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Chapter 1 - Isnít the Word 'Death' too Extreme?
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. - Luke 9:23
There are some in Christian circles that consider the requirement to 'take up his cross' to be a euphemism for being willing to be inconvenienced. The cross was symbolic of death. Not just death, but intentional death. Since this was to be done 'daily', we can see that something other than physical death is implied. However, it is still a 'death' that is meant.
for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. - Romans 8:13
Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; for which things' sake cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience: wherein ye also once walked, when ye lived in these things; but now do ye also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking out of your mouth: lie not one to another; seeing that ye have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him: - Colossians 3:5-10
We can see a picture of bad things that are inside of us that we have in common with everyone else in the world. However, because of the newness of life we have as a result in trusting in Jesus, we have the opportunity to replace those old qualities with new ones called the 'new man'. This replacement has two parts, 'putting away' (or putting to death) and 'putting on' (walking by the Spirit).
Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. - Romans 6:11
Dying to self is not a complete death of a person. We already see that physical death is not a part of this process. Since we are admonished to 'reckon ourselves to be dead to sin', there is something we are to do in relation to something that is in us.
Some more modern Christian practices embrace a view that 'Jesus loves us just the way we are'. This sounds very appealing, however, it is not true.
For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not. - Romans 7:18
That which is within us is not something that needs to be corrected. It is not something that needs instruction. What we have inside of us is so harmful to us and repugnant to God that it needs to be put to death. This is similar to the removal of a malignant cancer.
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