Gal. 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
To hear Paul say these words in his day had to be quite disturbing. All of his hearers had experienced the uncomfortable feeling of walking past a series of dead or dying men dying the death of crucifixion. Crying in agony, cursing, it had to be one of the worst experiences of their lives. Why was Paul talking about dying on a cross? Was he saying all of us had to be crucified? Actually, he was. He wanted all of us to realize how serious our problem is. Fallen man cannot please God. Our old nature can’t be reformed, it has to die. So the point is this, our testimony is not that we are doing better but we have died and Christ now lives in us. Here is how. Andrew Murray sees it.
“Paul says that his only glory “is that in Christ he has been crucified to the world” and entirely freed from its power. This is not only a spiritual truth, but also an actual, practical experience in relation to the world and its temptations. Christ had spoken of the world hating Him, and of His having overcome the world. Paul knows that when the world crucified Christ, he himself had been nailed to the cross with Him. He boasts that he now lives as one crucified to the world, and that the world, as an impotent enemy, was now crucified to him. Many Christians today agree that they ought not to commit the sins of which the world approves. Yet they choose to remain on friendly terms with the world, and feel at liberty to enjoy its pleasures as long as they refrain from committing open sin. They do not realize that the most dangerous source of sin is the love of the world with its lusts and pleasures.”
So Paul’s hearers had a living parable living in front of them every time they happened on a Roman crucifixion. Not only did they remember the death of their Lord, they remembered Paul’s words, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”. They knew now they no longer belonged to this world, they were dead to it. Today, we too need to be reminded not only of the death of Christ but our death as well. We too are crucified with Christ.