I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. (1 Corinthians 15:31)
The apostle Paul is saying that dying daily is the only means to finding life. Remember, Paul also said that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). He made it abundantly clear that the Christian life requires daily dying.
Are you still wondering what in the world I am talking about? Paul was saying that we must die to our old ways of living:
- Death to the approval of others
- Death to the applause of man
- Death to the acceptance of peers
The Lord Jesus Christ calls all of His followers to deny self and die daily:
Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)
Truly, life will only be found in a thousand deaths! We must keep in mind that “death” simply means the absence of life; in the spiritual life of the Christian, it means that the old self dies daily and ceases to be the foundation upon which life is built. We die daily to our selfish, sinful desires and live moment-by-moment for our Savior. Without death to self, we simply cannot be alive to our Savior.
Just a cursory glance through the Gospel accounts makes it perfectly clear that this was the point where many turned away from Christ. They refused to make Him Lord over their lives. The Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:16-26) is one of the most poignant examples of this truth. When Jesus explained what was required to be His disciple, the young man went away sad, because he had great wealth. He refused to die to the self and life for the Savior.
And let me be clear here that his problem was not the fact that he had great wealth. Many Christians throughout the ages have had wealth, yet have wholeheartedly lived their lives for the Savior. The problem is not with what we possess, but what possesses us . . . and if our passion is not for Jesus, then we are living for a savior that simply cannot save.
When Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20) he was making it clear that there is no life to be found outside of Christ. To be sure, there are many things in this world that promise life, but only One who can deliver on that promise . . . and His name is Jesus Christ.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!