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Why ‘Crucifying Self’ Is Key to the Good Life (A Bible Study on Galatians 6:14)

January 30, 2023
00:00 18:55
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Today we’re exploring the highest call we have in following Jesus: what it means to crucify the self. Why does the call to Christ have to seem so wholesale, so violent, so destructive to ourselves? Why does following Christ have to feel like a death? How do we reconcile being made in the image of God with this sense that we are worthless?

Let’s explore all of that together today. You can find the full show notes at

Secrets of the Good Life Series:

Week 1: The First Secret of the Good Life: Consider God
Week 2: Confess and Receive: The Second Secret of the Good Life (Psalm 51)
Week 3: How to Fight Fear: The Third Secret of the Good Life

Week 4: Joy Is Not a Feeling You Wait For; It’s a Choice You Make (Philippians 4:4-7)

Galatians 6:14

14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.


What questions does it generate in me? If you try to re-write this in your own words, what do you come up with? What is Paul trying to get us to see and understand in this analogy?


Is this a train of thought or a point of teaching that we find repeated in Scripture? 

Cross references: 1 Corinthians 2:2; Philippians 3, Romans 6:6


Let’s put these cross-references together to get a clearer picture of what Paul is talking about:

1 Corinthians 2:2-5: For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified… so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

There are two systems at work in the world: human wisdom and human strength, and then there is this whole other system: God’s power

Philippians 3:3-9

For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence… But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 

According to the system of the world, Paul had everything. But after Christ, everything worldly is considered garbage. Not only are there two systems in the world, but having operated in both, he finds system of Christ so good that everything else seems like a loss.

Romans 6:6-7

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—  because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

When we die to the way of the world, we are no longer slaves to the things the world demands. You don’t have to be or earn or prove anything. How do we enter this completely different system through the cross of Jesus Christ?

This is where the sacrament of communion comes in. “His body was broken so that we can have access to God through him.” But there is a cost to us. We don’t just enter this new system without a cost – and the cost is that we crucify the self.


To crucify self is to let go of an entire system of action and being and feeling, and to enter into an entirely different system. This system is so glorious, so freeing and so powerful, that you will look back on your old self and think, “I can’t believe I used to operate that way. I operated in bondage to what people thought of me, to achievement, to unforgiveness and bitterness and anger.”

When we crucify that old self, we crucify these things in the old system. When we sacrifice that system of living, we find there is only freedom on the other side.

Romans 12:2<

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Meet Your Host
Meet Your Host
Nicole Unice is a Bible teacher, author, and passionate communicator who delights in bringing God’s Word to life in a personal and relevant way. Her training as a counselor informs her work, as she emphasizes the importance of facing our own reality and embracing the transforming power of God’s grace. Nicole is ordained as a teaching elder in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Her latest book, “Help, My Bible is Alive” is a 30-day experience designed to help people experience God through the Bible.

Nicole has spent twenty years serving the local church, first in student ministry (where she’s never lost her love of a great group game) and then leading start-ups of all kinds, from leadership development to capital campaigns. She now teaches and consults with churches and ministries to strengthen their stories and cut through confusion to discover the next right steps for success.
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