Unraveling This Nonsense About “Dying To Self”
Have you heave heard the phrase ‘die to self”? The bible actually teaches us the funeral is done, we already died, and God is calling us to live to self and express our new identity in Christ.
Growing up in a legalistic setting I was often taught the FALSE importance of ‘dying to myself’ and I invested a good deal of my time trying to ‘kill myself off’ (in a manner of speaking) and ‘get out of Gods way’ so he could get something done. I saw myself as an enemy, or at least as an obstacle to God, and now I realize I had it all wrong.
‘DIE TO SELF’ – The Verse
One day I found myself searching the scriptures for a verse that would call us to die to self, and much to my surprise, it didn’t even exist. Die to self was a man-made teaching. Though, I was able to find the verse used to teach this theology. It comes from 1 Corinthians 15:31.
I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. – NIV
I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. – NASB
But don’t jump to conclusions too fast.
Here’s Why Really Paul ‘Die’s Daily”
If we were to study the actual context, we’d see Paul is not talking about ‘killing off his evil flesh’, aka ‘dying daily’. No, Paul is a devout follower of Christ, and as he travels the countryside to share the gospel he encounters DANGER and WILD BEASTS every day (hence, ‘I die daily’).
1 Corinthians 15:30:32:
Why are we also in danger every hour? 31 I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me?
So, what the legalists have done is elevated the verse outside of it’s intended context, and, as we can see, that’s not at all what Paul meant. He is literally risking his life to share to gospel. So, we see Paul is not saying ‘I’m so bad and I need to get out of the way and die daily so God can do some good’.
Aside from that verse, the argument for ‘dying daily’ has no legs to stand on.
There Was a Death….But it’s a One Time Dying
With that out of the way, I’d like you to take a look at some other kind of dying we do, which actually teaches us that we ALREADY died to our old self. That verse is found in Romans 6:6 that spoke of dying in past tense verbiage.
[Romans 6:6] “knowing this, that our old self WAS CRUCIFIED with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;”
It is true that there has to be a dying to self, but that’s exactly what salvation is. It’s a one-time event of being crucified with Christ, followed by being raised with Him and given a new heart with new desires. God doesn’t call for us to get out of His way, but instead he works in us and through us, together. We are one, in Christ!
So, the next time someone tells you to die to yourself, remember that it’s not in the bible and it is just a man-made message.
Can God Use Me as I am Now?
It is good to want to grow in our Christian walk, but you getting yourself (the new creation in Christ) out of the way is not the answer. The answer is to be yourself, and specifically I mean your new self, alive in Christ and made for good works in Christ (Ephesians 2:10). We need to believe that old things have past and new things have come, and as we renew our minds to this new way of thinking we will begin to discover that God actually really does love the new us and wants us to work with Him, hand in hand, and He’s not calling us to die over and over as if he recreated us as evil beings with evil hearts.
We can rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ. We can trust our new identity because it really is new, and the scriptures teach us that “as He is, so are we in this world” (see 1 John 4:17). Note, it didn’t say in heaven. It says ‘in this world’.
In fact, regarding dying to self, I think God’s word actually says the exact opposite and tells us we will never die again (spiritually).
[Romans 6:8-9] “Now if we HAVE DIED with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is NEVER TO DIE AGAIN”
Your funeral is done and over with. Now go live the new life that God Himself has given you. Amen!
Author: Mike Cynar
Mike Cynar grew up in church and observed that countless people would go to church and then just stop. The church always referred to them as ‘fake Christians’ or ‘backsliders’ but Mike discovered the problem was deeper. The problem was the church message. The message was 90% behavior improvement and how bad you are, with a pinch of who you are in Christ, It was like every sermon was being preached to the church of Corinth. It’s in the Baptist church, Catholic, Pentecost, and most every other church. After discovering the true gospel message and how we are made right with God because of what ‘Jesus did’ (not what ‘we do’) Mike set out to free believers from behavior improvement programs and bring them back to Jesus. The Result – Jesus Without Religion was launched.