Galatians 2:20

Read Introduction to Galatians


“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”
Verse 20 expands on verse 19. Paul deals with the same point, but in more detail. Paul died to the law at the cross. Paul details how he died to the law. His co-crucifixion with Christ killed the law’s demands on him.
I have been crucified with Christ;
The word “crucified” is a compound term, coming from two words: with and crucified — co-crucified. When they crucified Christ on the cross, God crucified Paul there as well. What occurred to Christ physically occurred to Paul legally. His was a positional or legal crucifixion. This is more than Christ being crucified for Paul but that Paul himself participated in the crucifixion itself. That is how he died to the law. Death was his one chance of escape from the penalty of the law.
The word “crucified” occurs five times in the New Testament: here, Romans 6:6 and three times in the gospels. All three times in the gospels have to do with Christ being crucified with thieves (Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32; John 19:32).
The Greek tense for “have been crucified” means that Paul’s crucifixion had a permanent effect. God crucified Paul on the cross and he stands crucified to the moment of writing. His crucifixion has present finished results. Our identification with Christ is forever. This is how we died to the law. Christ released us from every duty to the law so that we might “live to God.” Paul came to a point of crucifixion in God’s eyes.
The words “have been” mean that Paul received crucifixion [passive voice]. This is not something he did; it was something that God did to him. Paul cannot take credit for his crucifixion. The glory goes to Jesus Christ for that. He did not do anything to earn nor deserve crucifixion with Christ.
God does not command us to crucify ourselves for sanctification. We stand in the total efficacy of the work of Christ before God.
Our crucifixion with Christ completely frees us from obligation to the law. We have perfect and permanent standing in God’s eyes. God looks upon us as participating in Christ’s crucifixion so that we do not have to merit salvation or sanctification. We receive it as a gift from God. God released us from a performance orientation and gave us a privileged position in Christ.
When Jesus engrafts us into new status with God, we gain new power for living the Christian life. As a flower gets its energy from its roots, so we get our dynamic from Christ.
Most people misunderstand the point of 2:20 even though it is a very popular verse. We cannot crucify ourselves. We died to the law in Christ’s crucifixion. The law cannot save or sanctify. We live out our new life in Christ by faith. We live by faith, not works.
When we believe in Christ, we acknowledge our inability to be saved or sanctified by works. Only by our identification with Christ in His death and resurrection can we live the kind of life God expects. The disgrace of the cross lies not in Him who died on it but in us who made the cross indispensable.

17 Responses to “Galatians 2:20”

  • What a great understanding of being dead to self and alive to Christ. How can anyone be the same person after truly being crucified with Christ. I am not the same man I was before I came to Christ, it took me 29 years and i am still being changed one day at a time. God is still not through with me yet and i am not done doing the work of Jesus either. I have committed my life to my last breath.What about you you? Are you totally committed?

  • I believe you have a rich knowledge and a simple, concise way to present it. The passive righteousness of Christ given freely to those who trust Jesus is so liberating. May God move us from understanding to submission and experience. Praise God – and I thank you for sharing this.

  • The RSV, Modern, and ESV all say “faith in the Son of God . . .” KJV says “faith of the Son of God . . .” BIG difference. What does the Greek tell us?

    This is important to me, because I’m teaching a study group and I’d like to link Paul’s claim here to Eph. 2:8 & 9 but I want to be sure the two are consistent.

    In other words, I believe Paul consistently teaches that saving faith comes from God, and I always assumed Gal. 2:20 affirms that teaching, but maybe modern translators changed it from “faith of” to “faith in” for good reason? Or maybe I’m just looking at this the wrong way. (I can fathom an interpretation that emphasizes “living in faith” as opposed to “living in the flesh,” so that the emphasis in the verse should be on the dichotomy between how one lives versus the way I was understanding it, with the emphasis on means of justification (which is clearly suggested by the context.) Paul’s tricky sometimes! :o)

    Thanks so much.


  • Jim, thanks for your comment. It is encouraging to see people with serious understanding of Scripture.
    The Greek says “faith in” namely that which rests on (“of) the Son of God. Justfication is clearly by faith based on 2:16. I believe this passage refers to the Christian life. Compare my other studies on this verse by advancing to the next studies.

