To Die Daily

We have often heard those who believe in a gradual process of sanctification quote this text to prove their argument! They do not believe that one may become dead indeed unto sin as a finality, and thus have carnality killed. But, on the contrary, they think they must die more and more unto sin until finally the “least and last remains of sin,” by a process of daily dying, have become exterminated, just when they come to “shuffle off this mortal coil.” We have known others, who are in the experience of holiness, quote this text to prove further processes of dying out after one is sanctified. We do not assume that there are not deeper experiences after we are sanctified, for we believe there are blessed post-purity processes in which we are further crucified or tested, and thus are enabled to go down deeper into the deep things of God than we at first comprehended in our sanctification. There are things that we did not see when we first died out and consecrated our all to God, although we subscribed to the whole will of God, and gave Him all we knew, and all we did not know. He did not flash all the light on our souls at once, for He knew lust how much we could stand. Later on, when He saw that we could bear it, testings of a deeper nature came, which put us deeper into the life hid with Christ in God. Paul helped to fill up the measure of Christ’s sufferings. He went through awful crucifixions and deaths, as it were, in different kinds of sufferings, after his purification; but in no sense was it a dying out to sin, nor did it touch carnality, for that question had previously been settled in the baptism with the Holy Ghost. We do not teach that when one gets sanctified, he is to sail to heaven on “flowery beds of ease.” The “way of holiness” is not always strewn with roses, even though it be crowned with victory. Victory implies a battle fought and won. In the great work of salvation and growth in grace, God has very wisely ordered a course of drill and suffering which may consist of many things, in order to .further and perfect the work already begun. But the God of all grace, “who bath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”—I Pet. 5:10. Deeper deaths do not imply a failure in the former one, or its insufficiency. It was all that God required and that could be done. It accomplished the work intended for it to accomplish. It resulted in the death of the “old man.” But God wants us to grow in grace. He wants us to become stronger Christians. He proposes so to help us that the gates of hell shall not prevail against us. One way of accomplishing this needed growth is by processes of suffering and by revelations of our own further needs. We shall see things in ourselves that are not sinful, yet they are not the fruit of the Spirit. We die out to these, and more and more come under the direct control of the Spirit. Thank God for the grace that enables one to face the light as it comes, and stand all the suffering and bear all the trials subsequent to his purification. The one who thinks that sanctification is the point which precludes further growth in grace, and thus settles down, will soon find, to his regret, that he has made the mistake of his life.
While all of these further processes mentioned are true, yet nowhere do we find that the Scriptures teach a daily dying in order to get sanctified. Neither do they teach, that after one is sanctified, there is any further dying out to carnality. And especially does the text, “I die daily,” have no reference to either thought. Then, what does Paul mean by the expression? We fall back on the common method and study the context. It means something, to be sure, and something that was daily occurring in the life of Paul. Let us notice the verse before and the one following:
“And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
“I protest by your rejoicing, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
“If, after the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.”
Thus we have it clearly set forth. Paul is stating that his life is in jeopardy every day and every hour. He does not know what moment he may be thrown in with wild beasts and be compelled to fight for his life. It would seem from the statements here that he actually had such a combat. He does not know at what moment some howling mob may pounce upon him and stone him to death. We know that he did have such an experience, for they stoned him to death, as they supposed, end dragged him out of the city. But God raised him up. Thus, we see, that instead of referring to a gradual process of purification by daily dying, or even further dying out subsequent to purification, he is simply calling attention to the feet of facing literal death daily. His physical life was in con­stant jeopardy. So the statement is one concerning physical death, and not of spiritual experience.
Reader, if you have not yet died out to sin, and had the old man crucified, do so at once. Go through the crucifixion now. Go on the cross, and let the nails be driven till carnality dies, so that there may come into your soul that blessed resurrection, “life more abundant.” And if you are called to go down deeper, do not shrink nor waver, but constantly yield to the whole will of God, and let Him put you through any process He sees best. Thus, you will find yourself keeping saved, growing in grace, and becoming more and more rooted and grounded in Him. If, perchance, the persecutions of this world should reach the high-water mark of physical martyrdom, may we look to the God of Paul, who always caused him to triumph in Christ Jesus, Who gave him grace to say, as he faced the axman’s block, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 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; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.”

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