Dying daily vs. Having died.



Denying yourself

I have often received much questions and objections towards the teaching of grace and “resting in the finished work”, by being posed the question “but Jesus said “Deny yourself and take up your cross”. As such, many believers clam, we preach a “laxed gospel”.  Many of such believers, good hearted as they may be, say that the grace gospel deals away with the need to “die daily” and as such, is nothing short of being heretic.

A kind brother even pointed to me that the term “denying yourself” in Leviticus is different from that in Matthew 16:24
24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

He argues that the Septuagint uses 2 different words in Leviticus and Matthew. For that I am thankful. The word used in Leviticus indicates “to rest or be lowly”, where as in Matthew the word used is:

1) to deny

a) to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone

b) to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interest


It comes from the Greek word “ἀπαρνέομαι” aparneoma. Incredibly, this word only appears in the Gospels and does not appear elsewhere in the New Testament. The code for this word is G533 from Strong’s Concordance. Here are the verses:


Mat 16:24

Then 5119 said 2036 Jesus 2424 unto his 846 disciples 3101, If any 1536[man] will 2309 come 2064 after 3694 me 3450, let him deny533himself 1438, and 2532 take up 142 his 846 cross 4716, and 2532 follow190 me 3427.

Mat 26:34

Jesus 2424 said 5346 unto him 846, Verily 281 I say 3004 unto thee4671, That 3754 this 1722 5026 night 3571, before 4250 the cock 220crow 5455 , thou shalt deny533 me 3165 thrice 5151.

Mat 26:35

Peter 4074 said 3004 unto him 846, Though 2579 I 3165 should 1163 die599 with 4862 thee 4671, yet 3364 0 will I533 0 not 3364 deny533 thee4571. Likewise 3668 also 2532 said 2036 all 3956 the disciples 3101.

Mat 26:75

And 2532 Peter 4074 remembered 3415 the word 4487 of Jesus 2424, which 3588 said 2046 unto him 846, Before 3754 4250 the cock 220 crow5455 , thou shalt deny533 me 3165 thrice 5151. And 2532 he went out1854, and 1831 wept 2799 bitterly 4090.

Mar 8:34

And 2532 when he had called 4341 the people 3793 [unto him] with4862 his 846 disciples 3101 also, he said 2036 unto them 846, Whosoever 3748 will 2309 come 2064 after 3694 me 3450, let him deny533 himself 1438, and 2532 take up 142 his 846 cross 4716, and2532 follow 190 me 3427.

Mar 14:30

And 2532 Jesus 2424 saith 3004 unto him 846, Verily 281 I say 3004 unto thee 4671, That 3754 this day 4594, [even] in 1722 this 5026 night 3571, before 4250 2228 the cock 220 crow 5455 twice 1364, thou shalt deny533 me 3165 thrice 5151.

Mar 14:31

But 1161 he spake 3004 the more 3123 vehemently 1537 4053, If 1437 I3165 should 1163 die with 4880 thee 4671, I will not 3364 0 deny533thee 4571 in any wise 3364. Likewise 5615 also 1161 2532 said they 3004all 3956.

Mar 14:72

And 2532 the 1537 second time 1208 the cock 220 crew 5455 . And 2532Peter 4074 called to mind 363 the word 4487 that 3739 Jesus 2424 said2036 unto him 8463754 Before 4250 the cock 220 crow 5455 twice 1364, thou shalt deny533 me 3165 thrice 5151. And 2532 when he thought thereon 1911 , he wept 2799 .

Luk 9:23

And 1161 he said 3004 to 4314 [them] all 3956, If any [man] 1536 will2309 come 2064 after 3694 me 3450, let him deny533 himself 1438, and2532 take up 142 his 846 cross 4716 daily 2250 2596, and 2532 follow 190me 3427.

Luk 12:9

But 1161 he that denieth 720 me 3165 before 1799 men 444 shall be denied533 before 1799 the angels 32 of God 2316.

Luk 22:34

And 1161 he said 2036 , I tell 3004 thee 4671, Peter 4074, the cock 220shall 5455 0 not 3364 crow 5455 this day 4594, before that 4250 thou shalt 2228 thrice 5151 deny533 that thou 3361 knowest 1492 me 3165.

