Living By Faith

Insights To Live By From Galatians 2:20

Living By Faith
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Speak about “faith” to some and they think you are talking about fantasy. However, Holy Bible faith is based upon earthly and spiritual realities that must not be ignored.

We are fundamentally spirit beings (Genesis 2:7, 1 Corinthians 15:45a). When we {A} committed to Christ as our Savior, becoming born again, we became truly alive (1 Corinthians 15:45a, Ephesians 2:5). We now are able to operate in the spirit by direction of the Holy Spirit and begin to learn many spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:11-12). We must fully realize that though we live in a physical world in this flesh, we are spirit creatures and, as such, we are part of the spiritual realm.

If one finds these statements odd perhaps we can understand them better by looking at a parallel in our "natural world." Let us make believe for a moment that we are a dog {B}. We have a dog's senses, instinct, eyesight and intelligence. Our senses might tell us that someone dropped a hamburger across the street and so by instinct we want to get it.

There may be a stop light to indicate when it is safe to cross the road but, unless we were trained to note the standard position of the lights, we do not know when it is safe because, like all dogs, we cannot see most colors {B1}. In regard to intelligence, we have no real idea of the fact that a vehicle could harm and even kill us.

However, what if all of a sudden our dog eyes could see all colors and our intelligence increased to understand the danger? We certainly would behave better. We would be spared many of the dangers of a higher world, a world we were certainly in, but had little understanding of.

When you committed to Christ {A}, the darkness in your understanding was removed (Ephesians 4:17-18). Your spirit, once dead in sin, was redeemed and made alive in Christ. You are a spirit creature and the spiritual realm {C} is not fantasy, but fact -- fact that has eternal results for all of us!

As we begin with this study, understand that the Holy Bible is The Word of God -- we are to believe every word it says and act upon it. Grant it, portions of the the Holy Bible have symbols and figures of speech, which we will discuss in a later study {D}. Suffice it for now that we are to take the Holy Bible literally whenever and wherever, considering context and that it speaks as one though it contains many books. The New Testament epistles contain much information about spiritual facts. The statements contained in them are facts, and need to be accepted as facts.

Faith is needed for us to please God (Hebrews 11:6 and 10:38, Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11). When we say "faith" we do not mean simple head or heart belief, but knowledge of what God has said, fully trusting in Him with both mind and heart, and permitting Christ to put it into action (see James 2:17) in our daily lives. Hence, Hebrews 11:1 (KJV), "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Until we die or until Christ returns, every Christian will face temptations and trials (troubles). We do not overcome all of these with our own will. But we can overcome all by letting Christ live through us. I noted James 2:17 and if you read the whole context of that passage you will see that the type of faith that God requires is one of action. This lesson centers on one verse: Galatians 2:20. It is a key verse in living the victorious Christian life.

Galatians 2:20 (KJV*) - I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives 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.

I. "I am crucified with Christ: . . ."

Sinfulness is the opposite of holiness, and holiness is needed to see God (Hebrews 12:14). Sin is displeasing to God (Jude 14-15). We are all born as sinners (Psalm 51:5), and if we are not in Christ we tend to habitually sin (Romans 3:10. 23) because we have a sinful nature (Romans 7:23). None of us can rescue ourselves from our own sin nature (Romans 7:18, 24). This sin nature permeates our entire being (2 Corinthians 7:1).

R. E. Howard writes {1}, "When a man enters into Christ he enters into His death. He dies with Christ. This is more than a figure of speech, . . . It means that by faith a man makes Christ’s death his own. The future result is that he does not face eternal death for his sins." See Romans 6:1-11 and Colossians 2:12, 2:20, and 3:3. From these Holy Scriptures, and others, we being crucified with Christ is a spiritual reality.

II. ". . . nevertheless I live; . . ."

As stated above, until death or the return of Christ we will face temptations and trials (troubles). Walking (living your life) in Christ {E} is a learning process. In our own natural world, when a baby begins to walk it will stumble many times before it can walk any great length. This is much more true in the realm of the spirit. It is no doubt more difficult in that we are dealing with elements that are unseen, but it is still very real.

