From a lonely, cold prison cell, they begin the walk. A prisoner, accompanied by the warden and several guards, walks toward the end of his life. A condemned man, he is minutes away from his just punishment. He was found guilty, and now his crime is about to cost him everything, including his entire future.
“Dead man walking!” The cry is heard through the halls, announcing the inevitable. The prisoner is alive, but that is soon to change.
For a few minutes, it’s as though this man is suspended between life and death. Although he’s still alive, he has been condemned to die. He is a walking dead man.
In many ways, the Bible describes the Christian experience in similar terms. Paul said it this way: “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 KJV).
“Crucified.” The word signifies the cruel execution of a condemned life. Paul had joined himself to the death of a condemned Man: Jesus. Paul had received divine justice by faith. It was a justice that condemned him to death for his sins, and by faith he had died the death of the Cross.
Paul confidently accepted his sentence and, by virtue of Christ’s death, satisfied divine justice, finding his own place of freedom. It is as though Paul announced, “I am dead, the Law has killed me, and I am now free from its power. In my virtual death, I have borne the curse, and by faith in my Substitute, all that the Law required of me has been executed upon me.”
Think about it, death is liberating! It frees a person from every debt, from all physical weakness and disease. In Christ, the believer can also be liberated from all feelings of guilt and emotional pain attached to past issues. Spiritual death frees us from all that sin has done to us.
The old corrupt nature was buried and, with it, all that has kept us from God’s presence and fullness. Paul went on to say, “Nevertheless I live.” Although he was clearly dead, he was more alive than he’d ever been. Dead, yet very alive! We have been crucified, yet at the same time we are risen with Christ into a new resurrected life.
The accuser will try to fill us with guilt from all the things we have or have not done. But how can we be guilty if the price has been fully paid by accepting the sacrifice of the One who gave Himself for us?
In the eyes of God, we are not guilty. We cannot allow the weight of the enemy’s accusations to become a burden that paralyzes our Christian walk. There is no more record of our sins and our transgressions of God’s Law. We are acquitted and free! God is not holding our sin against us. He has freed us from living condemned by any sin. We are now alive in Christ and have received rightstanding in the presence of our holy God.