Christ came and died on the cross to deliver you from sin’s penalty. However, to be delivered from sin’s power, you must die to self daily.
- “I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”—1 Corinthians 15:31 (emphasis added)
The Key Concept of the Cross
The blood of Jesus is for your forgiveness. The cross is for your deliverance. The blood forgives you of sin’s penalty (Ephesians 1:7). The cross delivers you from sin’s power (Galatians 2:20, Luke 9:23).
- “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”—Ephesians 1:7
- “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”—Galatians 2:20
- “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’”—Luke 9:23
The Bible says that in Jesus, you have redemption and forgiveness of sin through His blood. The blood is associated with the forgiveness of sins. The cross is used differently in Scripture. It is not associated specifically with forgiveness of sins (plural) but rather it delivers you from sin (singular).
This is the nature of Galatians 2:20. Paul said that he was in Christ when He died and that he died with Him. And he lived because Christ, who was raised from the dead, lived in and through him. Paul was saying, “Christ has delivered me from me!”
As you come to the cross, it has the power to deliver you from you. Only as you go through the process of giving up the rights to your life and choosing to die to self daily, can you live for Jesus!
Jesus said in Luke 9:23 that if anyone desires to follow Him, they must take up their cross daily. Jesus took up a cross for us once in history to deliver us from sin’s penalty. Now we take up a cross for Him too, which will deliver us from sin’s power daily.
3 Crosses in Christianity
- The cross on which Christ was crucified for you.
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?”
—Galatians 3:1 (emphasis added)
This cross delivers you from sin’s penalty and purchases your freedom.
- The cross on which you were crucified with Christ.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
—Galatians 2:20 (emphasis added)
This cross delivers you from sin’s power and gives you the ability to walk in victory.
- The cross on which the world was crucified to you.
“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
—Galatians 6:14 (emphasis added)
This is the die-to-self daily cross. This cross says, “The world is not my home. There is nothing this world can give me that I need or want.” Then you start living with eternity rather than the temporal in mind.
So then, what does it look like to take up your cross and die to self daily?
4 Steps | Take Up Your Cross and Die to Self Daily
- Know what God says.
You can’t grow if you don’t know God’s Word. You must know that spiritually you were in Christ when He died. Because you were in Him, you also died with Him. Your old man or your sin nature was crucified and lost dominion over you.
- “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”—Romans 6:1-7 (emphasis added)
Grace is not liberty to sin; it is liberty from sin. It is not a license to sin, as some have used it. If your heart is to use grace as a license to sin, that is rebellion, which opens you to judgment. If you want to walk in the grace of God, you must choose to walk in the truth of God.
When you are fully immersed in water, you are baptized in the likeness of His death and raised in the glorious likeness of His resurrection. Baptism is a picture of the new life under the resurrection and not under the law of sin and death.
Takeaway: You need to know you were crucified with Christ so that sin no longer has dominion in your life. Christ’s finished work on the cross forgave you of sin’s penalty and delivered you from sin’s power!
- Believe what God says.
Knowing what God says is the first step, but unless you believe it, it does nothing.
- “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.”—Romans 6:11-12
Appropriate the promises of God by believing what He says, even when you can’t see. Whatever you believe is what you will follow and obey. You will either believe and obey God or believe and obey the flesh. Choose to believe divine facts no matter how you feel.
The enemy has a deceptive scheme. Satan’s desire is to take you back into slavery and keep you in captivity. He wants to steal your freedom and victory so that you will doubt divine facts.
He used the same scheme in the garden with Eve by getting her to doubt God’s Word. She acted on what she saw rather than the goodness of God. Satan uses the same scheme today.
Takeaway: All sin is a futile attempt to meet a legitimate need in an illegitimate way. Sin is born out of the belief that God’s provision is insufficient and God’s love is not enough. Like Adam and Eve, God’s only desire when you sin is that you come out of hiding so He can bring healing.
- Submit to what God says.
In the heat of the moment, you will either submit to sin or submit to Him. If you submit to Him, then you cannot submit to sin.
You also can’t suppress sin and force yourself to do right. Apart from the cross, you are too weak to do God’s will, but you are never weak enough for God to do His will through you.
- “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”—Romans 6:12-13
- “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”—James 4:7
Jesus made it clear that if we follow Him, it will cost us something. It costs us a cross according to Luke 9:23. If you want to follow Him, you will have to die to self daily, and by dying, you actually live. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
Takeaway: When you receive Jesus as your Savior, your old self is crucified and you live. This is known as the great exchange—your life for His. The key to victory is not doing but dying. When you start living for Him rather than yourself, you start living the abundant life He spoke about in John 10:10. When you die to self daily, you begin living the power of the resurrection.
- Do what God says.
You must learn to live the crucified life with every decision. Yes, first you have to know God’s Word, then you must believe and submit to it, but to live in victory, you must do what it says.
- “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”—Romans 8:1-2 (emphasis added)
- “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”—James 1:22-25 (emphasis added)
If you want to live abundantly, you must live obediently. As you submit to what God says, you can do what says to do.
The Takeaway: With every step, you are either walking with and toward God or you are walking away from God. You either walk in the Spirit or the flesh. So remember, the old you has been crucified. It has lost its dominion, but in one decision, you can give dominion back. The good news is that the law of the Spirit is greater than the law of sin (2 Corinthians 3:17).
To Die to Self Doesn’t Mean You Seek to Exist!
When you die to self daily, you are not ceasing to exist. Death in the Bible never means cease to exist. It always means separation. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. This death Paul is referring to is eternal separation from God forever.
In the same way, your old self was crucified when you gave your life to Jesus. It was separated from your spirit so that you could live. This is what it means to be born again. Your flesh—your old self—has lost dominion over you!
Know this: Your soul was never meant to rule. Your spirit, being in alignment with God’s, was meant to rule so that your soul and body could rest and be in harmony with your Creator. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
When the soul–the mind, will, and emotions–is ruling, there is no rest. There’s only striving. So then, submit everything you have to God’s Spirit. Let Him rule in your heart. The crucified life, a die-to-self-daily kind of life, leads to a Spirit-filled life, which gives you abundant life.