The more we read the Word and obey, the stronger we become in Him. Reading God's Word and acting upon it is part of the crucifixion process (Psalm 119:11). Our flesh does not like this, and until we reach a level of maturity in Christ, neither will our soul. Sometimes the Holy Bible can be the heaviest book in the house! Sometimes you might note in church that some people get restless the moment the Word of God is read. However, I have seen time and again in the lives of others and in myself that when we force ourselves to read it or / and hear it, and force our flesh and soul to obey it, it eventually develops the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Denying ourselves and entering into Christ’s death is a daily practice (1 Corinthians 15:31).

III. ". . . yet not I, but Christ lives in me: . . ."

If we have surrendered to Christ, He actually dwells within us. This truth is often rejected by nominal Christians and non-Christians. Yet the Holy Bible specifically tells us it is so: Colossians 1:27; John 17:10, 23; and 1 John 4:15 to mention a few.

We are to respect Christ within us (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19). Our will must yield to His will. Until we reach a level of maturity in Him, not only will our flesh and soul at times oppose His will, but so will our will (John3:30). We should desire (will) to do His will: "if any one may will to do His will . . . " (John 7:17a -- YLT).

IV. ". . .and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, . . ."

When we become born again, our old sinful nature (old man) dies. The new man (Christ) lives through us (2 Corinthians 5:17). We still have a will, but our will is to come in line with the will of Christ by the faith of the Son of God. YLT indicates that this should read ". . . in the faith of the Son of God," and it is translated as such in the NKJV. Additionally, the Greek word for “faith” can mean “faithfulness”.

This points to the fact that if we are truly saved Christ lives through us. In a way, I liken this to a glove and a hand. The glove does not move on its own, but the hand directs the glove. Consider Christ as the Hand of God. The difference between us and the glove is that we have our own will.

By entering into the death of Christ, we are enabled to follow Christ, being made free from the law {F} (principle of) sin and death. Colossians 2:14 also shows us it would be impossible to follow Christ if we had not confessed our sin and sin nature and enter into the forgiveness of God by entering into the death of Christ.

The other side to this is that Christ went to the cross having lived victoriously over all temptation and trials (1 Peter 1:19). As Christ took our sin and sin nature, He gives us His victorious life when we receive Him, the King, into ourselves. The "big" term for this is imputation. Our sins and sin nature were actually imputed (given) to Christ and His just standing before the Father, along with all the righteous acts He did, were actually given to us (see John 1:12 -- please underline this verse in your Bible and memorize it). The faith we are to have to truly please God is Christ’s faith which joins with ours. This is not automatic. We must will to do His will (Matthew 16:24).

Two terms throughout Holy Scripture that are used for Christ are Son of Man (Daniel 7:13, Matthew 8:20, Acts 7:56) and Son of God (Daniel 3:25, Matthew 14:33, Acts 9:20). "Son of Man" means He was 100 percent man (and, currently {2}, few would deny that He was all human). This means Christ inside of us is well able to help us to live right (pleasing to the Father) when faced with temptation and trials and that we can grow into His personality, bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It also means He is very understanding and merciful, but does urge us on to maturity and disciplines us as needed.

If the term Son of Man when applied to Christ means He is all man (100 percent man), then the term "Son of God" applied to Christ means He is all (100 percent) God. This is important because God's Word is very clear that neither a mere man nor an angel would be suitable to redeem us. One reason is both humans (Psalm 49:7-9) and angels (Nehemiah 9:6, Colossians 1:16) are infinite {G} and not eternal {H}. And while it is clear the angels were created before mankind was, they were still in some way affected (Hebrews 9:23) by the sin of one of their own. Satan, it is recorded, rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-15), drawing one third of the host of heaven with him (Revelation 12:3-4). So only Christ, all God and all man, could be the Way of salvation for mankind.

