Many might think that Christianity is a set of rules or laws to be followed. Or perhaps a moral code of conduct for man to live by. This however could not be further from the truth of what Christianity is.
Christianity could be summed up in one verse: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..." (Galatians 2:20)
Firstly, we are called to die to sin and to die to the world and all its lusts. This is what it means to crucify ourselves with Christ. It is different than stopping sin. Dying to sin means not only to stop sinning, but also to absolutely reject and hate sin itself. If there is any part of me that still loves sin, even though I may stop sinning for a while, the love of sin is still in my heart. This love of sin needs to completely die first. In order to do this we must first push ourselves and God's grace will complete and perfect. Once we have the grace of God supporting us it will be easy to reject sin.
Secondly, "it is no longer I..." means that we have to deny ourselves and say with John the Baptist "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). Even if a Christian is able to completely die to sin, he must realize that it was not with his own power or self-control. It is only by the grace of God that we can do anything. Christ clearly teaches us that "without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). And again Christ says "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)
Lastly, "Christ lives in me..." is the ultimate goal of Christianity. God made man in His image and His likeness (Genesis 1:26). After the fall however, this image was ruined. God didn't leave us in this state, but out of His love He was incarnate to restore this original image. And now through the grace of Baptism, we "put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27). St. Athanasius says "He took what is ours and gave us what is His." To be Christian is to be Christ-like. It is to live the life of Christ, have the mind of Christ and do the work of Christ.
This is in summary the meaning of Christianity. It is to crucify the old man that the new one would live.
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