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NOTES ON DISCIPLESHIP
by Dr. Fred Wittman
THE CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP 2 (cont.)
The Disciplined Life 2 (Luke 9:23-25; 14:25-33)
“And He was repeatedly saying to the face of all, If (and it is true) anyone determinedly wills to come after Me, he is to utterly deny himself! And he is to carry off his /cross daily! And he is to continually follow Me! For who ever determinedly will to save his natural life shall lose[destroy or perish]it; but who ever lose [destroy or perish] his natural life for My cause, this one shall save it. For what is a human being profited by gaining the whole world, but losing [destroying or perishing] or suffering loss of himself?” . . . Then large crowds journeyed together with Him. And he turned and said to them, 26If (and it is true) anyone comes to [the face of] Me and does not hate the father of himself and his mother and his wife and his children and his brothers and his sisters, yet in fact even the natural life of himself, he is not able to be My disciple. 27And whoever does not bear his /cross and continually come after Me, he is not able to be My disciple. 28For who out of you &, determinedly willing to build a tower, certainly after sitting down first, he calculates the expense, does he not? if (and it is true) he has the~ things for the purpose of completion that lest ever, after he laid down a 0foundation in fact he is not prevailing to finish out, all the ones observing begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘‘This /human began to build and he did not prevail to finish out.’’ 31Or what king, journeying to engage another king in war, certainly after sitting down first, he deliberates with himself, does he not? If (and it is true) he is powerful by means of ten thousand to meet up with the one coming against him with twenty thousand. 32Otherwise indeed while not being yet far distant from him, he sends[with commission] an embassy and asks the~ things toward peace. 33Therefore in this way every one of you& who does not bid farewell to all the possessions of himself, he is not able to be My disciple” (Lk. 9:23-25; 14:25-33 APT).
Introduction: The Lord Jesus Christ set forth rigid conditions for a person to be a disciple of His. In an agriculture and farming economy it is not as difficult to get people to comply as it is in an advanced technology economy which has swept most of the world today. Nevertheless Jesus maintained an expectation of rigid conditions for His disciples throughout the ages as reflected throughout The New Testament. We noted in the introductory message to the Life that counts that The Bible equates the term disciples with Christians (Acts 11:26), a term that lost its significant meaning in the twentieth century (see What Is A Christian? on our website, click here). But just what does the Disciplined Life, the life that counts, entail? Three conditions of discipleship: Denial of Self, Reckoning Self to be Dead, and Determined Steadfast Following.
I. In Denial of Self “. . . he is to utterly deny himself!” (Lk. 9:23).
This was covered in detail under THE CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP, The Disciplined Life 1 (which see under papers on DISCIPLESHIP on our website, click here).
To be a disciple of The Lord Jesus Christ, in addition to being disciplined in denial of self, we must go to our death.
II. In Death - Reckoning Self Dead “. . . he is to carry off his /cross daily!” (Lk. 9:23).
In Jesus' time, when someone carried off his cross, he was going to his death, a horrible, agonizingly painful death of crucifixion on that cross he was carrying. Jesus took up the cross and carried it to Calvary where He willingly died in agony for us. Taking up the cross was the act of showing He was willing to die for us. When you take up your cross you show that you are both willing and going to die to self for the Lord Jesus Christ. Crucifixion is a death of homicide, not suicide. You cannot crucify yourself, but you can submit to being crucified. And that is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, ‘‘Take up the cross’’ (Mk. 10:21). Though actually crucifixion is a one time act, the willingness for self to be crucified is an on-going attitude spiritually, therefore carrying off the cross is a daily demonstration to the Lord Jesus Christ, to His disciples, and to the world that crucifixion has taken place in one’s life. This is done by “continually putting to death the practices of the body” (Rom. 8:13 APT). If anyone is to become The Lord Jesus Christ’s disciple, he or she must be willing to and truly go to his or her death by means of crucifixion, not necessarily physically (although that may be one’s ultimate experience) but spiritually. Just as a cross experience was absolutely necessary for The Lord Jesus Christ to bear (produce) eternal fruit, so a cross experience is absolutely necessary for His disciples to bear fruit for eternity. Jesus said,
“Amen, amen, I am saying to you&, Unless the grain of /wheat falling into the soil[earth] die off, it continually abides itself alone. But if (and it may be) it die off, it is bringing much fruit. . . . In this My /Father is glorified, that you & produce much fruit and you& shall become disciples to Me” (Jn. 12:24; 15:8 APT).
