Updated: Feb 7, 2022
Self-sacrifice seems like a great religious practice right? Didn't Jesus say to His disciples that they would need to deny themselves in order to follow Him?
Well, today we find Christianity preaching a message that Jesus never preached. Die to self, die daily, and deny yourself, are all found nowhere in the scripture specifically.
The best question we could ever ask ourselves is what does this have to do with The Gospel? We need to remember that Christianity is not a checklist of things to do. Christianity is nothing other than a person. Jesus is Christianity. Christianity is Jesus. How does that apply to us? It applies in the form of Christ within you!
When one accepts the work of Christ on their behalf, He promised that His Spirit would then indwell that person and He would never leave. Then, something else happens!! That person is spiritually born again and they bear the spiritual DNA of God Himself. They are literally a child of God. This not figurative. Being born again by The Spirit of God is literal.
So, if we are new at the core why would we deny ourselves? Wouldn’t that mean that our desires are now God’s desires? Yes it does! As born again children of God we now share in God's nature.
2 Peter 1:4 (KJV) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
We are new creatures. We do not need to deny ourselves. We are the new self!
So, what about when Jesus said deny yourself, and take up the cross? This is mentioned in passages such as Matthew 16:23, Luke 9:23 and Mark 8:34. Again, the error we find in the average interpretation of these passages is the context tends to be ignored. The greater context of these passages is very important.
Jesus is speaking to His disciples at that time in these passages, and it is prior to the cross. We do not take up a cross today as His followers. He already did that for us. We do not take up His cross. We are a product of His cross.
Gal 2:20 KJV "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
We need to stop trying to do what Jesus has already done for us. The finished work of Christ for us and to us is just that, finished!
I Die Daily
Yet another instance where the phrase, "dying to self" seems to have come from but was also taken out of context is when Paul says to the Corinthians that he dies daily. Upon even a quick examination of this passage we can see that He is not referring to anything relating to himself as in trying to crucify himself or anything morbidly related to trying to deny himself.
1Co 15:30-32 KJV "And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die."
It is clear that Paul is referring to the many dangers he has experienced as a travelling Apostle, and particularly the one at Ephesus (Acts 19). He is not speaking here of "dying to self". Paul faced physical death on a regular occasion because of his calling and mission.
The truth of The New Covenant is that we are to consider ourselves already crucified, buried and risen with Christ.
Rom 6:6, 11 KJV "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. …Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
This is what Jesus was telling His disciples. The point was for them to one day be able to identify with the fact that they have been crucified with Christ. This had not yet taken place. However, this truth is at the very center of the Gospel message. We are immersed (baptized) into Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.
Col 2:12-13 KJV "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"
My friend, if you have believed in Jesus you are not the old self. You are a new creature that has been united with Jesus at the core of your being. Now, let us walk in this newness of life.