The Joyful Necessity of Dying Daily

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Photo by Diane Loft

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.”

Romans 6:6, NLT

“There are two things which the Church needs: more death and more life— more death in order to live; more life in order to die.”

C.A. Fox

The need of this moment is critical. Many believers have never came to this point of ‘knowing.’ Maturity comes when one realizes that crucifixion has dealt with the old man. We died when He died, we were there when He died, we were part of that event. Romans 6 is all about a believers ‘co-crucifixion’ with Jesus Christ. Calvary was far more than a religious event— it was where our sin was terminated. It was more than just a penalty carried— it was where our old nature put to death.

“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

Sin has no power to sway a dead man. A man who is dead doesn’t respond to a girl in a leopard skin bikini. (It doesn’t matter if she is insanely gorgeous). He no longer can be tempted to sin. Why?  Because he is dead. This is not an issue of semantics, it is not poetic interpretation of a metaphor. It rings true in heaven and it is quite real here on earth.

Sin should no longer remain in power of a believer’s life. We believe that our sins have been dealt with on the cross, that Jesus took our sins from us, bearing them as a ‘sacrificial lamb.’ But the same is true to say, “My sinful nature was also crucified with him.”

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”

John 12:24

The principle is from farming. A kernel of wheat will bring an abundance. But it must be buried first. The dead seed miraculously sprouts. At the moment of death it suddenly receives a new life. The dead seed grows into a bountiful harvest. This is the New Testament principle of dying to self. A few things:

  • we are not sinless— we must deal daily with the sinful part of us,
  • this must be taken by faith, much like anything else from God, Heb. 11
  • discipline aids our quest for holiness, 1 Tim. 4:8
  • it accentuates the role of water baptism, it’s a daily reckoning, Rom. 6:4,
  • temptations can be really strong, but He enables us, 1 Cor. 10:13
  • this is a God honoring way to live.

Crucifixion should always be taken by faith in God’s Word and it will lead to resurrection. Crucifixion weakness is necessary for resurrection power. Jesus shares his life with us— his power is given to his people. He shares all that He is so we might become like him.

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.”

Romans 6:12-13

We’ve been given a gracious teacher in the person of the Holy Spirit. He will never condemn our feeble efforts to be holy. Be encouraged: God delights to make the weakest of us strong. He has done all He can to work holiness into our hearts.

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Preparing Yourself for Water Baptism

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“Those who accepted his message were baptized.” (Acts 2:41)  

 “Repent and be baptized.” (Acts 2:38) 

 “Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God.” (Col. 2:12)  

One of the most significant and vital decisions we will make is to follow Jesus Christ into the waters of baptism.  This is just obedience to the Lord’s command to be baptized.

Baptism becomes a public pronouncement or declaration to the physically seen world and to the invisibly unseen world of the Spirit. 

It takes faith to be authentically prepared for baptism.  You will be taking a stand. By faith, you’re making public your allegiance to Christ.

“Baptism was to put a line of demarcation between your past sins when you are buried with Him by Baptism–you are burying your past sins–eradicating them–putting a line in the sand saying that old man is dead and he is no longer alive any more and I rise up to walk in the newness of life.”

T.D. Jakes

I would suggest that you attend to the process listed below.  You will find there is a big difference to truly being baptized, and just getting wet!

A word to “older” believers: There may come a time when you feel that you would want to be baptized again.  I believe that this is not only allowable, but commendable.  You may have not had a good understanding of the baptismal process, but now it makes sense.  I would encourage you to follow your heart. God will honor your rededication. 

The Interrogative Process

I.  A series of questions is then asked, to which the reply is always “I renounce them”:

  1. Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
  2. Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?
  3. Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?

II.  The second half of the query is asked, to which the reply is always “I do”:  

  1. Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior?
  2. Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love?
  3. Do you promise to follow and obey him as your Lord?

“Indeed, baptism is a vow, a sacred vow of the believer to follow Christ. Just as a wedding celebrates the fusion of two hearts, baptism celebrates the union of sinner with Savior.”

Max Lucado

III.  The Apostles Creed can be recited. This is our faith distilled down to its very essence:

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, who was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. and on the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,  (not to be confused with Catholicism, but “universal church”) the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”

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Caving Into the Presence

 

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“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 10:22

 I have never really understood “caving”.  Some consider it a sport, but I guess I really don’t see the athleticism of it.  People actually seem to derive some satisfaction and thrill from exploring muddy caves in the dark.  I guess I can try to grab the basic idea of it, but to me it’s a whole lot like “parachuting”.  Why jump out of a perfectly decent airplane, when you can sit in a Starbucks with a vanilla latte?  It doesn’t compute.

But there is a sense about caving that resonates with the hunger in a man’s or woman’s heart.  Hebrews tell us that we are to enter the presence of God.  The keys will be sincerity and trust.  In other words, a honesty, and a trust that will open up the passage.  Spiritual spelunkers in a quest for His glorOUCC-Cave-Climbingy.

Sometimes something will block a person.  Depression is a barrier for us.  Essentially it effects our passion and strength.  Our pursuit of God is nullified by the corrosive facets of depression and melancholy.  There is no longer any zip or zeal for His presence.  The fire of zeal we once had just fizzles out.  But to reach our goal, we need to squeeze beyond the blockage. There is a spiritual resistance.  Our infernal enemy is working against any progress.

So much involves patience and humility.  A person must continue to probe ahead but slowly and patiently, taking their time and monitoring their progress.  Humility is necessary.  An awareness of self and our dimensions in tight spots.  “Am I small enough to squeeze through that hole?”

Our scripture tells us that we have a key to the throne room of God.  Our guiltiness and our defiled conscience have both been cleansed or sanitized from anything that would corrupt us.  We haven’t done a thing.  And we are exhorted to be very bold.  Jesus has made us pure.  We are clean.

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