Mat 16:24  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mat 16:25  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Mat 16:26  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Mat 16:27  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Mat 16:28  Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.



 The expression “die to self every day” is not only rather ambiguous, but can even be meaningless when it isn’t attached to a definite context, or when there isn’t a clear understanding of where the expression is supposed to derive its meaning. It is frequently used and heard, and with this it is also used in more than one way. Among those who use it, they generally do so for one of two main reasons. First there are those who use it to express their understanding of how we should respond to the doctrine of our sanctification, especially to what is taught to us in the opening portion of Romans 6. They use it primarily to express their understanding of the fundamental issue in what Paul says to us in verses 11–14 about ‘reckoning’ ourselves to be “dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” and living in accordance with it.



Rom 6:11  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 6:12  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Rom 6:13  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Rom 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.



The second most common use of it is to use it in connection with what the Lord said to His disciples, for example, in Matthew 16:24–25; where He said, “If any man will come after me, let me deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Those who use it in connection with this teaching not only do not ‘rightly divide the word of truth’ and thereby mistakenly apply this to us today, but they also naturally have to ‘spiritualize’ what the Lord says, and in so doing they turn the meaning of the Lord’s words into the issue of figuratively dying to yourself as you follow Jesus day by day.

Of these two main uses of the expression, the second one is worse than the first, for the obvious reasons that I briefly noted. But even using it as the first use does—in connection with the doctrine of our sanctification “in Christ”—is not really very good. And this is because the expression does not accurately or precisely express what our response to our sanctified position “in Christ” should be; and as such it can easily be misconstrued, or acquire a meaning that ends up being contrary to the truth of how we ought to respond to our sanctification.


Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Rom 6:6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Rom 6:7  For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Rom 6:8  Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

Rom 6:9  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Rom 6:10  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.


Unfortunately this is one of those expressions that is sort of ‘half truth and half false.’ In other words it has the essence of truth in it, as it tries to express in a distilled form what Romans 6:11–14 says, but since it does not express things precisely it does not express things in complete accordance with the truth. And with this being the case, you can sympathize with what someone who uses the expression is trying to say, but you cannot necessarily agree with their use of it because it is not accurate and truthful. And also since the expression does not precisely express the truth, you can also see how the expression can be either only vaguely meaningful among those who hear it and repeat it, or it can have a variety of meanings attached to it, or those who use it can be uncertain as to exactly what it means, or it can actually become meaningless to them, and more or less just a cliché that they use. In view of all of this, some people who use the expression actually do properly understand the doctrine of our sanctified position “in Christ,” and also teach it properly. However they just do not realize that the expression can easily be misconstrued and/or misunderstood by others. Sometimes these who do properly understand Romans 6–8 will not use the expression directly in connection with what 6:11–14 says, for they know that this isn’t sound. Rather they will use it more in connection with the doctrines for the ‘renewing of our minds’ whereby we are enabled to reject living in conformity to this world in the details of our daily lives, and rather are able to choose to live in conformity to God’s will. Hence they will speak of us needing to make choices on the basis of what we are taught concerning God’s will, and in so doing ‘die to ourselves every day’ by choosing not to live for ourselves but for the Lord. And when someone uses the expression with this specific meaning, he really is not saying something that is false or inaccurate.


Rom 6:15  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

Rom 6:16  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Rom 6:17  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

Rom 6:18  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Rom 6:19  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.


But since the expression is so open to being misused and misconstrued, you do not really know what someone means by it, unless you ask him and he is able to plainly explain its meaning to you, and the specific context in which he is applying it. And this, of course, is a big part of the problem with this expression. Something that contains a partial truth, (like this expression), is always more easily subject to being given a variety of meanings and applications. And this, of course, also makes it all that much more difficult to expose such an expression to the ones who use it for being the inaccurate, or easily misconstrued, or not completely truthful thing that it is.  Very simply put, in view of what we are taught in Romans 6:1–23, the issue is not one of us needing to ‘die to self every day.’ It is not the issue of something that we must do, or activate, every day, as if we need to invoke it every day to make it work, or renew it every day to keep it up-to-date, or refresh it every day to keep it fresh and vibrant, or do something of some sort about it every day in order to either keep it in effect, or keep it active, etc. Rather the issue is that “in Christ” we are “dead to sin and alive unto God” every moment of every day, whether or not we feel like it, or whether or not we respond to it as we ought.


Rom 14:7  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

Rom 14:8  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.


The issue is that we are “dead to sin” in Christ, and that is just the fact of the matter. God has made us such “in Christ” when we believed “the gospel of Christ,” and therefore it is not something that we produce on our own, or bring into existence on our own, or anything like that. Instead it is something that we acknowledge the truth of, in view of what verses 1–23 teaches us, and on the basis of this we “reckon” it to be the reality with us, just as verse 11 says. And since it is now our ‘reckoned reality,’ the issue is for us to operate upon it in our daily lives as the reality that it is. We do not need to bring it into effect every day, as if we needed to establish ourselves as “dead to sin” or ‘dead to our old man’ every day over and over again. Instead the issue is that we are to be mindful of the fact that God Himself has made us, or constituted us, “dead to sin,” and that therefore being “dead to sin and alive unto God” is the reality of who we are “in Christ.” And with this being the reality with us, we are to simply respond to the details of our lives every day on the basis of this truth.



Rom 14:1  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

Rom 14:2  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

Rom 14:3  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

Rom 14:4  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Rom 14:5  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Rom 14:6  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Rom 14:7  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

Rom 14:8  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

Rom 14:9  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

Rom 14:10  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.


Now with respect to what Paul says in Romans 14:7 and using it to show that it says that “no man dieth to himself,” you could certainly draw someone’s attention to this and it would probably confound him, or confuse him, if he does not understand and appreciate the context of Romans 14:7. But strictly speaking what Paul is saying in the passage is actually not dealing with what those who speak about ‘dying to self ’ are generally talking about. Simply stated, what Paul sets forth in verses 1–9 is said in the context of us properly dealing with other saints who are “weak in the faith.” And in this context Paul has reason to not only focus upon the fact that in accordance with our sonship status we both ‘serve the Lord,’ whether we be one who is “weak in the faith” or ‘strong in the faith’; but Paul also has need to underscore this fact to us so as to make sure that we operate upon it. And this needs to be done so that ‘stronger ones in the faith’ do not think that they should make themselves into the tutors and governors of ones who are “weak in the faith.” And underscoring this fact is what Paul specifically does in verses 4–9 by saying what he does about us equally being the Lord’s servants whether “weak” or “strong,” and also equally being so throughout the whole of our sonship lives, whether in life or in death.



Keith Blades

Enjoy The Bible Ministries

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