“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth 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.” (Galatians 2:20)
Like the Gnostics, Paul did not teach separation of the spirit from the desires of the body. Like the Stoics, he did not teach detachment from the emotions of the soul. His doctrine promoted crucifixion, not elimination, of desires and emotions.
What do we know of the crucified life? Many believers are wary of any teaching that pertains to the crucified life because it seems to have too much in common with asceticism. But the crucified life does not begin with our efforts to “still” the flesh; it begins with our entrance into the death and resurrection of Christ.
The crucified life is not one in which we live for ourselves. We live for Him who died and rose for us. We live for Him because we have died with Him. As surely as the thief on the cross was crucified with Christ, we have been crucified with Him as well. And as surely as the former thief lived for Him from that moment of death onward, so we have been raised to walk in newness of life. We, in all our self-will, no longer live. The life we now live is through Christ who dwells within us to reproduce His life of obedience to the Father.
What made Christ’s obedience to the Father possible was not the elimination of desire and emotion; but the living out of a life of true worship. It was a life of submission, where the Father’s will took precedence over His; the Father’s instruction had preeminence over His thoughts; and the Father’s glory was more important than His own reputation. Giving God power, honor and glory is the essence of a godly life.
The crucified life is one where ungodliness is denied and the life of true worship that Christ offered to the Father is ever before us. Obedience unto death is possible for us because it was what our Savior lived for, and what He died to usher us into.