Therefore The Christ’s disciples must die in three regards: to self, to sin, and to the world.
A. Dead to Self The Focus is upon one’s Interests
The Lord Jesus Christ taught the multitudes that in order to save one’s life eternally, one must lose his life temporally, materially, and selfishly (see Lk. 9:23-26 above). The ‘self’ life of every individual is a hindrance to knowing Christ intimately and to growing spiritually. Self can be equated to the flesh by analogy and by spelling flesh backward and dropping the ‘h’- ‘s-e-l-f.’ In order to live for eternity you must die to self and to the self-life now. Paul stated it plainly to the Romans,
‘‘For if (and it is true) you& absolutely live according to 0flesh, you& are about to die off. But if (and it is true) by means of 0Spirit you& are continually putting to death the practices of the body, you& shall absolutely live’’ (Rom. 8:13 APT).
Paul explained to the Galatians what Christ meant by “take up the cross.”
“I stand crucified together with Christ, but I absolutely live. No longer myself, but Christ absolutely lives in me. In fact what~ I now absolutely live in 0flesh, I absolutely live by means of 0faith^, |namely| the^ one of The Son of The God, Who loved me and delivered Himself over in my behalf” (Gal. 2:20 APT).
It was no longer Paul that lived. The old Saul (Paul’s given name) was reckoned to be dead--crucified with Christ. He further stated, ‘‘Now the ones belonging to The Christ are crucified with reference to the flesh together with its sufferings and its passionate lusts’’(Gal. 5:24 APT). We do not crucify the flesh. That is an impossibility. As was said before, Crucifixion is a death of homicide, not suicide. You cannot crucify yourself. But we willingly subject the flesh to be crucified. We reckon or count that what God says is true in actuality. Thus day by day you take your place as willing to be crucified. The old self-life (the flesh) is slowly, painfully, even agonizingly subjected to The God to be put to death by whatever means He deems necessary.
As the focus of denial of self is upon one’s identification (as seen in The Disciplined Life 1), so the focus of dying to self is upon one’s interests in possessions and pleasures (appetites and lusts). There are examples of each in Scripture.
1. Possessions (Lk. 12:15; Mk. 10:21-24; Acts 5:1-10).
We need to die to self interests in possessions. The Lord Jesus had much to say about possessions. According to our introductory text above He said, “every one of you& who does not bid farewell to all the possessions of himself, he is not able to be My disciple” (Lk. 14:33 APT). The problem with possessions is that as soon as we lay personal claim to possessions, they possess us. Therefore The Lord Jesus Christ is hindered from possessing us. “Jesus said to them, Be constantly vigilant and guardedly protect yourselves from /covetousness! Because the absolute life to any one is not in the process of the being in abundance of his /possessions” (Lk. 12:15 APT). This absolute eternal life is not lived in the process of accumulating possessions. The reason is two-fold.
On the one hand, our reasonable response to the love of The Lord Jesus Christ is to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God as bondslaves to the Christ.
“I repeatedly entreat you& therefore, O brothers, because of the compassions of The God, Offer as a sacrifice the bodies of yours& an absolutely living sacrifice, holy, well-pleasing to The God, |namely| the spiritually reasonable sacred service of yours&. And stop fashioning yourselves together to this age, but on the contrary continually be being transformed by the renewing of your& comprehension! in order that you& prove[after testing] what the beneficially good and well-pleasing and perfectly complete, determined will~ of The God |is|” (Rom. 12:1,2, APT).
And Jesus Himself said twice that it is impossible to serve as a bondslave to two masters or lords, both God and mammon -- the total assets in your trust (Mt. 6:24; Lk. 16:13).
On the other hand, the vocation to which we were summoned is to be disciples who make disciples (Mt.28:19,20).
