“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”
I live by faith in the Son of God,
Paul placed his faith in the Son of God, that is, His divine Sonship. Paul’s new life is faith-based, not flesh-based. Faith is the link that binds Paul to Christ. Instead of attempting to measure up to the law, Paul lives his new life in Christ by faith.
Our depraved nature cannot measure up to a holy God. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us live the Christian life. The faith life is an entirely different life than a life that seeks to please God by works. The soundness of our faith lies in the solidity of the content of what we believe. Our faith comes from trust in the second person of the Trinity.
The word “faith” takes us back to verse 16 [two times]. We live the Christian life by faith in the Son of God. God saves us by faith (Ephesians 2:8). We live day-by-day by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). As we were saved, so we live (Colossians 2:6,7). The principle for salvation and sanctification is the same – we live by faith.
Salvation and sanctification rest on the same principle – faith.
The Christian life always rests on faith in God’s facts. The death of Christ included me. He represented me on the cross. In His death, I died to the requirements of the law and to the penalty of the law. These are the facts; I believe them.
How did we become Christians? We accepted the fact that Jesus died for our sins. We did not plead for forgiveness. We claimed the forgiveness provided in Christ. We came to acknowledge we already had forgiveness by His death on the cross. The same is true in walking with the Lord. We claim the work of Christ to walk with the Lord moment by moment. We do not pray, “Lord, please crucify me.” We pray, “Thank you Lord that Jesus took the penalty for my sin. I thank you that this is an accomplished fact.” There is nothing inherently in us that can gain victory over sin.
Positionally, Jesus has already won the victory. The practical appropriation of our positional privilege comes later. Jesus put in our hands the victory over sin and the sin capacity. Satan will try to convince us that the power lies elsewhere. If we believe that lie, then we will fail to live the Christian life.