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Not I. But Christ.

"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)

This was one of Levi's life verses, and the verse he chose to have inscribed on the "purity ring" we gave him; which ring I then placed on my finger after our amazing boy took his leave.

3 observations: 1) The first clause in this verse is so startlingly revolutionary, we often never really go far beyond just that incredible fact in our thoughts -- the fact of our co-crucifixion with Christ (blessed are they who even get THAT far!) 2) The word translated "faith" in the second half may just as legitimately be translated "faithfulness." That would make it read, "and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the FAITHFULNESS of the Son of God." That's HIS faithfulness; not mine. [NOTE: though modern translations have "faith IN the Son of God," there really is no word "in" in the original Greek for this verse. It is genitive case, not dative or locative: literally "faith OF the Son of God." That sounds odd to us, so translators substituted the word "in." But think of it as similar to taking "a drink OF water," or "a breath OF fresh air." Faith OF the Son of God is faith that latches on to, seizes hold of and fully embraces Christ as its object. Or, translate it as "faithfulness" instead of faith, and the difficulty is resolved]

This happens to line up perfectly with the idea of Christ actually LIVING in me. It then rightly puts the emphasis on CHRIST, rather than on me -- since He truly lives IN ME, I now live by relying upon HIS faithfulness to live HIS life THROUGH me. 3) Whether we translate the Greek word pistis as "faith" or "faithfulness," if it's really true that Christ lives in me (and it is God's infallible Word that tells me He does!), then this is an incredibly profound reality that ought to totally captivate my heart, radicalize my life, and encourage and excite me to no end.

The only question remaining would be: Do I dare BELIEVE this? (Actually, the more apt question might be, "dare I attempt to live the Christian life and NOT believe it?")

A note I wrote to myself years ago as I was contemplating this for myself: Life in this world is better when lived by a power BEYOND this world: the power of Christ living in me. Or, if you want your life to be the most beautiful music possible, step aside and let the COMPOSER play the instrument.

Four powerful words defined the lives and ministries of a number of the great servants of God whose memories we cherish: Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, Andrew Murray, Jonathan Goforth, Jim Elliot, and others. The four words sum up the very heart of Galatians 2:20. Not I. BUT CHRIST.

""In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only-begotten Son into the world , that we might live through Him" (I John 4:9).

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