bestowed freely to us as a Gift, and this Gift is God Himself. The Giver has become embodied as the Gift. Not only is He embodied as the Gift, but as the Receiver as well. So the Giver is the Gift and the Receiver all in One. We’re to live in that state of a continual revelatory surprise because we’re waking up to what has always been true concerning us. Our faith doesn’t make it happen; our faith acknowledges what has already happened in Him.
This article is an extract from the series, “Union, Oneness and Identification” by Dr. Shawn Smith. For the complete series, please, visit gcmonlinestore.com