On January 30, 1973, Patrice Tamao of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, allowed himself to be nailed to a cross “as a sacrifice for world peace and understanding among men.”
As thousands watched on television, six-inch stainless steel nails were driven through his hands and feet. Tamao had planned to remain on the cross for 48 hours, but after only 20 hours he had to cut short his voluntary crucifixion because of an infection in his right foot.
The next day a newspaper headlined the event: “Crucifixion-for-peace falls short.”
If you’ve never heard of Tamao, the reason is simple. He failed in his effort to produce peace on earth or between God and the human race. Jesus, however, “The Prince of Peace, was crucified that we might receive inner peace and enjoy peace with God.
God doesn’t ask for his to be laterally crucified to be saved. Only Christ could do that. But there is a spiritual sense in which we are called to be “crucified with Christ.”
In one of the great verses of the Bible The apostle Paul said,”I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life 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).
To be crucified with Christ is to put to death “our old self” (Rom. 6:6) so that the body of sin might be done away with” It is to crucify sinful lusts, selfish desires, and sensual activities.
Bill Gaither’s hymn, “Thanks for Calvary” expresses it in these words:
Today, I went down to the place where I used to go
Today, I saw the same old crowd I knew before
And when they asked me what had happened, I tried to tell them
Thanks to Calvary, I don’t come here anymore.
Thanks to Calvary I am not the man I used to be
Thanks to Calvary things are different than before
And as the tears ran down my face I tried to tell them
Thanks to Calvary, I don’t live here anymore.
Paul is reminding us that Christ did for him, and us, what none of us can do for ourselves! Yet, through our acceptance of and obedience to His gospel we can enjoy union with Christ.
When we experience “spiritually crucifixion” and become dead to sin, paradoxically, we live! We are able to live an abundant life in Christ. A life of pardon. Peace. Power. Purity. And purpose.
It is a life of faith. Through faith we realize that Christ did for us what none of us can do for ourselves! Our faith in The Faith gives us access to God. Through our acceptance of and obedience to His gospel we can enjoy union with Christ. It allows us to live by faith. Walk by faith. And die in faith.
Christianity about spiritual crucifixion with Christ. A Missouri preacher, Roger Thomas, compares the Christian life to a glove. A glove by itself is just an empty shell. But when filled with the hand, the glove takes on life and power. We are the glove. Alone we are empty and powerless. But when Christ, “the hope of glory” is in us, we are alive! Powerful! Potent! And productive!
Rob Frazier, a contemporary Christian artist, expressed it this way in a song entitled, “He doesn’t want you better, He wants you deader”
Dead to the world’s wickedness. Dead to devil’s bondage. Dead to sin’s enslavement.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman