Before receiving forgiveness from God, we were considered to be dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). That death came as a result of sin (Romans 6:23). However, we must experience another kind of death. This death is a death to self and sin in order to be brought to life by God spiritually. In other words, we must die to live.
Losing Life to Save It
This is another way of speaking about self-denial. Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:23-25)
Self-denial is a way of putting self to death in order to live for God. If we try to save our lives by refusing self-denial, we will suffer a death no one ultimately wants. If we will deny self, losing our lives for His sake, then we will be saved. It’s paradoxical, but if we can see the kinds of death involved, we can see that the point is simply this: we cannot put ourselves first over God and others and expect to receive the blessings God offers. If we want to live, we must die. If we want to be saved, we must lose our lives for His sake.
The Greatest Example
This is what Jesus did for us. He is the ultimate example of one who emptied (denied) self and died (Philippians 2:6-8). Yet, He lives. The resurrection is what makes eternal life possible now, as Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
New Life in Christ and the Resurrection
By God’s grace, we can die so that we will live. This goes beyond our spiritual death and new life here. This points to an ultimate life that comes from Christ conquering death through His resurrection. We die to live now. Then, because death has been conquered, our physical death is not something to fear because we, too, shall take part in the resurrection of life (Hebrews 2:14-15).
We don’t want to die; we want to live. Yet, as physical death is necessary to resurrection, so also is death to self and sin necessary to the new life in Christ. By God’s grace we can experience both.
In order to get better and live, we must die. Have you?
–Doy Moyer (from https://searchingdaily.com/)