Luk 22:61

And 2532 the Lord 2962 turned 4762 , and looked upon 1689 Peter4074. And 2532 Peter 4074 remembered 5279 the word 3056 of the Lord 2962, how 5613 he had said 2036 unto him 846, Before 3754 4250the cock 220 crow 5455 , thou shalt deny533 me 3165 thrice 5151.

Jhn 13:38

Jesus 2424 answered 611 him 846, Wilt thou lay down 5087 thy 4675life 5590 for 5228 my sake 1700? Verily 281, verily 281, I say 3004 unto thee 4671, The cock 220 shall 5455 0 not 3364 crow 5455 , till 2193 3739thou hast denied533 me 3165 thrice 5151.


The traditional teaching from the verse would ring as below:

a)     Give up the things you loved;

b)     A need to die daily; and

c)      A constant life of repentance and confession.

The following paragraph sums up the tone of this kind of teaching:

“What does it mean to “daily take up your cross”? The cross was a horrid symbol of pain, shame, and death. A person hung on it, naked, until his skeletal structure collapsed and he suffocated to death, without air and with his body drowning itself in its own fluids. Every day we are to live in such a way that it is apparent to everyone that we have died to ourselves, to our selfish ways and ambitions, and live for God. Another translation words the verse: “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (NLT).”

For many years, I was under the impression, the injunction Jesus gave meant the above.

My problem with this teaching is this: What happens if you did NOT deny yourself for one day? What happens when we “deny” Christ? Will we be saved?

If you had gone through the above verses you would note that Peter ‘denied’ Christ.

Jesus 2424 answered 611 him 846, Wilt thou lay down 5087 thy 4675life 5590 for 5228 my sake 1700? Verily 281, verily 281, I say 3004 unto thee 4671, The cock 220 shall 5455 0 not 3364 crow 5455 , till 2193 3739thou hast denied533 me 3165 thrice 5151.

He did not only ‘deny’ him once but 3 times. 3 times. 3 times!

Here lies then the question, then. Why was Peter counted as worthy? Also why wasn’t this injunction demanded by the apostles in their writings after the cross? Why didn’t Paul ask of the Gentiles to “die daily”. His only use of this term was in 1 Corinthians 15:31 (and only in the NLT)


But a better translation would be found in the NIV and read in context would mean” 31 I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord.” He speaks about the dangers he faced on a daily basis. It has nothing to do with “taking up the cross” or “dying to self”. In fact Paul says, he is already crucified with Christ in Galatians 2:20.


So the question beckons. “Are we to die daily or are we already dead?” Does the Bible teach “we are to die to self on a daily basis or are we already dead to sin?”


Let’s see.


  T. Austin-Sparks: “We have not to die; we are dead. What we have to do is to accept our death… [In] baptism… we simply step in there and say, ‘That position which God has settled with reference to me is the one which I now accept, and I testify here in this way to the fact that I have accepted God’s position for me, namely, that in the Cross I have been brought to an end.'”

Col 3:3-7 (Phi) For, as far as this world is concerned, you are already dead, and your true life is a hidden one in God, through Christ. One day, Christ who is your life, will show himself openly, and you will all share in that magnificent revelation. Consider yourselves dead to worldly contacts: have nothing to do with sexual immorality, dirty mindedness, uncontrolled passion, evil desire, and the lusts for other people’s goods, which amounts to idolatry. It is because of these very things that the holy anger of God falls upon those who refuse to obey him. And never forget that you had your part in those dreadful things when you lived that old life.

Romans 6:3-5

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

(note: We are already raised and already living a new life)

Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Rom 6:11a (KJV) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead.

Rom 6:11a (TEB) Think of yourselves as dead to sin.

Rom 6:11 (NIV) In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Rom 6:11-14 (Phi) In the same way, look upon yourselves as dead to the appeal and power of sin but alive to God through Christ Jesus our Lord. Do not, then, allow sin to establish any power over your mortal bodies in making you give way to its lusts. Nor hand over your bodily parts to be, as it were, weapons of evil for the devil’s purpose. But, like men rescued from certain death, put yourselves in God’s hands as weapons of good for his own purposes. For sin can never be your master; you are no longer living under the law, but under grace.

