Some marketing campaigns are based on the premise that if you repeat something enough times it becomes the dominant belief. Sometimes this is used with ill intentions by repeating a mistruth over and over again until people just assume it is the truth. These misinformation campaigns are often seen in political campaigns, whether they are done by special interest groups, lobbyists or the political parties themselves.
The enemy knows the power of these misinformation campaigns and uses it to our disadvantage knowing that if he can twist or hide the truth then the power of the truth becomes diminished or even ineffective in our experience. One such campaign of misinformation that I have seen is related to what happened at the cross. It is the idea that Christians still need to continually die to self.
If you Google "how to die to self" it quickly comes up with a long list of websites telling you that you need to do it as well as how to do it, including the verses they believe instructs us to do so. But upon further inspection, the verses they quote never explicitly say that we need to die to self. Instead, the idea of dying to self is added to the passage by those who are reading or teaching it because they just assume that's what it means.
Now please understand, I don't believe that most of those who teach that we need die to self are intentionally misleading others. Instead, I believe they have heard it so much, they just now assume that is what the Scriptures teach. So in an attempt to help Christians overcome sin, the flesh and temptation they continue to pass on the mistruth. But instead of helping others, they further cement the myth and lead Christians on a futile attempt to do something that cannot be done.
The Scriptures never teach or instruct us to now go and die to self. Instead they speak of the death of the old self (old man) as being a one time, past, completed event. One such passage, that is often used to teach the need to die to self but actually teaches the opposite is Romans 6:6. It says that our old self was crucified (past tense, done deal) with Jesus. This is not commanding us go and die, rather it is telling is what has already happened.
It amazes me that nearly 2000 years ago when this was written by the Apostle Paul, he began this passage in verse 3 with the words, "do you not know?" Unfortunately, most Christians do not know that they already were crucified with Christ and therefore they are desperately running around trying to crucify something that is already dead.
But have you ever thought about this? How does one crucify themselves? I see two big problems with this idea.
First, if we still need to die to self, then that means Jesus also still needs to die. Because our crucifixion is united with Jesus' crucifixion. But scriptures make is very clear that He died once and He is not still dying nor does He need to die anymore (see Romans 6:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:18).
The second problem I see is, how does one crucify themselves? Think about it. You can kill yourself a number of different ways, but it is impossible to crucify yourself. You might get your feet nailed in along with one hand, but how do you nail the other one? I know this may sound facetious, but I think God chose the method of crucifixion in part to help show us that it is not something we need to, or can do to ourselves.
So what does this all mean? What are we to do then with this? Romans 6:11 tells us to "reckon," meaning to remember, count it as truth, that we, the old self, has already been crucified and that we are now, already, a brand new creation that is alive to God, with the life of Christ in us. It is upon remembering what has already happened that we begin to experience the power of Christ in us. And it is our trusting Him that will allow us to experience His victory over sin, the flesh and temptation (see Romans 8:3).
In Christ who is our Life,