V. ". . . who loved me, and gave himself . . ."

Because of the love of God for mankind, Christ was veiled in flesh for our very salvation (Hebrews 12:2). Looking at Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV), this was the focus of His gracious heart and mind:

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Verse 6: "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God . . ." -- The Greek word used here for "form" is morphē (more-phay). Vine {I} writes that it “denotes that special or characteristic form or feature of a person or thing; it is used with particular significance in the N.T., only of Christ, in Philippians 2:6,7, in the phrases “being in the form of God,” and “taking the form of a servant.” Since morphē is used for “servant” for Christ in verse 7 (“form of a servant”), and no one can deny that Christ was actually a servant, then morphē for “form of God” in verse 6 means Christ is God in the flesh.

The second part of verse six shows us that in love and mercy Christ chose not to, if I may say it this way, operate from His deity. Though He was God in flesh, He chose, for our sake, not to act from Godhood. He ministered as a human led by the Holy Spirit, and so Romans 8:14, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
Verse 7: "But made himself of no reputation . . . " is literally (YLT), "but did empty himself . . .". Given what was said in verse 6, this could not be any of His exclusive attributes of deity {J}, but considering the context of v.7, His prerogatives as God. It points to the truth He chose to live as one of us. The Greek word for empty is  (ehkenosen, pronounced eh-keh-know-sen), and I only mention that because there is a false teaching about the kenosis (from which ehkenosen is derived) of Christ, that He emptied Himself of His deity. No Holy Scripture supports this idea, and there is an abundance of Holy Scripture pointing to His continued deity while in human flesh.

The balance of verse 7 shows us He became a servant. Our role as servants will be discussed later since what needs to be focused upon at this point for your benefit is the Sonship of Christ.

VI. " . . . and gave himself for me."

The Sonship of Christ

The Sonship of Christ is the grace of God we need to become the sons of God {3}. So often when grace is mentioned, it is mentioned in the sense of unmerited favor, merciful forgiveness, etc. These definitions are valid. Such aspects are included in Thayer’s listing of the Greek word karis which is translated as “grace”. Thayer also states karis “. . . is used of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.” 

So grace can also mean the liberty, empowerment and the actual ability to do what is pleasing to our heavenly Father. The life of Christ IS that grace. His Sonship enables us to become the sons of God. Please compare these two verses:
Luke 4:1 -- "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness"
Romans 8:14 -- "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."

Just as He denied His prerogative of acting upon His deity and was led by the Holy Spirit, we need to deny ourselves of our personal prerogatives and be led by His Holy Spirit.

The fact that, if we are truly committed to Christ, His righteous acts are residing in us bears repeating for two reasons: so you act upon this fact and to enable you to defend the faith. What I mean by that last thought is those who would criticize true Christianity sometimes ask if Christ is God, then why did He pray to the Father, or why is did He say "My Father is greater than I"? In brief, you can respond to such inquiries by saying that when we see Christ in the Gospels, we are seeing our very salvation under construction so to speak. Note again what Hebrews 2:10 says: "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings." The Greek for the word perfect in Hebrews 2:10 means complete. The many sons being brought to glory are all those who are truly disciples of Christ.

Remember that Christ insisted on being baptized to "fulfill all righteousness," Matthew 3:15. This was just one act of obedience of a whole life of righteous acts that Christ did so those very acts can be within us, and flow out from us, pleasing our Father in heaven. This is why Jesus says to His disciples (John 15:5), “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

So, when we see Christ praying to the Father in the Gospels we are seeing what is in us, if we are truly saved, so we may pray to the Father in Christ’s righteousness and directed by the Holy Spirit. When He said He was subordinate to the Father (John 14:28h, ". . . for My Father is greater than I") it was so His act of subordination would be ours.

