In Galatians 5:24, Paul wrote, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Have you ever considered the intensity of what he wrote? We are to “crucify” the flesh. Not pound, beat, or smash, but CRUCIFY! Why did Paul use this language?
Paul said “crucify” because we must think about the cross. The crucifixion was a strategic effort to silence, discredit and eradicate Jesus. He was nailed to a cross and left to writhe in pain. He was tortured and murdered horribly. Therefore, what was done to Jesus is what must be done to the works of the flesh. We must silence, discredit, and eradicate them.
Additionally, Paul said “crucify” because we must get away from the edge of sin. Many in the Lord’s body are “close enough” Christians. Not really modest but “close enough.” Not really clean of speech but “close enough.” Not really pure of heart but “close enough.” Close enough that they don’t think that anyone will call them on it, but Paul said CRUCIFY. Have nothing to do with the lust of the flesh.
Finally, Paul said “crucify” because the crucifixion is synonymous with obedience. It is the deepest and most profound sense of obedience. This is why Jesus Christ calls us to take up the cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23), and Paul likened obedience to being crucified with Christ and allowing Christ to live within us (Gal. 2:20). The Hebrew writer tells us that Jesus was made perfect by His obedience (Heb. 5:8-9), and if we obey him, we will be too! So, we should understand that crucifying the flesh requires the deepest and most profound sense of obedience. It’s a serious matter.
If you don’t yet understand what Paul meant when he said, “crucify the flesh”, imagine the hostile intent of the Jews as they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” That same hateful intent is seen in Paul towards sin when he writes, “crucify the flesh.” If you do this, you’ll understand what to do.