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I Die Daily

Query for the Month

of

March 2016

Next up-date: April 1st 2016 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

 

This article is available as a PDF file here.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

In the meantime, try this site.   

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


 The query:

Why are we sometimes taught that the words “I die daily” apply to the rebirth when nature, human biology, and the Bible clearly teach that we can only be born once, physically AND also spiritually?    

“I die” is the OPPOSITE of “I live”, so why is it so often applied to the process of justification?

  

My response:

In one of the gospels it is written:

    John 3:

3 Jesus answered and said to him [Nicodemus], “Verily, verily, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”.

4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?”

5 Jesus answered, “Verily, verily, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 

7 “Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again [a second time – don’t worry about “how” or the mechanics of it]8 The wind blows where it lists, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell whence it comes, and whither it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit”.

9 [But] Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you a master [teacher] of Israel, and know not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say to you, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and you receive not our witness.

12 “If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” 

The query is based on the same misunderstanding of the illustration Jesus gave to Nicodemus – that the physical thing was to be taken literally.  But in our case the principle has been reversed, and the physical thing has been made spiritual!

Jesus was warning the Pharisee, that although he was a revered teacher in Israel, he had not really seen the kingdom of heaven and its spiritual state, let alone entered it.  He was right about a repeat of the physical birth, for that can only occur once, but Jesus was telling him that there is a second (spiritual) experience which is like it. 

This one also can only happen once, because it is written,

    Hebrews 6:4-6. 

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away [I repeat, it is impossible] to renew them again to repentance; seeing [because] they crucify to themselves [personally] the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame”. 

Hebrews 6:4-8 The Message version

4-8 Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they’ve personally experienced the sheer goodness of God’s Word and the powers breaking in on us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can’t start over as if nothing happened.  That’s impossible.  Why, they’ve re-crucified Jesus! They’ve repudiated him in public! Parched ground that soaks up the rain and then produces an abundance of carrots and corn for its gardener gets God’s “Well done!” But if it produces weeds and thistles, it’s more likely to get cussed out.  Fields like that are burned, not harvested.

The depth of that rejection is another subject, but it is not easy to do!  Consider the prodigal son of Luke 15 as the third and final illustration in that chapter which shows us how God reacts to the lost.  Verses 1-7 are about a lost “sheep” which knows that it is lost and cries out for help.  Verses 8-10 tell us of a coin which is lost and is hopeless for it can’t even call out.  Then we have the “son” who rises and makes his way back, which is why it is written:

“For a just [justified] man [may] fall seven times [and some add “every day”], and [yet] rises up again: but the wicked [rebel] shall fall into mischief [permanently].  Proverbs 24:16.

So now we come to the text in our question which is found in 1 Corinthians 15:31 where Paul wrote: 

“I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our LORD, I die daily”. 

Let’s look at the context of it:

    1 Corinthians 15:

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.  20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  21 For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead [a separate experience]

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  23 But every man in his own order: Christ [and] the firstfruits [at the first advent]; afterward they that are Christ's at His [second] coming [and the rebels at the third advent]

24 Then comes the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all [rebellious] rule and all authority and power.  25 For He [Christ] must reign [handle the sin problem], till He has put all enemies under His [the Father’s] feet.

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death [when, and by whom?]

27 for [only then] He [Christ] has [can] put all things under His [the Father’s] feet. 

But when He [the Spirit] says all things are put under Him [given to the Son to handle], it is manifest [plainly seen] that He [the Father] is excepted, which did put all things under Him [the Son].

28 And when all things shall be subdued to Him [the Son], then shall the Son also Himself be subject to Him that put all things under Him [gave Him the job], that God [the Father] may be all in all. 

   [Then Paul comes back to his subject – which is the resurrection of the dead.]

29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?  Why are they then baptized for the dead?

[He uses as an argument here a teaching that made living people want to be baptised on behalf of dead ones so that they could come up in the first resurrection! (Shades of purgatory!)  Yet God says that we must all make our own choice while we are alive, so that will not work.  It is, after all, in the nature of a wedding and a marriage!  And the reality of that is that the power is not in the marriage service or the license, but in the love.]

30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour [not just every day]? 31 I protest [argue] by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our LORD, I die daily [all day long]32 If after the manner of men I have fought with “beasts” [the opposition] at Ephesus, what advantages it me, if the dead rise not? [We might as well say], “Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die [forever]”.  33 Be not deceived: evil communications [deceptive teachings] corrupt good manners [spoil good behaviour]34 Awake to [the power of] righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of [the power of] God: I speak this to your shame.

This is expanded in {The Life of Paul 178.2} 

Paul informed the Corinthians of his trouble in Asia [Minor], where, he says, “We were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.” [2 Corinthians 1:8.]  In his first epistle he speaks of fighting with beasts at Ephesus.  He thus refers to the fanatical mob that clamored for his life.  They were indeed more like furious wild beasts than men.  With gratitude to God, Paul reviews his danger and his deliverance.  He had thought when at Ephesus, that his life of usefulness was about to close, that the promise made to him that he should at last die for his faith, was about to be fulfilled.  But God had preserved him, and his remarkable to [sic] deliverance made him hope that his labors were not at an end. 

