All I am my life defined
By I've been crucified with Christ
The life I live I live by faith
In Jesus Christ who lives in me
This is the chorus of “Life Defined” by Shane and Shane. The scriptural basis for this song comes from Galatians 2:20, which reads “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” this chapter follows Paul’s observation of Peter withdrawing himself from Gentiles and even arguably avoiding them. Paul points out that Peter’s actions were motivated by fear, which consequently caused other church leaders and even Gentiles to stumble. Peter was preaching a different gospel- a message of works and exclusiveness, while the true Gospel was at stake. Thus, Paul rebukes Peter by reminding him of the Gospel that they preach. The life changing Gospel should not only change but define the way that we live our lives.
“Life Defined” follows this need by calling us to remember the Gospel and preach it to ourselves and others as depicted in the bridge:
Remember His atoning
His body broken for me
Remember His approval
He gave His life to say so
Remember His appealing
My Lord is interceding
Remember if you have breath
To breathe it out and praise Him
The Gospel is the story of a holy God who created everything and made everything good. We are a part of His creation and He intended for us to live with Him. Because man disobeyed God and because God is holy however, we were separated from Him. Since then, the world has wondered how to cope with that separation. What is our purpose on Earth? Who are we? And the classic question of identity: Who am I? The message of the Gospel brings both a harsh and hopeful answer. In reality, there is nothing that we can do to make up the distance or separation between us and God. However, our hope lies in what God did for us. He bridged the gap by sending His own Son to die. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross paid an infinite price for our sins. His body was literally broken for us, an undeserved sacrifice for an undeserving many. And as Christ rose on the third day, he demonstrated a final victory for us: victory over death itself. So it is through Christ’s blood that God will see us at the end of the day, and it is in Christ that we may have life through death.
Now, how shall our lives be defined? Peter’s mistaken approach defined a limit for the Gospel, and in turn, limited the scope of our lives. It was a gospel that was for the “devout,” but not others. It was a message that inspired hypocrisy in those that believed it. Worse yet, it promoted an entirely human act - circumcision - as a prerequisite for the Gospel. We would do well to be reminded that the true Gospel is one that is not defined by limits, but one that defies limits. To embody that message would likewise lead one to live with infinite hope that the Gospel message transcends every social boundary imaginable. The true Gospel reveals to us the dual nature of humanity’s true situation: the infinite dredges of our sinful nature, and the still greater, all-encompassing nature of Christ’s blood, shed for us.
Christ defines our lives—not our works, strength, talents, or anything that we might build. A Christian’s life is defined by what God did. And it is all the more reason to praise Him with every breath we have.
- Victor Zou