“Therefore journey& and consecutively disciple [train by intimate process] people of all the [metonymy]nations then baptize them into the name of The Father and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit! and repeatedly teach them in public to keep all things as many as I commanded you& watchfully secure! And lo! I Myself am continually with you& all the days until the consummation of the age. Amen!” (Mt. 28:19,20 APT).
The Lord Jesus did not compromise on this issue. Note:
a. The rich ruler ( Mt. 19:16-26; Mk. 10:17-24; Lk.18:18-30).
When a rich ruler came to the Lord Jesus desiring to know what he must do to inherit eternal absolute life, Jesus told him that he was aware of the commandments with five especially cited and Never deprive (withhold what belongs to another) added. He told The Lord that he kept guardedly protecting all of these since his youth.
“Then when /Jesus earnestly looked upon him, He loved him and He said to him, One thing~ is lacking to you $ . Be slipping away! Sell as many things~ as you$ have! And give to the poor ones! And you $ shall have treasure in 0Heaven. And here$ ! Continually follow Me! and carry off the cross! But since he became dismal over the saying, he departed grieving, for he was continually having many belongings. But the disciples were repeatedly astonished over His /words. Then when /Jesus answered again He says to them, Children, how difficult it is with reference to the ones having relied upon the resources[things one uses] to enter into the Kingdom of The God! And after /Jesus looked around Himself, He says to His /disciples, How difficultly will the ones having the resources [things one uses] enter for themselves into the Kingdom of The God!” (Mk. 10:21-24).
The Lord Jesus Christ understood the human heart and mind. He created them. That is why He gave so many instructions to His disciples concerning possessions and other aspects of the personality which will distract from Him. That is why He stipulated that His disciples are to bid farewell to their possessions in identifying with The Lord Jesus Christ’s death by dying to self and taking up the cross.
Give a child a toy and he clings it to himself. Soon he lays it aside for another. Then have another child enter the room. The toy laying by itself is seen. Its owner is quietly playing with another toy. The visiting child notices the toy and goes to it. Immediately the child, whose toy it is, grabs the toy and assertively says, Mine! He knows it belongs to him and he is disturbed that some one would take it up in hand. He definitely wants the other to know it. How quickly the peaceful scene changes because of that simple possession! Yet this is exactly what happens in adults, yet in a more subtle way. It affects our relationship to The God and to The Lord Jesus Christ. His disciples are to deal with this distraction in life away from the absolute eternal life in The Christ. It also affects our stewardship.
A six year old boy and a four year old girl were visiting their auntie with their parents. On Sunday morning they were preparing to leave for church. Auntie gave each child some coins to give to God by putting them in the offering plate when it is passed. When the offering was being taken and the plate came to the boy, he readily, happily put money in the plate. But when it came to the four year old girl, it was stalled as the father tried to persuade the little girl to place the money in the plate. The father whispered with emphasis to her. Then above the organ playing was heard very emphatically, “I don’t want to give my money to Jesus.” What was in her hand, though knowing the purpose for it being put there, she claimed to be her own. Laughter ensued in that area of the church. But wait a minute! The very action of that little girl is and has been magnified many times in the lives of those adults claiming to believe (to have committed faith) in The Lord Jesus Christ.
b. Ahnahnéeahs and Sahp-feh-éeray provide a perfect example of how possessions bring disaster in the absolute life in Christ (Acts 5:1-10). At a time when the early disciples were selling their properties and bringing the resources from the sale and laying them at the apostles’ feet, this couple pretended to do the same. But they embezzled from the precious value. When Ahnahnéeahs brought the remainder as the others did, Peter challenged him, “Why lie to The Holy Spirit? You did not lie to humans but to The God.” Then he fell down dead at Peter’s feet. Later Sahp-feh-éeray, his wife entered. Peter challenged her as well,
“Why is it that you& were in accord to test The Lord’s Spirit? Lo the feet of the+ ones |who| buried your$ /husband at the door! And they shall bring you$ out. Then instantly she fell down alongside his /feet and she deceased. Then when the young men entered, they found her dead. And they brought out and buried |her| with her /husband” (Acts 5:9,10 ATP).