This query is a classic example of the confusion that many have between the beginning of the Christian life and its continuation.  A baby is carried in the mother’s womb for many months, and then is finally born into this world, complete in every detail except experience. 

So it is in the (re)birth and life of the Christian. 

It is only after receiving the breath of life that the physical baby can grow in body and practise life for the rest of its time on earth.  In like manner, we have to be re-born and then grow in grace.  2 Peter 3:18.

Let’s look at the text in another version:

    1 Corinthians 15:    The Message (MSG)

30-33 And why do you think I keep risking my neck in this dangerous work? I look death in the face practically every day I live.  Do you think I’d do this if I wasn’t convinced of your resurrection and mine as guaranteed by the resurrected Messiah Jesus?  Do you think I was just trying to act heroic when I fought the wild beasts at Ephesus, hoping it wouldn’t be the end of me?  Not on your life!  It’s resurrection, resurrection, always resurrection, that undergirds what I do and say, the way I live. 

If there’s no resurrection, “We eat, we drink, the next day we die,” and that’s all there is to it.  But don’t fool yourselves.  Don’t let yourselves be poisoned by this anti-resurrection loose talk [which is based on the thought of an immortal soul].  “Bad company ruins good manners.”

34 Think straight.  Awaken to the holiness of life.  No more playing fast and loose with resurrection facts.  Ignorance of God is a luxury you can’t afford in times like these.  Aren’t you embarrassed that you’ve let this kind of thing go on as long as you have?

And another:

    1 Corinthians 15:33-34  J.B.  Phillips New Testament

33-34 Don’t let yourselves be deceived.  Talking about things that are not true is bound to be reflected in practical conduct.  Come back to your senses, and don’t dabble in sinful doubts.  Remember that there are men who have plenty to say but have no knowledge of God.  You should be ashamed that I have to write like this at all!

In the Bible these TWO very different things are called “justification” and “sanctification” respectively.  In the former experience we are changed from being a natural human into being a spiritual one by the power of the Creator through HIS works.  In the latter we live that new life.  In the former God does it all as a Parent, in the latter we do it in conjunction with Him.

So it is written:

    Romans 3:

19 Now we know that what things soever the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight [it does NOT require any actions on our part to be re-born]: for by the law is the knowledge of [the depths of] sin [that’s its purpose]21 But now [through the life of Christ] the righteousness of God without [outside of and above] the law is manifested [plainly seen], being witnessed [backed up] by the law and the prophets; 22 even the righteousness of God which is [given] by faith of Jesus Christ to all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 being justified freely by His grace [gift] through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 whom God has set forth to be a propitiation [a substitute] through faith in His blood [the evidence of His “death”], to declare His righteousness for the remission of [our] sins that are past [our old lives], through the forbearance of God;

26 to declare, I say, at this time His [perfect] righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus.

27 Where is [the place for] boasting [of our works] then?  It is excluded.  By what law [are we justified]?  Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 

If that is the case (and it is so), what place has “I die daily” in it?  None at all, because [justification] is received “by faith” as a gift.  So then, the “I die daily” experience must happen in another place.

So this is written:

     Matthew 16:24-27: 

“Then said Jesus to His disciples, ‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross [of persecution for his religious beliefs], and follow Me [and “die” for others].  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.  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?  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’.”  

Luke added one word to his account of what Jesus had said, and that is very illuminating: “And He said to them all, ‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it’.”  Luke 9:23-24.

The whole of true Christianity is based on justification received without any of our works, without reward (or payment), and yet here we have been told that there will be a reward for our daily experiences, which must mean our sanctification!

Here are some Spirit of Prophecy statements regarding that:

   {Ministry of Healing 452.4 - 453.2} 

The life of the apostle Paul was a constant conflict with self.  He said,

“I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31.  His will and his desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God.  Instead of following inclination, he did God's will, however crucifying to his [physical] nature [he crucified himself and will be rewarded for that!]

At the close of his life of conflict, looking back over its struggles and triumphs, he could say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the LORD, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.” 2 Timothy 4:7, 8. 

The Christian life is a battle and a march[A fight and a progress.]  In this warfare there is no release; the effort must be continuous and persevering.  It is by unceasing endeavor that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan.  Christian integrity must be sought with resistless energy and maintained with a resolute fixedness of purpose. 

    {Counsels for the Church 80.2-3}

The sin which is indulged to the greatest extent, and which separates us from God and produces so many contagious spiritual disorders, is selfishness [wanting our own way].  There can be no returning to the LORD except by self-denial.  Of ourselves we can do nothing; but, through God strengthening us, we can live to do good to others, and in this way shun the evil of selfishness. 

We need not go to heathen lands to manifest our desire to devote all to God in a useful, unselfish life.  We should do this in the home circle, in the church, among those with whom we associate and with whom we do business.  Right in the common walks of life is where self is to be denied and kept in subordination.  Paul could say: “I die daily.” It is the daily dying to self in the little transactions of life that makes us overcomers.  We should forget self in the desire to do good to others.  With many there is a decided lack of love for others.  Instead of faithfully performing their duty, they seek rather their own pleasure.

