Galatians 5:24 (ESV)
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
This is a simple statement, but it speaks to a grand reality. Paul reminds us that for those belonging to Christ, that is every Christian, we all share in this glorious truth. And what is that truth? That we have crucified the flesh with all of its passions and desires. So all Christians have done this through our faith in Jesus.
But what does it mean to crucify the flesh of its passions and desires? We first have to remember that we are all born sinners, in the flesh. Our sinful nature is to do what we love, which is to sin continually. We follow the desires and the passions of our flesh uninhibited. Jesus said that all who sin are slaves to sin. Since we all have sinned, that means we are all slaves to sin. We are all in need of a Savior to break the chains that bind us. Sin separates us from God, who is the source and definition of goodness in the universe. Our sinful flesh always over promises and underdelivers. Sin is a cruel master that promises pleasure but provides destruction.
Secondly, notice what Paul says here in this verse. Crucifying the flesh and sin-killing is not optional for the Christian. Paul doesn’t say, some Christians have crucified the flesh, and some others live consumed in the flesh. No, all Christians have and must continue to kill sin and its evil desires. To conquer sin is the definition of a Christian.
So what does it mean to crucify the flesh? To crucify the flesh is to literally put to death the sin in our lives. Jesus has accomplished this for us. However, we still live in the flesh, even though we have His Spirit. That means there is a continual war against our flesh and our spirit that we must wage. We must wage an all-out war against sin in our lives. What does an all-out war look like? It means to choose the greater desire of holiness compared to the shallow desire of sin. We must have a stronger passion for Jesus than a passion for evil.
But here’s the reality of our natural state; we don’t have the strength or ability to kill this master of sin on our own. But the unbelievably good news is that we don’t crucify our flesh in our own power. Jesus has given all Christians, His spirit. The Holy Spirit provides us with the desire and ability to kill the sin in our lives and to grow in holiness. One of His many roles in our lives is to make us more like Christ, so He is on our side. He will help you kill sin!
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Holy Spirit!
Don’t fall back into the slavery of sin. Christ has set you free! Use your liberty and His spirit to kill sin and its passions. We must have Jesus as our greater passion and love Him with all our hearts, mind, and soul.