Since Ahnahnéeahs and Sahp-feh-éeray were not of themselves fulfilling the expectations of disciples dying to self in the matter of possessions, they were removed from the congregation by physical death. Are we fulfilling The Lord Jesus Christ’s expectations of death to self in the matter of possessions? Have we been to our white funeral to the old Self in regard to possessions?
Not only is self to die to possessions but also to pleasures.
2. Pleasures - appetites and lusts of the flesh (2 Tim. 3:4; Tit. 3:3; 1 Jn. 2:15-17).
Selfish pleasures that include every form of sexual immorality, lusts -- things which appeal to the flesh and distract from the things of The God, amusements -- those things which distract attention away from The Christ and the things of The God, and appetites for things which please the flesh to the expense of pleasing The Lord, all must undergo death by crucifixion. Paul wrote, “that in the last days ferocious seasons of time of themselves shall be impending.” Then he gave a description of what humans shall be. Included is the phrase “ones kindly affectionate to gratifying pleasures rather than kindly affectionate to God” (2 Tim. 3:1,4 APT). Then he also wrote to Téetohs (Titus) describing the past of his and all disciples, “ones enslaved to passionate lusts and various kinds of gratifying-sensual-pleasures” (Tit. 3:3 APT).
Then John, the Beloved Disciple wrote,
“Never love the world, nor even the~ things in the world. If (and it may be) anyone love the world, the love of The Father is continually not in him. Because the everything in the world: the passionate lust of the flesh, and the passionate lust of the eyes, and the arrogant display[of life without The God] of the manner of life is continually not of The Father, but on the contrary, it is of the world. In fact the world is progressively passing away and the passionate lust of it, but the+ one continually doing the determined will of The God is continually abiding for /ever” (1 Jn. 2:15-17 APT).
Paul wrote to Timothy about one who stood by him during his imprisonment in Rome. In his Epistle to the Colossians in mid A.D. 62 , Paul mentions that Daymáhs sends greeting to the church (Col. 4:14). But six years later in the summer of A.D. 68, in his second imprisonment in Rome, Paul included sad news in his Epistle to Timothy. “Daymáhs forsook me, because he loved this now age and he journeyed to Thehssahlohnée-kay” (2 Tim.4:10 ATP).
How important it is to reckon self to be dead in our self interests in the realms of possessions, pleasures, appetites and lusts of the flesh, all which conflict with The Lord Jesus Christ’s interests and what corresponds to the work and The Word of The God.! In addition to dying to Self and the self life, we are to be dead to Sin.
B. Dead to Sin The Focus is upon Sin’s Intrigue
“What then shall we say? Shall we remain on in Sin in order that the grace abound? May it never be! We, whoever died off to the Sin, how shall we absolutely live in it yet? Or are you& ignorant that we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried together with Him through the baptism into the death in order that even as Christ was raised up out of 0dead ones by reason of the glory of The Father, so also we ourselves should walk in newness of absolute life. 5For if (and it is true) we have become ones planted together in the similitude of His /death, undoubtedly we shall be also |in the similitude| of His resurrection. 6Knowing this, that the old human of ours is crucified together |with Him| that the body belonging to the Sin become ineffective so that we no longer continue serving as a bondslave to the Sin. 7For the one |who| died off stands justified from the Sin. 8Now if (and it is true) we died off together with Christ, we continually commit trust that we also shall absolutely live together with Him, 9being aware that Christ, since being raised up out of 0dead& ones, no longer dies off. Death no longer exercises lordship over Him. 10For what | death | He died off, He died off to the Sin once for all. But what |absolute life| He continually absolutely lives, He continually absolutely lives to The God. 11So also you & yourselves reckon yourselves! on the one hand to be dead& ones to the sin but on the other hand absolutely living& ones to The God in Christ Jesus, The Lord of ours. 12Therefore the Sin is to stop reigning in the mortal body of yours& so that you& |not| continue obeying it in its /lusts! 