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Surrender Part 3: What Does “Dying to Self” mean?

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Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? (Rom 6:2)

A Living Sacrifice ~ Dead to Sin ~ Crucified with Christ

These are all difficult ideas to grasp. Yet it is a repeated theme in the New Testament and essential if we want to live God’s way. We often call it dying to self.

In this surrender series, I’ve talked about why we should, why we don’t and how to become more willing to submit. Getting our minds wrapped around these biblical terms will help us learn how to truly live by dying to self.

So what does dying to self mean?

First, understand that this is done in the spiritual realm and it’s not something we do. It is something that has already been done by Christ.

The Lord Jesus has already put our sinful nature to death when we accepted Him as our Savior. At the moment of our salvation, our old sinful nature is crucified with Christ and we are given a new nature—one like His.

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. (Gal 2:20)

 …Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Cor 5:17)

Before salvation we were slaves to sin, but now we have been set free from the controlling power of the sinful nature over us. It’s a done deal. The old nature is still present after salvation, but it has been made ineffective and inactive (Rom 6:6-7).

So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. (Rom 6:11)

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities [Satan and his demons]. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. (Col 2:13-15, emphasis mine)

We have no power to overcome sin’s hold on us. That’s God’s job, accomplished by Christ at Calvary.

Our role is to recognize that our sinful nature is dead and act accordingly.

When we “die to self,” we are choosing to live out of our new godly nature. And we will want to surrender because the will of our new nature is the same as God’s will. Through Christ we have become partakers of His nature (2 Pet 1:4).

Note, that it is our sinful nature that has been put to death—not our personality, emotions, abilities, or mind. Rather, they have been placed under new management. We are transferring the right and control of these things from the old self to God. It is His right now since He bought us with His precious blood. He owns us. We are under new management—His.

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So until next time my friends, take time to ponder these difficult-to-grasp principles. The Holy Spirit will give you understanding. Read all of Romans 6 and 7 where the Apostle Paul expounds on these freeing truths, and you too will be more equipped and willing to die to yourself and become alive unto Christ!

For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. (Rom 6:4)

 

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

 

What It Means to Abide in Christ—One more Key Point: Dying to Self

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Last week I explained to you what I thought it meant to abide in Christ.

It means:

  • Living with Jesus
  • Living in His Word
  • Living out in obedience

But I need to add one more. Last week was Passion Week. While contemplating upon the sobering truths of Christ’s last days on earth, the Lord showed me I was missing a key point. Abiding in Christ also means…

Dying to self

We may not like this fact, but truth is truth. So the question becomes: What does “dying to self” mean? And how do we do it? Jesus shows us.

He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness…. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Phil 2:7-8)

“Dying to self” means giving up:

  • our lives
  • our way of doing things
  • our desires
  • our will

…over to the One who paid the price.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with actually doing this. Gratefully, God has shown me a key truth so that I can.

The phrase “die to self,” which we Christians often use, implies that it’s something we do. However, it’s something that has already been done by Christ.

A better and more accurate way to look at it would be that the Lord Jesus has already put our sinful nature to death when we accepted Him as our Savior. At the moment of our salvation, our old sinful nature is crucified with Christ and we are given a new god-like nature.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)*

…Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Cor 5:17)**

On the cross, Christ disarmed the power of sin over us (Col 2:15). We don’t have to sin! We can choose not to if we are living in Christ and in His power.

Abiding in Christ means not giving into the control of our sinful self which is dead, but giving that control to Christ who is alive.

Before Christ became the God-man, He lived in perfect unity with the Father and Holy Spirit. When He became a man, He also abided in complete harmony with Them for He was always obedient. (Jn 8:29)

However, when He willingly took our sins upon Himself, Jesus relinquished the most precious thing He had—fellowship with the Godhead. The Father had to turn away; He is holy and pure and cannot associate with the ugliness of sin (Is 59:2; Hab 1:13).

Christ temporarily died to His greatest joy of having perfect communion with His Father, so that we could have communion with the Father. So that we could live in harmony with the triune God—both now and forevermore (Heb 12:2).

Therefore, my friends,

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.

SO

Consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. (Rom 6:5, 11)**

 

For a deeper explanation of dying to self, see chapter 2 of my book From the Vertical to the Horizontal: Empowered to Relate to People God’s Way.

*Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

**Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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