Wednesday, January 20, 2016

dying to self

"We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin."  (Romans 6:6-7 ESV)

Here's Francis Schaeffer on dying to self...

We are to be willing to say no to ourselves, we are to be willing to say no to things, in order that the command to love God and men may have real meaning...

We do not come to true spirituality or the true Christian life merely by keeping a list, but neither do we come to it merely by rejecting the list and then shrugging our shoulders and living a looser life…

As I have said, Romans chapter 6 begins with many strong negatives, and though we may want to rush on to the second half of verse 4 ("As Christ was raised from the dead . . . even so we may walk in newness of life"), actually we are in peril if we ignore the element of "dying." "Buried with him in baptism," "dead to sin," "baptized into his death": the way into the freedom of the second part of verse 4 is through these, not around them…  We must walk through the first half ("Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him") before we can get on to the second half: "That the body of sin might be made powerless, that henceforth we should not serve sin." I think I perceive that most Christians even read the first half of these verses faster, in order to get to the second "happy" part of the verses, but this is a mistake. We love to skip along, but one does not get on the other side of a door without going through it, and we do not get to the joyous second part of these verses without passing through the first part.  

This is, first of all, true absolutely and once for all at justification, but then it is true moment by moment in practice in the Christian life. Let us not be confused here. The moment we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior we were justified and our guilt was gone once for all. That is absolute. But if we want to know anything of reality in the Christian life, anything of true spirituality, we must "take up our cross daily." The principle of saying "no" to self lies at the heart of my attitude toward the world as it maintains its alien stand in rebellion against the Creator. If I use my intellectual capacities to make myself respectable to the world, as it is in revolution against the one who created it, then I have failed. It is equally true if I use my ignorance for the same purpose. I am to face the cross of Christ in every part of life and with my whole man. The cross of Christ is to be a reality to me not only once for all at my conversion, but all through my life as a Christian. True spirituality does not stop at the negative, but without the negative-in comprehension and practice-we are not ready to go on.  

(--Francis Schaeffer, in True Spirituality)

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