13Neither continue yielding your& /members as weapons[implements of war] of unrighteousness to the Sin! But offer[t.t., lit.: to stand alongside, to present] yourselves at once |as sacrifices| to The God, as ones absolutely living& out of 0dead & ones and your /members as weapons[implements of war] of righteousness to The God! 14For Sin shall not exercise lordship over you&. For you& are not under 0law, but under grace. 15What then? Should we sin, because we are not under 0law, but under grace? May it never be! 16You& are aware, are you & not? That to whom you& yield yourselves bondslaves unto obedience, you& are bondslaves to whom you& are continually obeying, either to Sin unto death, or to obedience unto righteousness? 17But gratitude |be| to The God! because you& were continually 0bondslaves to the Sin, but you& obeyed out of 0heart in regard to which type of doctrine you& were delivered. 18Then since being freed ones from bondage away from the Sin, you& became enslaved to the righteousness. 19I speak humanly because of the chronic infirmity of your /flesh. For even as you& offered[t.t., lit.: to stand alongside, to present] as sacrifices your & /members as bondslaves to the uncleanness and to the lawlessness, unto the lawlessness, so now offer [t.t., lit.: to stand alongside, to present] as sacrifices your& /members as bondslaves to the righteousness, unto sanctification. 20For when you& were continually 0bondslaves to the Sin, you& were continually free& ones from bondage to the righteousness. 21Therefore what fruit were you & having at that time by means of which~ things you& are now being utterly ashamed? For the end of those~ things, death! 22But even now, since being freed ones from bondage away from the Sin but enslaved ones to The God, you& are continually having your& /fruit unto sanctification. Then the end, eternal absolute life! 23For the wages of the sin, death! But the grace-gift of The God, eternal absolute life through Christ Jesus The Lord of ours!” (Rom. 6:1-23 APT).
We must die to Sin. “So also you& yourselves reckon yourselves! on the one hand to be dead& ones to the Sin but on the other hand absolutely living & ones to The God in Christ Jesus, The Lord of ours” (Rom. 6:11 APT).
1. What is sin? In Scripture the noun ‘sin’ is used in two ways.
a. Sin is:
(1) An act (Jn. 8:34; Rom. 6:15).
The noun ‘sin’ is found both in singular and plural number and may or may not have the article.
“/Jesus answered them, Amen, Amen, I am saying to you&, ‘‘Everyone who continually commits the sin is continually a bondslave to the sin.” (Jn. 8:34 APT).
“What then? Should we sin, because we are not under 0law, but under grace? May it never be! . . . For the wages of the sin, death! But the grace-gift of The God, eternal absolute life through Christ Jesus The Lord of ours!” (Rom. 6:15,23 APT).
The noun ‘sin’ is an act of doing what we are not to do or not doing what we should do. The verb ‘sin’ indicates the committing an act of what we are not to commit. The New Testament uses at least twelve different words that fall in the category of sin such as: transgression, iniquity, wickedness, trespass, error, lawlessness, straying, blunder, gross stupid error, failure, sexual immorality, lying, and Greek words requiring a phrase to translate them. But sin also is:
(2) A reigning master (Rom. 6:1,6-12-22 see above).
Every human being is enslaved to this horrible master, Sin. (To distinguish between the master and the deed, Sin, the master is capitalized). As a result every human not totally committed to The Christ is serving as a bondslave to Sin and is yielding the members of the body as weapons (Gk.: implements of war) to the enemy of The God (see Rom. 6:13 above).
“What then shall we say? Shall we remain on in Sin in order that the grace abound? May it never be! . . . Knowing this, that the old human of ours is crucified together |with Him| that the body of the Sin become ineffective so that we no longer continue serving as a bondslave to the Sin. . . . Therefore the Sin is to stop reigning in the mortal body of yours& so that you & |not | continue obeying it in its /lusts! Neither continue yielding your & /members as weapons of unrighteousness to the Sin! But offer [t.t., lit.: to stand alongside, to present] yourselves at once |as sacrifices| to The God, as ones absolutely living& out of 0dead& ones and your /members as weapons of righteousness to The God! For Sin shall not exercise lordship over you&. ” (Rom.6:1,2a,6,12-14 APT).