[We should note here that she is NOT speaking of facing the temptation to a common sin, but the temptation to have our own way!  Our fight is not so much with sin or Satan, but with our own desire to do our own thing before God and among our fellow humans.]

In heaven none will think of self, nor seek their own pleasure; but all, from pure, genuine love, will seek the happiness of the heavenly beings around them.  If we wish to enjoy heavenly society in the earth made new, we must be governed by heavenly principles here. 

    {Historical Sketches 181.2}

Brothers [and sisters], be no longer slothful servants.  Every soul must battle against inclination.  Christ came not to save men in their sins, but from their sins.  He has made it possible for us to possess a holy character; do not, then, be content with defects and deformities.  But while we are to seek earnestly for perfection of character, we must remember that sanctification is not the work of a moment, but of a lifetime

Said Paul, “I die daily.” Day by day the work of overcoming [self] must go forward.  Every day we are to resist temptation [the desire to choose our own way], and gain the victory over selfishness in all its forms.  Day by day we should cherish love and humility, and cultivate in ourselves all those excellencies of character which will please God and fit us for the blessed society of heaven.  To all who are seeking to accomplish this work, the promise is very precious, “He that overcomes [himself], the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” 

The query is really, “Do we have to DO this thing in order to BECOME, or remain, Christians, or do we DO it because we are already in that condition?”  Do we have to be reborn every moment of each day, or are we reborn once to “fight the good fight”?  Do we do God’s work or do we do our own?  Which comes first – the tree or the fruit?

In regard to the last, Jesus told us:

    Luke 6:43-45:

For a good [healthy] tree brings not forth corrupt fruit; neither does a corrupt [diseased] tree bring forth good fruit.  For every tree is known by his own fruit.  For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.  A good [righteous] man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil [rebellious] man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. 

With this mind, let’s read one more statement:

     {Reflecting Christ 291.5-8}

God alone can renew the heart.  “It is God who works in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure” [and He is a Creator only and not an evolutionist!] (Philippians 2:13, A.R.V.).  But we are [also] bidden: “Work out your own salvation” (verse 12, A.R.V.).  [There we have two different things again.]

Wrongs cannot be righted, nor can reformations in character be made, by a few feeble, intermittent efforts.  .  .  .  The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle.  Without continual effort and constant activity there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor's crown. 

The strongest evidence of man's fall from a higher state is the fact that it costs so much to return.  The way of return can be gained only by hard fighting [practising, rehearsing], inch by inch, every hour [choosing God’s way and not our own]By a momentary act of the will, one may place himself [establish a habit] in the power of evil; but it requires more than a momentary act of will to break these fetters and attain to a higher, holier life. 

The purpose may be formed, the work begun; but its accomplishment will require toil, time, and perseverance, patience and sacrifice. 

Beset with temptations without number, we must resist firmly or be conquered.  .  .  .  Paul's sanctification was the result of a constant conflict with self.  He said: “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31).  His will and his desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God.  [But he obeyed just as a good wife follows the desires of her husband instead of her own.]  Instead of following inclination, he did God's will, however crucifying to his own [physical] nature.  God leads His people on step by step.  -- Testimonies, vol.  8, pp.  312, 313. 

Conclusion:

From these thoughts it should be obvious that “I die daily” does not have anything to do with being made righteous (rebirth), but has everything to do with the growth of the new life.  So to apply them that way is a twisting of the Scriptures which cannot lead to any good. 

 

šššš

 

Further thoughts:

As far as the Word of God is concerned, regardless of the experiences of many who think of themselves as Christians, the Old Testament picture is that we can only be “spiritually circumcised” once, as in the physical. 

It is written:

    Deuteronomy 10:16:

          Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. 

And it is God our Father who performs the operation:

    Deuteronomy  30:6:

And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live. 

This is corroborated in the New Testament:  

    Romans 2:29:

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. 

Then again in the New Testament in a passage which is often overlooked we are told that we can only have one “husband” at a time!  

     Romans 7:

1 Know you not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law [of God],) how that the law [of God] has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

2 For [example] the woman which has a husband is bound by the law [of God] to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband  [but not from God’s law]3 So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law [the controlling law of her husband, and the condemnation of the law of God]; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

[Note that the “husband” must be “dead” for this new experience.]

4 Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law [of the “old man”] by the [dead] body of Christ; that you should be married to Another [a “new Man”, Ephesians 4:20-24], even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit [spiritual children] to God.

[There is an exchange made by Christ which is the equivalent of “death”.]

5 For when we were in the flesh [with the old husband], the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit to death [dead works]6 But now we are delivered from the law [of the old husband], that being “dead” wherein we were held [by re-birth we are set free from the power of indwelling sinfulness]; that we should [now] serve in newness of spirit [with the new Husband], and not in the oldness of the letter. 

 

P. S.  We do not get “married” every day!!

 

šššš

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated,

but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

 

Next query. To be discussed from April 1st 2016.

Next query:

Is there any distinction between “sinners” and “righteous” ones in the Bible?

Who are the “saints” (those being sanctified) and who the “sinners” (the rejecters)?

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