In Romans (12:1-2), Paul explains that we, as the Church, are to “present ourselves as living sacrifices, which is acceptable and pleasing to God” and that we are not to be “conformed to the religious patterns of this economy [which is unacceptable and unpleasing to God], but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can figure out what God’s will is.” This transformation comes not by attempting to follow Christ by our own best efforts – this is the religious pattern – but by experiencing the killing power of the cross by taking on the Cruciform (the Form of the Crucifixion of Christ on the Cross).
In Philippians, the founding principal for the Form of the Crucifixion is Chapter 3:10-11: “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (NASB)
“Being conformed to His death” is the means by which we know and experience Christ. It is necessary in knowing the power of His resurrection – in this life; the resurrection life of Christ lived in us. In the sharing of His sufferings (the pain of the flesh being killed) we attain the resurrection from the dead – the resurrection that is eschatological, at the end of things – as well. Thus, in the Cruciform, we live in the power of the resurrection life of Christ, now, which then ensures us of the resurrection of the body, later, in the end. God’s plan and purpose is for the “Christian” is to conform, not to the life of Christ, but to Christ’s death (Rom. 8:29).
How we conform to His death is explained in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (CEB)
While it is true that Christ was crucified for our sins, according to Paul in Galatians 5:24, Christians are also crucified, as it were, to kill the power of the flesh: “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (NASB)
Speaking of his-self as an example to be mimicked, in Galatians 6:14 Paul says: “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (NASB)
And again, speaking collectively of all Christians, Paul explains in Romans 6:6-7 that: “This is what we know: The person that we used to be was crucified with Him in order to get rid of the corpse that had been controlled by sin. That way we wouldn’t be slaves to sin anymore, because a person who has died has been freed from sin’s power.” (CEB)
So, the means of escaping our sin nature – our religious patterns – and to really knowing Jesus Christ, then, is to experience the killing power of the cross (Rom. 6:1-5; 8:6, 10, 17; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:11-12, 20). We – our old fallen natures – are still nailed to the killing cross. We – our new natures – are really Christ living in us in the power of His resurrection life. “Always bearing in the (individual) body the deadness of Jesus, so that the life supply of the resurrected Christ may be apparent in our (collective) body” (2Cor. 4:10).