Rom 7:4-6 (Phi) So, my brothers, the death of Christ on the cross has made you “dead” to the claims of the Law, and you are free to give yourselves… to another, the one who was raised from the dead [Christ], that we may be productive for God. While we were “in the flesh”, the Law stimulated our sinful passions and so worked in our nature that we became productive–for death! But now that we stand clear of the Law, the claims which existed are dissolved by our “death”, and we are free to serve God, not in the old obedience to the letter of the Law, but in a new way, in the Spirit.

Colossians 2:11-13

11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature,[a] not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,[b] God made you[c] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

Colossians 2:20
Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules:

Colossians 3:3
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Here is an incredible truth: We have already died. We have not only died, we are NOW already seated at the right hand of God.

Ephesians 2:6

6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,


Colossians 3:1  Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.


Dear friends, this need to die daily is the very reason we do not experience  a life of being real in Christ. The reason we don’t die daily is because Jesus fulfilled his own injunction, he died for us and as us. We don’t carry the cross because Jesus carried it for us and with us. The fact is when Christ died, we died, when he was crucified, we were crucified, when he was buried, we were buried, when he rose from the grave, we were raised with him. Today, you cannot follow Christ, you cannot follow a person who is one with you. Jesus is infused with you. You are His body. You already died. You are now alive. You cannot die daily anymore.


“Galatians 2:20

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

 20with Christ I have been crucified, and live no more do I, and Christ doth live in me; and that which I now live in the flesh — in the faith I live of the Son of God, who did love me and did give himself for me;”

Eugene Peterson sums up the whole difference of “dying daily” and “having died already” in the Message. “Dying daily” is usually an acronym to following the commandments and sacrificing yourself towards that. “Having died” is really something else. Here is his version of Galatians 2:20 in context.

“Galatians 2:20

The Message (MSG)

 19-21What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

May you be set free….


  1. I never thought in all my 25 years of loving Jesus & doing “my” best to live for Him would I have to unlearn anything that I thought was the truth! Thank you for this teaching. You, Joseph Prince & a few others I’ve ran across are bringing the body of Christ the truth that will set us free!!!

  2. Maybe it simply means deny yourself since you are dead anyway, maybe it just means believing that you are dead? then you, the old you, is out of the way which is way more healthy anyway. Does take up your cross mean just keep in view that at any time you could loose your life for the gospel especially during the time Matthew was written? I really don’t know but I like these questions and how it makes me study it prayerfully.

  3. such an incredible truth you have found there!
    very good point on bringing up Peter. I love the greek words.

    I had this revelation last year. months ago. i though i might share it here.

    “We are not to follow Jesus”
    “Jesus lives in us”

    We are to let Jesus live in us and we are to live for Him

    we are not to follow to be His disciple.
    We are called to be sons! we are adopted into God’s family.
    That is why we call God. “Abba” “Daddy”

    It is quite sad, for God. why?
    because it took the life of His only beloved Son, to make us His children.
    then what do we do? claim to be “servants”? “disciples”?

    can we really carry the cross? can we really follow Jesus?

    We serve our father, not because we are servants.
    We obey Jesus not because we are His disciples.

    my 2 year old baby boy every morning would get my shoes and give it to me before I go to work. quite frankly, my child is not a servant.
    A house servant can do that.
    but my heart is fired up when my 2yr old boy hands over the pair of shoes.

    a bad coffee mix taste the best when done by your child
    a good coffee mix taste as usual when done by your servant

    uh.. long post again.

    grace and peace

  4. Amen! We have already died with Christ. Until we believe the finality of the cross we will never experience the power of His resurrection.

  5. GAlation 2:20 i believe about being crucified we are dead to sin and alive to God and we live by faith in the son of God who loves us and died for us. If i have been dead, buried, and raised with him! That is my position in him and when does the position become my condition? I don’t think it takes more belief but more grace… as grace and love is shed in my heart… and as i ask, seek, and knock the door will be opened. Until then i wait eagerly for the unveiling of the Sons of God, and i hope many get delivered from the Babylon system. In fact i can not wait until that system crashes… More and more believers are waking up to the fact of the reality of the cross is a now revelation not a someday. BLess you Brother continue keeping on… not by work but it is so amazing when we walk as we received him… it is a joyous walk. Great post.

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