‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.’ Galatians 2:20a
This passage contains two parts. The first part begins with: ‘Since you died with Christ.’ This assumes a precondition. People who did not yet die with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, can only live according to imposed rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’
What are these ‘elemental spiritual forces of this world’? These are the spirits that rule this world. We might translate this phrase as ‘basic principles, foundations’. People who have not yet been redeemed by the blood of Christ, still live as slaves of this world according to the basic principles of this world: egoism, hate, lust, and so on. We all know what power these forces wield over our lives as long as we have not experienced the liberation of them by Jesus Christ.
Without this radical liberation (John 8:36) we will time and again lapse into a self-imposed worship that - pious as it seems - does nothing more than satisfy the needs of the flesh. But when we are in real communion with Jesus, we die with Him to these dark forces that only make us self-centered and lead us astray from the reality that is found in Christ.
But this passage speaks about more than only dying. The second part speaks about ‘being raised with Christ Who is our life’, and only His life is real life. Where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. Who rejoices in the redemption by Jesus, will devote his whole heart to Him. And in that dedication to Him, we grow to be like Him more and more. But then the world around us will respond to us as they did to Jesus. They then face the choice: flee or bow down.