Observe the chart showing the difference between Sin and Sins. There are five aspects of difference. It is important to recognize that the word ‘‘sin’’ refers to the act of disobedience or falling short of what is expected, as well as to the master over the old human and which controls the flesh and the self life of all unregenerate humans, not totally committed to The Christ and not controlled by The Holy Spirit, and which continually seeks to regain that mastery and control. The master of sin is never designated in the plural number, but is always singular. The plural number always refers to sins. Sins are the acts originating from the principle or primary source of sin. Sins are the fruits, while Sin is the root. Sins are the results effecting our behavior caused by Sin. Sins are the service we render to Sin, the master. Sins are the deeds we perform in the realm or sphere in which Sin reigns. There is no capitalization of Sin in the singular number in most translations of the Bible to help us differentiate between the principle or root and the act or fruit. We must rely upon the context. (However the distinction is made in A Precise Translation as can be seen in the passages quoted in this paper.)
The only way possible for any human to be free from bondage and slavery to Sin, this reigning master, is to die to Sin. And the only way anyone can die to Sin is for the old human to be crucified together with Christ.
“Knowing this, that the old human of ours is crucified together |with Him| that the body belonging to the Sin become ineffective so that we no longer continue serving as a bondslave to the Sin” (Rom. 6:6 APT).
b. Categories of Sin: There are two categories of sin: omission and commission.
(1) Sins of omission (Mt. 23:23).
These are often neglected or not observed and minimized by many people. Yet those who commit sins of omission are just as guilty as those who are guilty of sins of commission. Failures to do what is right and lawful are sins of omission. Whether it be the ordinances of man or the acts declared righteous by The True God that are neglected or not observed, these both are sins of omission. It matters not what any human thinks or says in regard to this, The God has indicated such failures are sins. And He will hold accountable all who disregard what is right and well-pleasing (a delight) to Himself. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself verbally abused the Jewish religious leaders,
“Woe to you&, O hypocrites, scribes and Pharisees! because you & tithe the mint and the dill and the cummin and you& abandoned the heavier |matters| of the law: the judgment and the mercy and the faith. It is absolutely necessary to do these~ things and not to abandon those~ things”(Mt. 23:23 APT).
Both Paul and Peter wrote concerning subjection to ordinances of man.
“Every soul is to be under subjection to the superior authorities. For there is not an authority except /by\ 0God. In fact the ones being authorities are standing arranged by The God. So that the one resisting the authority, stands withstanding the ordinance of The God. In fact the ones remaining withstanding shall receive judgment against themselves. For the rulers are not a fear to the beneficially good works, but on the contrary, to the evil& |works|. But you$ are determinedly willing to fear the authority for yourselves, are you$ not? Continually do the beneficially good~ thing! And you$ shall have acclamation of the same. For he is continually the domestic servant of God to you$ for the beneficially good~ thing. But if (and it may be) you$ do the evil~ thing, continually fear! For he is not bearing the short sword meaninglessly. For he is continually God’s domestic servant, an avenger in anger against the+ one customarily practicing the evil~ thing”(Rom. 14:1-4 APT).
(2) Sins of commission.
This is the other category of sins. It is obvious to most people as far as blatant sins are concerned. Yet The Lord Jesus Christ indicated very clearly that the aggregate encompassed by this term is far more reaching than is often assumed. In addition to sinning by one’s deeds, The Lord Jesus taught that humans also sin by thought and by word.
(A) In thought;
“You& heard that it was declared by the ancient + ones, You $ shall not murder. Then who ever murder shall be guilty in the judging. But I Myself am saying to you,‘‘Everyone+ who is angry in himself with his /brother rashly shall be guilty in the judging. But who ever say to his /brother, Rahkáha, shall be guilty in the Sanhedrin. Then who ever say, O moron, shall be guilty unto the Géh-ehnnah [place of fiery torment for sin] of the fire.’’ . . . You& heard that it was declared by the ancient+ ones, You$ shall not commit adultery! But I myself am saying to you&, Everyone+ who looks at a woman toward the act of earnestly desiring her, already commits adultery with reference to her in his /heart. . . . You& heard that it was declared, You$ shall love your$ /neighbor and you$ shall hate your$ /enemy. But I Myself am saying to you&, Continually love& your& /enemies! Eulogize& the+ ones cursing you&! Continually do well to the+ ones hating you&! And continually pray in behalf of the ones despitefully abusing you& and persecuting you &!” (Mt. 5:21,22,27,28, 43,44 APT).
