How did Jesus die? Do you remember? What do you know about dying on a cross?
How did Jesus die?
That’s right, Jesus died on a cross. He was crucified. The Romans invented crucifixion as a way to put to death the worst of the worst criminals. When a person was crucified they did not die quickly. They died very, very slowly. It was a terribly painful way to die. And not only was it physical torture, it was also the death of a slave – someone who nobody liked or respected.
When it comes to being a Christian the Bible tells us that we “have been crucified with Christ.” Of course, not literally. We weren’t on the wooden cross with Jesus. But when Jesus died for our sins his crucifixion has been made our own crucifixion. This is great news! Why? Because it means that our sins are completely paid for by the cross. It means we will not ever be judged by God again for our sins – we already were judge with Jesus on the cross.
But crucifixion means something else for us today. Right now.
Crucifixion is picture of how we learn to stop sinning. The Apostle Paul tells us to crucify our “flesh.” Do you remember what our “flesh” is? It is not our body like you might think. It is our selfishness. It is that part inside of us that wants its own way, and complains, and fusses at everyone. Our “flesh” is that part of us that is tempted to cheat, or lie, or steal, or even be good in order to show off.
Listen to what Paul tells the Galatians about their flesh:
Galatians 5:24-25. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
He tells us that we have crucified our flesh and its sinful desires. Do you remember what we said about crucifixion? That it is slow and painful?
And that’s what dealing with your sin will always be like to. Like a crucifixion. It will be slow and painful at times. It’s hard to stop being grouchy. Or to stop being jealous. Or to stop being overly competitive. Or to stop being a know-it-all.
But whenever you trust that Jesus loves you know matter what you are putting another nail into your sinful flesh on its cross. Whenever you believe that God is for you and that you don’t have to be selfish to be happy, then you are killing the sin in your heart.
So keep killing the sin inside your flesh. Keep thinking about Jesus’ love for you on the cross and each time you do your selfishness will die a little bit more.
Because of Jesus we have been crucified with Christ.
With Jesus we can crucify our flesh.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Galatians 5:25 tells us to keep in step with the Spirit. Play a game of “Follow the leader.” Talk about how we are empowered by Jesus and his love to follow the Spirit and love others like he does.
Help me to stop sinning, not by trying to be good, but by trusting that you love me no matter what (and then trying to be good).
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