Do believers have to ‘DIE TO SELF’ to be saved or to remain saved? We here this phrase all the time don’t we?
Yet, can I ask a question? Where does that phrase read in the Bible? In reality, it actually does not even exist as a phrase in the entire Bible.
Now, we need to put off the old man, our old Adam/Flesh thinking and renew our mind by the Word of God. This is repenting (changing our minds) about many things according to the truth of the Word of God. It causes an inward change in our thinking and beliefs and that works it’s way outward into our lives. I agree with that completely.
But, there is just something about the ‘die to self‘ phrase being thrown around so often these days that many say we must do to be saved or remain saved, because what I read in the Bible is that my old self is ALREADY DEAD as a believer. In fact the Bible teaches that we have been given a NEW SELF called The Spirit which is the very seed of God (1 John 3:9) and it cannot sin.
That is not to say that we do not sin as believers. We still reside within this corrupt body and we still have wrong thinking about many things in the mind which Apostle Paul calls The Flesh (or sometime referred to by some as the Adam Sin nature) but God circumcised the SIN off the new real us now, our Spirit. The Spirit is the real us now and we are a New Creation in Christ which is at war with The Flesh, in our minds.
Yet, as Apostle Paul taught in Romans 7, verses 17 and 20… it is not our Spirit (our new self) that wants to, nor sins. It is The Flesh. And God severed the Flesh from our spirit when He made us a new creation in Christ.
That is why at physical death, our Spirit goes to be with the Lord. It has no sin. It is perfect and Holy, fully redeemed and complete in Christ. Yet, our flesh, our body, it cannot inherit the kingdom of God because it is corrupt with this THING called sin. (Note: In Romans, the word SIN is a noun mostly! It is a THING.)
What I see in the Bible, what Apostle Paul taught, is that God gave us a new heart, a new self, and WE DIED (past tense) with Christ. Did you know that as a believer in Christ? Our Salvation begins with death. Apostle Paul tells us that “the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23 KJV). But not just Jesus’ death! As believers, our old self died with Him on the cross!
In fact, we were buried with Christ and we rose again with Christ in the new created Spirit. We are right now as believers, COMPLETE IN HIM, in The Spirit.
“9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12 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.
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” (Colossians 2:9-14 KJV)
So yes, we put off our old Flesh sinful ways. Yes, we strive to not do what The Flesh/Adam thoughts we have, tempt us to do. In that sense, we sort of ‘die to self‘. I get that. But that really is dying to our OLD SELF. But the phrase, kinda goes against the way to say that because the language in the Bible tells us we died with Christ.
Maybe I am picky on the wording because I know MOST believers use this phrase describing our struggle with the old sin nature thoughts we have after Salvation.
And then I hear some preachers using ‘you must die to self!’ …. as if that is how we get saved or stay saved; by our SELF righteous efforts. They take this phrase to mean the very opposite of the Gospel of Grace Through Jesus Christ, which is without works required, but is a GIFT to be received or rejected. (Eph. 2:8-9)
Maybe it’s just me. Yet, maybe it is something we should think about before telling others to ‘die to self’.
This phrase confuses new believers. A more accurate phrase would be, ‘our old self died with Christ so why walk it the old self ways? It is not who we are anymore. We are now IN CHRIST. And Christ is living IN US.