  • I agree that these great verses unlock the important key of great christian life. Honestly i’m still confused how to apply this truth in my daily life.Can you give me a real case example? Thanx b4.Gbu

  • Jash, thanks for your comment.

    The point of this verse is that God provides for us in grace (God does the doing and providing). We do not have to earn or merit a relationship with God or to be in good standing with Him. We do not have to give money to be blessed by God because we HAVE His blessing. We do not serve Him to gain His favor because we have His favor. We serve God because He first loved us (2 Co 5:14). This is a life of liberty as Galatians 5:1 says. Jesus liberated us from a performance orientation to please God. We serve Him out of gratitude.

  • To me – the verse is means – sold out – Totally – to Christ. And it is a freeing idea – that it is no longer me that drives my life – but – my Faith in the Son of God – who loved me and gave Himself for ME now drives it!

    Many people feel that Christ/God is far away – that God does not take an interest in us – except maybe for gigantic occasions when He shows up – maybe! However – this verse says that He took the time to love me and care for me (or each of us personally!).

    And since I am a long-time married woman, I understand what it is to sacrifice yourself for another human whom you truly care about! And when the verse says: He Gave himself for me – I reflect on the sweet moments that my husband has done thoughtful things for me and has cared for me – through the good and bad times we have had. This verse reflects that appreciation!

    Jesus gave us the example of the church as a bride – And this verse exemplifies to me what a marriage vow is – to crucify your selfishness and sell yourself totally to that relationship and that person! What a freeing thing it is to totally surrender to Him! I appreciate His sacrifice for me (all of us) and I want to shout it out – As St. Paul did!

    “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.”

  • hi, how are you??

    Anyway I’m dhie I’m 18 years old (girl) im a new immigrant here

    in Canada I came from Phillipines. I just want you to advice me the

    right thing to do in

    preaching!!! because i’ve been assigned to preach in our church this

    november the 22nd. And i was really nervous about it.

    the topic that I’ve been chosen is RENEW and i used the

    Galatians 2:20 of my topic so would you please help me for this??

    thank you and God bless………..

    keep safe always and continue doing this excellent work.


  • Hi,
    This is a wonderful website and I thank God for you and the work you are doing here. Please help me to fully understand this verse and the main theme. Let me know if I am on the wright track, the scripture is saying to me that it is not about us but it is all about Jesus. We are to allow our flesh to die like Christ on the cross and submit our entire being to the will and purpose of God. Once we allow ourselves to die to our flesh and desires of this world, Christ will be our priority and we will have life in him. We are not to live according to traditions or laws of man but according to the word of God. We have liberty in God through Jesus and therefore we should subit and serve him not out of obligation or payment but out of gratitude and love.

    Am I correct in my thinking?

  • LadyCage, The primary point of this passage is the finished work of Christ on our behalf–that we hold to the status quo of co-crucified with Christ in the eyes of God. Because of that, we live for Him.

  • what is meant by faith in christ and faith of christ as KJV and Nkjv puts it.Eg in gal 2:16-20.= FAITH OF CHRIST,while else where uses faith in christ.

  • Samuel, Faith of Christ is Christ’s faith and faith in Christ is our faith in Christ.

  • thanks sir for that are doing Christs work in helping us.
    the scripture tells me that Jesus is at the right hand of god interceding for the saints.also Jesus tells peter that the devil had asked for permission to challenge your faith,but i have prayed for we still live by this faith in relation to gal 2:20? is it of or in Christ.

  • I am hoping to get some fun and practical activity ideas on Gal2:20 for our youth easter camp this coming weekend.

    Blessings to you

  • I'm Calthy and I'm a bit confused about this verse. I'm still in Junior High…so I don't understand some things well…

  • Calthy, thanks for your blog. It is encouraging to see a Junior Higher who has an interest in God's Word. Would you mind sending me what you do not understand about this verse? Thanks

  • Bhogal Singh Panesar

    Thank you Jesu

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