(B) In word;
“But I am saying to you, ‘Every idle spoken word which ever the humans will speak, they shall render an account concerning it in 0Day of 0Judging’” (Mt. 12:36 APT).
(C) In deed
“Now also Ehnōkh, 0seventh from Adam, prophesied against them, saying, Lo! 0Lord certainly soon comes in midst His holy myriads to execute judgment against all and to thoroughly convict all the ungodly+ ones of them concerning all their /works of ungodliness of which they were ungodly and concerning all the hard things which ungodly sinners spoke against Him” (Jude 15 APT).
2. How to die to Sin!
There are 4 steps that must be taken in order to die to Sin. The first step is:
a. Recognize What The God Sees (Rom. 6:1-10, see above in B. Dead to Sin).
Paul described the believer as dead to Sin. God sees that the old sinful self, that is “the old human of ours is crucified together with Him (Christ)’’ (v. 6). God looks back to Calvary where His obedient Son died for us and bore our sins on the cross. But He doesn’t see Christ, He sees you and me in all our sins crucified. When he looks at us now that we have appropriated His saving work on our behalf by repentance and faith and made to Him unreserved commitment, He sees Jesus Christ in all His righteousness. Therefore each of us must first recognize that the old self is indeed dead in God’s sight. The moment we identified with Christ’s death on our behalf we died in the viewpoint of God. Once we recognize this fact, we must take the second step which is:
b. Reckon What The God Says (Rom. 6:11; see above under B. Dead to Sin).
We are to reckon (count to be true) ourselves to be dead indeed unto Sin. God not only sees you as dead. He says you are dead if indeed you are in Christ. ‘‘So that if (and it is true) anyone |be| in Christ, a new creature! The early things passed away [the old life is dead]. Lo! The all things are permanently become a new kind’’ (2 Cor. 5:17 APT). Now here is where you begin to give evidence that you are born again. You must reckon what God says is true to be a reality in your life. You do this by faith--the same kind of faith you exercised to receive the Lord Jesus Christ and eternal life. If you will learn this lesson now, you will save yourself much heartache and anguish as well as a defeated life. (No one ever explained this to me and it took over twenty years for me to learn the secret of living the kind of life God intended – a life of victory and not defeat.)
When you reconcile your bank statement, you find the error in your calculations and bring your check book balance to agree with the total the bank says you have in the bank. God says you are dead to sin and alive in Christ. Now you must bring your life to agree with that. In order for me to do this, sometimes I must talk with myself. I have to say, ‘‘Fred, you are dead! Old man, lie down there and be dead. Lord, I yield to Thee. Take control in my life.’’ Once you reckon what God says to be true, you can take the third step.
c. Refuse What Sin Seeks (Rom. 6:12).
Sin seeks to reign in your mortal body. It wants to retain the control over you that it always had, before you came to Christ. In no way does Sin want to give up the dominion, control, and reign over you. But you must see to it that “the Sin is to stop reigning in the mortal body of yours’’ (Rom. 6:12). Refuse to permit Sin to have its way with you. The fourth step is linked with step three. As you refuse to grant what Sin seeks, at the same time you must yield your members to the Christ.
d. Render (yield) Your Members to Christ (Rom. 6: 13,16).
The secret of victory over the lusts of the flesh is to “yield” to The Lord Jesus Christ. Learn this lesson well now. This five letter word is the key to success in this new and wonderful life in Christ “so that you& |not| continue obeying it in its /lusts! Neither continue yielding your& /members as weapons[implements of war] of unrighteousness to the Sin! But offer[t.t., lit.: to stand alongside, to present] yourselves at once |as sacrifices| to The God, as ones absolutely living& out of 0dead & ones and your /members as weapons[implements of war] of righteousness to The God!” (Rom. 6: 13 APT). You cannot follow Christ, unless you deny self, die to self and to sin, and yield to Christ. ‘‘You& are aware, are you& not? That to whom you& yield yourselves bondslaves unto obedience, you& are bondslaves to whom you& are continually obeying, either to Sin unto death, or to obedience unto righteousness?’’ (Rom. 6:16 APT). If you really want to live physically and enjoy life (both physically and spiritually), you must yield in obedience to The God. Constant failure to do this will end in physical death. “For if (and it is true) you& absolutely live according to 0flesh, you& are about to die off. But if (and it is true) by means of 0Spirit you& are continually putting to death the practices of the body, you& shall absolutely live” (Rom. 8:13 APT).
