Question:

What do these phrases mean?

  • I have been crucified with Christ
  • I am dead in Christ
  • I have died to Christ
  • I am dead to sin
  • I am dead in sin
  • I am resurrected with Christ

Answer:

Let's examine each phrase in the statement in which it was given:

I have been crucified with Christ

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

The phrase is an allusion to another statement of Paul's:

"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin" (Romans 6:3-7).

Paul is stating in Galatians 2:20 that when he was baptized, he "died" along with Christ. That is, through baptism he symbolically participated in the death of Christ upon the Cross. His old self, his man of sin, died, so he no longer lives for his fleshly desires; his life is dedicated to serving Jesus Christ.

Peter made a similar statement:

"Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God" (I Peter 4:1-2).

I am dead in Christ

The phrase as given does not appear in the Bible. The closest I can come is:

"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first" (I Thessalonians 4:17).

The phrase "dead in Christ" refers to to those who died while remaining faithful to Christ. One gets into Christ through baptism. As we cited before, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" (Romans 6:3). In other words, those who have been baptized gain fellowship with Jesus.

I have died to Christ

This phrase is not in the Bible. There are passages which state: "Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:2) and "For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God" (Romans 6:10). In these passages death means a separation. That is why God warned Adam and Eve, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Genesis 2:17). In one sense, they did not die that day -- though death entered the world because of their sin and they began the process of dying. But in another sense, they did die. Their sin separated them from God (Isaiah 59:2). And it was illustrated by God driving them out of the Garden where He walked.

I suppose you could reverse the concept and state that a person that leaves Christianity and returns to the world has died to Christ, but as I said before that is not how God chooses to word it.

It would be proper to say "I died with Christ."

"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him" (Romans 6:8).

"Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations?" (Colossians 2:20).

Both of these verse allude back to being baptized and that baptism representing joining Jesus in his death and thus separating ourselves from the world and its sins.

I am dead to sin

I managed to cover this in the section above. It means that I have put a barrier between me and sin by choosing to fight at the side of Jesus. "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:17). We are no longer interested in sin. Our focus is on serving our master.

I am dead in sin

This would be true for a person before they became a Christian. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:26).

"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24).

I am resurrected with Christ

Once again we come back to the symbolism of baptism:

"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin" (Romans 6:3-7).

When a person comes out of the water, he joins Jesus in his resurrection; just as when he when down into the water he joined Jesus in his death. Coming up out of the water symbolizes his taking on a new life and it symbolizes the promise of eternal life given to followers of Christ.