Permit me to give you one more, among many, crucial facts for our relationship with God. Christ purposely became sin “on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). While this is true, it is also true that real Christians might sin from time to time (1 John 2:1). We are to confess our sins to Him and receive forgiveness (1 John 1:9). But when we do so we should have the proper the proper emotion and attitude for repentance. Christ provided for that. Note Matthew 27:46. “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"’”

One might logically ask here, if Jesus was God, then, how can God forsake God? Besides fulfilling Psalm 22, He had to say and feel this for our benefit. This is the way we should feel, to some degree, when we sin. It is not that God forsakes us the moment we sin, but that we should sense our fellowship with Him has been disrupted.

Proper attitude in repentance is another element. Christ’s very attitude and emotion is ours if we let it flow through. Therefore, when we sin and then ask God to forgive us, this very attitude and emotion that Christ has is ours, and is pure, proper and acceptable to the Father.

There are many more acts of Christ’s subordination and, every time we see one it was done for our benefit, and does not diminish His deity or negate it. Hopefully you see why God subsists as Father and as Son, and later you will see more of the Holy Spirit’s role too. This is His inherent mercy to rescue us. The terms "Father" and "Son" should bring to our minds, based on the ancient Jewish society, the loving and respectful relationship between a father and a son.

With this in mind, and in light of the Scriptures, let us draw a comparison in daily life. Most of us have something that we can program, like a scanner, microwave, computer, etc. We spirit creatures are programmable! The old program, our sin nature, needs to be replaced with the new program, Jesus Christ. Using that program will unleash His righteous acts in your life! The main difference between us and machines is that we have our own personal will. We decide how much of the “Jesus program" is going to run in us. By the way, HIS program will not crash! Consider the following verses:

"The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven." -- 1 Corinthians 15:47
"For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18    So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous." -- Romans 5:17-19

Thinking of what Jesus Christ did for you, always die to self and let Christ live through you, changing you from "glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18)," and causing you to be a blessing to all!

Click here to take a quiz on this very important lesson or for other options in the free online course Basic Elements Of Christianity (BEC). We plan to have this link available at the time of the publication of this article or by May 29, 2018.


{A} These lessons were written for those who have truly committed to God through Christ, so “we” means a true Christian. If you have not surrendered your life to God through Christ, please consider doing so and avoid eternal damnation.

{B} Illustrated here of my former pet dog, Velvet, being held back from danger by me.

{B1} According to .

{C} The area, though often unseen, of spiritual things, such as, but not limited to, the human spirit, angels, demons, the Godhead.

{D} Those pages are up on the Internet now. Visit

{E} Letting Christ live through us daily in all of our thoughts, motives, actions, and every facet of our life. Living in, through, by and with Christ.

{F} “Law” as used in the sense of "the law of aerodynamics," "law of bouyancy," "law of gravity."

{G} Though this word is interchangeable with "eternal," it can also mean having a beginning point but having no ending. For this course we shall take this latter definition.

{H} In reference to God, timeless, having no beginning or ending.

{G} and {H} are illustrated at .

{I} Vine, W. E.: An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words (Flemming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, NJ : 1966) Vol 2 pp. 123-4 who also notes Gifford, Edwin Hamilton: The Incarnation -- A Study Of Philippians 2:5-7 (Dodd, Mead & Co., New York, NY): 1897, pp. 16, 19, 39.

{J} Review God’s exclusive attributes at , but scroll down a little past any ads until you get to the end of Isaiah 43:10-11.

{K} This should be illustrated as part of the lead image for this article. If it is not, or if you want to see the image without the added text, visit . I have an animated gif somewhere for young people. If I find it I will try to place it near or under this image.

{1} R. E. Howard; Beacon Bible Commentary Vol. 9 (Beacon Hill Press, Kansas City, MO; 1965) p. 51 

{2} I feel that as the return of Christ nears, false teachings will arise about the humanity of Christ. 

{3} The term, "sons of God," can also refer to the angels. The term "sons of God" can also refer to the ancient godly line from Seth before the flood.

{4} Joseph Henry Thayer; A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI: 1972) p.666

This article is part of a series of lessons on Basic Elements Of Christianity (BEC). Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates and adding “(The Existing One)” to readily express the meaning of His Name without making repeated explanations in articles. * = For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.

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