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Are We Really Called to “Die To Self”?

Have you 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 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 its intended context, and, as we can see, that’s not at all what Paul meant. He is literally risking his life to share to the 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 selves. That verse is found in Romans 6:6 which 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 passed 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 was raised in a church setting where he frequently noticed that many attendees would eventually drift away. The church labeled these individuals as ‘back sliders’ or ‘fake Christians’ just looking for ‘fire insurance’. However, Mike realized the issue was rarely with these individuals but instead with the church’s message itself. The teachings heavily emphasized behavior improvement and one’s flaws, with only a fleeting mention of one’s identity in Christ. It felt as though every sermon was tailored to the church of Corinth, who as we know or committing sins that even unbelievers don’t partake in. This trend was noticeable not just in one denomination, but across Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, and many other churches. Upon understanding the true essence of the gospel – that our righteousness comes from Jesus’ actions, not our own – Mike was inspired to liberate believers from lifeless sermons and reconnect them with the genuine teachings of Jesus. He believes that one can nurture a vibrant and growing bond with Jesus, unhindered by rigid religious practices. And thus, “Jesus Without Religion” was born.

It turns out that it is grace that leads to repentance. And if our heart is to get others to walk in the Spirit and live a godly life, then the best approach is not a beat down sermon, but rather to remind other that it is only when we understand our true identity in Christ that we will live it out. Yes, it’s true, if you’re convinced that God thinks you’re a dirty sinner, you will ultimately continue a lifestyle that mirrors that view, but if you truly believe that even on your worst day, you are called holy, sanctified, justified, and will be presented blameless in the end, well, it turns out this is the secret to living out on the outside what has been worked in to the inside.


  • Michelle Posted July 12, 2021 8:12 pm

    Thank you for this excellent explanation of the false teaching to “die to self.” I’ve been trying to figure out how to best explain that the Bible does not teach this but you’ve done it for me. Thanks.

    • Jesus Without Religion Posted July 12, 2021 9:37 pm

      We thank you for the encouraging words

  • Theresa C. Brandon Posted August 3, 2021 8:34 am

    I also grew up in a legalistic church and always felt something was wrong. I searched the scriptures and discovered the truth about legalism. Then one day this dying to self was taught. I just couldn’t receive it. No way could I believe God was killing us off. How could He do that if he loved us. This has been tripping me up for years. I can smell legalism a mile away and what it does to believers angers me. Thanks for addressing this Truth. It’s not addressed enough.
    A sister in Christ

    • Jesus Without Religion Posted August 3, 2021 12:11 pm


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