“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 6:11
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’” - Matthew 16:24.
I think that so many times Christians profess to be dead to sin, but don’t profess to be dead to self. In other words, we celebrate our freedom from the chains of sin yet still live as though we can keep on sinning freely because ultimately we’ll be forgiven for it.
I’ve said this before: You can not have an authentic salvation experience and remain unchanged. The Bible says that if you are in Christ, meaning that if you have received and accepted the free gift of salvation, you are a new creation. This means that you have been created brand new. When Jesus resurrected Jairus’ daughter in the gospel of Mark, she had been made new. She had a new start. When He called out to Lazarus, “Come out!”, Lazarus was made new. When He restored the sight of the blind, the blind were made new.
Revelation 21:5 says that Jesus is “making all things new.” Are you seeing this? When you encouter the living God through the Way of Jesus, you are physically incapable of remaining the same. We can not be dead to sin yet alive to self.
Being dead to self is a radical thought. Being dead to self means that we become different. Why? Because being dead to self is what people notice.
Sure, people will notice if you don’t openly commit sins you may have been associated with in the past, but when your former self has been made new, your former existence, the person you were is no longer there, people notice.
And sometimes, they wonder why.
And because you’re dead to self, you tell them.
What do you say?
I feel sure the apostle Paul wouldn’t mind if you used his words if you’re having trouble coming up with what to say…
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. – Galatians 2:20
That’s why I live the way I do.
That’s why I’m different.
Would you ever say that to someone? Might you say it to someone today? If you have been made brand new and you’ve put the old self to death, then why not?
Being dead to self doesn’t mean that the enemy doesn’t still attempt to deceive us and tempt us. In fact, the opposite is true, especially of the Christian. We can’t deny the nature of our sin – accept that we are sinners, and accept that Jesus is our Savior. This is the only way we become “alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus didn’t die for us so that we could profess our faith in Him yet continue to live according to our own terms.
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live… – Deuteronomy 30:19
That’s Old Testament right there. That’s what Jesus taught as well. You either choose life or death. There is no middle-ground. You are either blessed or cursed.
What does the way you live say about what choice you have made?