Now note the result of dying to Sin. “Sin shall not exercise lordship over you&” (Rom. 6:14 APT). Not only must we die to self and to sin, but we must also die to the world.
C. Dead to the World. The Focus is upon Involvement
Paul declared that he is not only dead to self (Gal. 2:20; 5:24) and to sin (Rom. 6:8), but also dead to the world. “But may it never be for myself to boast except in the cross of The Lord of ours, Jesus Christ, through Whom 0world is crucified to myself and myself to the world” (Gal. 6:14 APT).
He wrote to the saints in Rome,
‘‘Stop fashioning [conforming to the fashion] yourselves together to this age, but on the contrary continually be being transformed by the renewing of your& comprehension! in order for you& /to approve[after testing] what the beneficially good and well-pleasing and perfectly complete, determined will of The God |is| (Rom. 12:2 APT).
John told his children in Christ the reason why we must die to the world (1 Jn. 2:15-17).
“Never love[sovereignly prefer over self and others] the world, not even the~ things in the world. If (and it may be) anyone love[sovereignly prefer over self and others] the world, the love[sovereign preference over self and others] for The Father is continually not in him. Because the everything in the world: the passionate lust of the flesh, and the passionate lust of the eyes, and the arrogant display[of life without The God] of the manner of life is continually not of The Father, but on the contrary, it is of the world. In fact the world is progressively passing away and the passionate lust of it, but the one continually doing the determined will of The God is continually abiding for /ever” (1 Jn. 2:15-17 APT).
John clearly stated the reason why we must die to the world. It is because of the conflict in devotion between the world and The God. Our love for The Father can only be acceptable to The God when and if we die to the world, its lusts both of the flesh and of the eyes and to its arrogant display of life-style that has little time for The God. Keep a careful record of your time in fifteen minute segments for one average week! Then calculate how much time you spend: for yourself, including sleeping, working and traveling, and family; for pleasure and entertainment including TV, videos, etc.; for social interests including the news; and for The God: in Bible reading and Bible study, prayer, attendance at church services, and in being discipled and discipling others. Add the time spent involved in the first three categories, then the total time spent with The God (the last four categories) and compare how your time is spent. How much time do you spend for The God? Subtracting the time spent sleeping, how much time for yourself? How much time for the world (the total of the two categories, pleasure and entertainment plus social interests including the news)? What is the ratio between time for The God and time for world? What does this reflect your priorities to be? If you do not enjoy spending more time with The God, His Word, and His people, how do you expect to enjoy Heaven for eternity with these three?
In the next paper concerning “THE CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP (cont.)”, this consideration, Dead to the World will be considered in more depth along with The Third Condition of Discipleship.
Conclusion: Self denial, reckoning self to be dead to selfish interests in possessions, in pleasures, appetites and lusts of the flesh and reckoning self to be dead to Sin and to the world, demonstrating that you are indeed crucified with Christ, all of this is an impossibility in your own strength! Apart from a cross and resurrection experience it cannot be accomplished! Death in the spiritual sense through a cross experience is absolutely necessary to become a regenerated person, to become Christ’s disciple, and to become a true member of His true church. Jesus told the multitude that His disciple must deny self and be willing to be crucified daily, which involves death to self, to sin and to the world, but alive in Christ, and be determinedly steadfast in following Him.
Have you considered the consequences of continuing in darkness and sin and in the Kingdom of this world? Are you determined to be delivered from the power of darkness and death? Are you ready and willing to repent and unreservedly commit to The Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord and appropriate His Salvation to become His disciple? The choice is yours! Choose well! Your choice is brief, but endless!
| | understood $singular &plural +masc. ^fem. ~neut. /the
[ ]basic meaning italics = Center column reference in A Precise Translation
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