Internalizing the Cross

When we wear a cross, it represents our crucifixion with Christ.

But jewelry is only an external symbol of crucifixion. What about internal crucifixion, the crucifixion of the soul?

When we follow Christ, we follow in His footsteps and walk where He walked. He ultimately walked to the cross, right? Likewise, in our walking with Him, we will encounter crosses.

intersectionA cross is where your will and God’s will “intersect.” 

Think of a street intersection. We’re walking in one direction. God’s leading us in another. At that intersection of self-will versus death-to-self, we face inner conflict in our decision making.


Instead of pondering and wrestling in our own human understanding, we can turn to Scripture to light our way.

In fact, you won’t believe it, but Galatians 2:20 actually makes the decision for us:

It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

It says “It is I who no longer live…

Hmmm… I-no-longer-live? Really?


If I am no longer living, as the verse plainly states, then there is no self left to disagree with God.

If there is no life (“I no longer live”), then there can be no self.

No life = no self.

No self? Seriously?

How so?

Because “I have been (past tense) crucified” with Him. That’s our own personal past tense crucifixion. So, according to Galatians 2:20, you and I were ALREADY crucified with Jesus Christ, hanging on that cross.


Instead of self-will operating apart from God’s will at that “cross” intersection, Galatians 2:20 reveals that our will is one with God’s will already in Christ on the cross of Calvary.

Our will is one with God’s? Hmm…

How so?

calvaryCalvary is where man’s will (Heb. 2:17; 1 Tim. 2:5) and Gods’ will (Is. 53:10) intersected in the cross of Jesus Christ. Christ was 100% man and 100% God. Man’s will is in the man, Jesus Christ who identified with us in His humanity and in His death. God’s will is in the divine Christ’s obedience to submit to crucifixion. We were one with Him in His full humanity and we were in Him in His divine obedience (Rom. 6:8, 2 Tim. 2:11).

There, He hangs. Lashed, crowned, spiked, and lifted.

And there YOU are. Inside Him. Being crucified together with Him.

Galatians 2:20 It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

It’s clear. We HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED with Christ (Gal. 2:20).

Yet, this reality of oneness with Christ cannot be experienced if we have failed, as Scripture instructs in the previous verse (v. 19), to die to the law:

Galatians 2:19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.

Christ clearly separated Himself from the law in in John 5:45, in one of His heated confrontations with the Pharisees: “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.”

Moses is the “Father of the Law.” Jesus won’t have to accuse any of the Pharisees before the Father because the Pharisees live under the law and will be judged and condemned by the law. For no one can sow the law and reap eternal life.

the law <  > Jesus Christ

Do not be deceived (Gal. 6:7). We can never live for God if we have not first died to the law.

As long as we’re alive to the law, we cannot be dead to ourselves, and thus cannot be alive in Christ.

Living for God <  > Alive to the law

Alive to the law<  > Dead to yourself

Because the law activates self-will and sin (Rom. 7:8), the proportion to which we have died to the law, we have died to ourselves. To that degree, Christ can live His life through us.

Die to law = die to self = empty space=Christ lives through you

To the extent we’re trying to fulfill the law, we are refusing to receive Christ’s finished work for us. Our flesh is trying to fulfill the law (which is impossible), and in that, trying to be God (Luke 18:19).

Self-effort = You will fulfill the law = You will perform righteousness = You are God=You reject Christ’s work for you

This arrogance blocks in us the life flow of Christ’s fulfillment of the law. He has already fulfilled the law for us. So we don’t have to try to. Not that we could.

Flesh is cleverly deceiving us to waste that time, space, and energy that Christ could be using to glorify Himself through us.

You rejoice in your weakness = You can’t fulfill the law = Christ did it for you = Thank you, Jesus!

Flesh = Strives to perform righteousness = Blocks Christ’s life in you

You can’t!–> He did it for you–>Faith IN HIM fuels–>time space energy–>Christ’s life flows freely

The imagery of being crucified with Christ is helpful for some of us to die to, or lay down, our lives and desires that are contrary to God’s (Matt. 16:24).

As a sincere follower of Christ, if we really are crucified with Christ, we can say, “I was in  Jesus Christ when He died. So, ‘Do I (being in Him) feel the spikes through MY hands? Do I (being in Him) feel the crown of thorns on MY head? Do I (being in Him) with every feeble breath feel the rough wooden beam scraping against MY bloody open-wounded back?‘” and so on (Rom. 6:8, 2 Tim. 2:11).

The imagery of the crucifixion can help us die to flesh and bridle our hearts, thoughts, words, and actions to get us in step with His purposes for us (Rom. 6:8).

After the crucifixion came the tomb where self-will and sin were laid forever (Col. 2:11). And remember… the sin nature never resurrected (Acts 13:29). Only the new resurrection life arose three days later (2 Cor. 5:17, Acts 13:30). You and I, the new creations, rose with Him in that resurrection life. That’s how we are one spirit with Him right now (1 Cor. 6:17). Your spirit is the spirit of the resurrected Jesus Christ!

That’s the real you now. Crucified with Christ. Filled with Christ. Led by Christ.


WORD MEANINGS– Galatians 2:20 

1) I have been crucified with Christ.

-crucified means to crucify together with (you and Christ), to impale in company with (literally or figuratively), by the death of Christ upon the cross I have become utterly estranged from (dead to) my former habit of feeling and action.

2) It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.

-it is no longer means no longer, no more, never again, logically for it cannot now be said

-I who live– alive, to get their living, holding, Christ is living and operative in me, i. e. the holy mind and energy of Christ pervades and moves me

3) The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

-by faith means faith, belief, trust, confidence, fidelity

-loved means to take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem. The love which led Christ to become human and be crucified for us.

-gave– to hand over, to give or deliver over, to betray (oneself). In other words, Christ betrayed Himself to save us.



Galatians 2:20 It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

John 5:45 But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.

Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

2 Timothy 2:11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him;

Galatians 2:19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Hebrews 2:17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer.

Romans 7:8 But sin, seizing its opportunity through the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from the Law, sin is dead.

Luke 18:19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Colossians 2:11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ,

Acts 13:29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb.

Acts 13:30 But God raised him from the dead,

1 Corinthians 6:17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

About ashleydwille

Author Ashley D. Wille was always searching for spiritual answers. “True and lasting satisfaction always proved just out of reach. Now, in midlife, I have come to find my soul satiated in God. Through sweet surprises, difficult climbs, and excruciating valleys, the Master’s hand has shaped me. All along the way, God has taught me many things. What He has taught me most is that many of my beliefs about Him were wrong.” Her book, My Journey Through the Cross, is a personal insight shared by an amazing woman. Through her profound experiences and inner struggles, Wille shows how she was able to break through false layers of thinking and move into a deeper relationship with God. Her beautiful journey is just waiting to be shared. If you are ready to live your life free of guilt and shame, you too can learn how to walk in spiritual freedom.
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