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What does is mean that “it is no longer I who live” in Galatians 2:20?

it is no longer I who live

In Galatians 2:20, the apostle Paul makes a brief yet powerful statement about the believer’s identity in Christ. Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (ESV). Here, Paul articulates the implications of being crucified with Christ.

When Paul says, “It is no longer I who live,” he is referring to the radical change that occurs when sinners place their faith in the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. It is the same kind of change that Jesus spoke of during His conversation with Nicodemus: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, ESV; see also verse 5). Being born again does not mean that we “turn over a new leaf” by changing one or two things about ourselves. Instead, it signifies a brand-new life. We have been crucified with Christ, and we have died to our “old self” that used to define us: “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6, ESV).

When Paul says, “It is no longer I who live,” he is stating his own self-effacement for the sake of Christ. The change that Jesus produces in our hearts is so complete that it’s almost like we’re not ourselves anymore. The change is so overwhelming, it’s like we have a new identity, and that identity is Christ.

Next, Paul says, “Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Simply put, this means that Christ is the source of our lives and our identity. While Christ is physically absent from the world, He continues to abide with us through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who empowers and enables us to pursue righteousness and bear fruit that leads to eternal life (Galatians 5:22–23). In fact, the fruit of the Spirit is proof that we belong to Christ (Romans 8:9–11).

Though we have physical bodies and continue to struggle with sin (Romans 7:7–25), Christ has thoroughly and radically transformed the way we operate our lives. We used to be self-reliant and self-righteous sinners. Now, we live by faith, love, and hope (1 Corinthians 13:13). The faith that Paul speaks of in Galatians 2:20 is not blind faith, but an intimate and personal experience of Christ’s love. Christ not only says that He loves us, but He has shown it through His actions: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, ESV). God’s love for us, then, is the foundation of our lives. The believer can say, “It is no longer I who live” because of the miraculous way his life has been transformed. Our former self and our sinful state are part of the old way of living. We are dead to sin, having been spiritually crucified with Christ.

The Message has a helpful paraphrase of Galatians 2:19–21: “I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not ‘mine,’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.”

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What does is mean that “it is no longer I who live” in Galatians 2:20?
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This page last updated: April 23, 2024