Sacrifice-of-Self Versus Self-Improvement in Christian Growth

Life is all about love.  It is about living to love. Life is our time to love.

But it is about great love, selfless love, agape love. For that is what touches the human heart–love. But this the highest love is the giving-up-one’s-life-for-another kind of love. It is that rare selfless love. And that is the part of the Christian story that reaches into the inner recesses of the heart and gently breaks it. It touches us. That’s the kind of love that is great–laying down one’s life for a friend.

And that is where the Christian’s Savior reigns supreme in touching hearts. Hearing of His undeniable love in taking our sins upon Himself and providing Himself as an offering for our sins–for the selfish likes of us–that is what touches us.

The cool untouchable reflection of Buddha does not touch us like Christ does. It is, after all, an exercise in helping one’s self gain peace. The busy petty pantheons of India, Rome, and Greece do not move us like Christ does.

Nor do nebulous new age imaginations touch us, for they all are mere means of self-improvement, not self-denial to help others.

And we humans know too well deep down in the core of our beings that self-improvement of the self is, well, self-centered and self-important and has little to do with worshipping the Creator who needs no improvement. For His ways are perfect; His thoughts are law.

This then should give us Christians pause. For we are warned repeatedly in almost every book in the New Testament that there will be false teachers. And even though well-meaning, they “will bring in damnable heresies.”

And the heretical teaching most damning, that condemns that vulnerable babe in Christ to a stunted spiritual growth is the doctrine of “self-improvement.” In an old tract it was call “The Modern Smooth Cross,” as opposed to the austerity of the “old rugged cross.”

The smooth modern cross does not demand the death of the old self on the cross with Christ, our sin Sacrifice, the Passover Lamb of God. This doctrine merely re-directs ambitions, improves little idiosyncrasies. It never gets down to the real problem–the sin nature that is brought to the church house.

In this modern doctrine of self-improvement, the self is still there. It is never demanded to die with Christ. Therefore, the sinful self is hibernating there under the initial rush and excitement of fellowship, hiding like a cornered wild animal waiting to strike out and wound whoever would pressure it out of its comfortable lair. Some feel quite at home and feel no threats to their current status in Christendom and carry on walking through the wide gate.

The Self-Sacrifice of Spiritual Circumcision

However, we now must remember that we Christians have undergone an invisible spiritual circumcision, “made without hands, in putting off the body of sins of the flesh (Col. 2: 11-13).  For we were already “dead in our sins (v. 13). And now God has provided a way to let that sinful nature die now and avoid the rush. And we have been “buried with Him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead” (v. 12). That is how God sees it and judges it regardless of whether we see it or even feel it. The “we,” the self is dead. He said it; now we believe it.

He died on the cross; our sinful nature died with Him. He was buried; we were buried spiritually, our old sinful nature entombed forever. He was raised from the dead; we are raised with Him and “walk in newness of life (Rom. 6: 4). And we must know this one thing: “That our old man is crucified with  Him [it is already done and over with], that the body of sin might be destroyed [that means dead, caput, no more, totally annihilated], that henceforth we should not serve sin”  (Rom. 6: 6).

So how to do this in a reality? We must reckon it so. We must account that it is done like God has already done. “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God” (6: 11). Let the invisible chains of sin’s slavery fall off of you. Just walk off of the plantation. You are already dead, so just let the old sinful life go. Be alive unto God. Walk in a new life through Him and through belief in His resurrection. It is already done. God’s Emancipation Proclamation has gone forth. Just believe it, and walk off of the plantation. You are free. You don’t have to sin anymore. Whether you have been going to church three months, three years, or thirty or more years–you are free now. Just believe it; it is already accomplished. I am proclaiming liberty to the captives. Walk on in the light of His love. Give up your life for others. Sacrifice your self to help save mankind. In a word, be like Christ. That is what He is asking us to do. After he told His disciples of these things, He asked them, Are you sure you want to do this? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

The Effect?

“He that is dead is freed from sin” (6: 7). Very few preachers tell their congregations that they are freed from sin. To the contrary, they tell them how sinful they are, but never tell them how to be free from that bondage to sinning. They proudly proclaim that they are a “sinner saved by grace” and will always be a sinner. Where does the Bible say that? Just read  1 John 3: 9. They will proclaim that they “sin every day.”

But why won’t they tell them that they are freed from the clutches of sin? Because they have not taught them that they must let their sinful old nature die with Christ on the cross. No death of sinful heart=no freedom from its bondage. For “whoever commits sin is the servant [slave] of sin,” Christ said (John 8: 34). He also said that “no man can serve two masters.” You cannot serve God and serve sin. Sharp cutting words, but needful.

But tired old churchianity slogs on, “teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” Their leaders “cause them to err,” and they will give an account to the Judge who will weigh all their justifications and give His verdict, as they are led from the room muttering, “But did we not prophesy in Your name?”

The message written here will bless the hearts of some, but some will scurry out of its light, back to the friendly confines of modern Christendom’s “Today’s Tips for Self-Improvement. “   Kenneth Wayne Hancock    {If you haven’t visited my website Immortality Road, please do. There you will find over 300 articles and books exploring the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” all written for you, the elect sons and daughters of God, the future rulers with Christ in His soon coming kingdom http://immortalityroad.wordpress.com }

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About wayneman

After high school, Kenneth Wayne Hancock enlisted in the Army, serving in a MASH hospital in Quang Tri, Vietnam during the Tet Offensive of January 1968. When he got out of the Army, he settled in Concord, Calif. and married Linda. He was an everyday drug user for three years, playing in rock bands, and yet still searching for the truth and the meaning to life. It was there that it was shown to him that the old self had to die. This led to an amazing conversion to Christ that would lead them to a 14 year stint as full time missionaries to Mexico and Ecuador. He also went on an expedition to Mt. Ararat, Turkey, in search for Noah's Ark. He has appeared on television many times speaking of his experiences. He is the author of two books, "The Unveiling of the Sons of God" and "Yah Is Savior: The Road to Immortality." He has also published short fiction and poetry. He currently is an Adjunct Intructor at two universities.
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One Response to Sacrifice-of-Self Versus Self-Improvement in Christian Growth

  1. secretangel says:

    Amen… Die to self. We are the righteousness of God in Christ… we just need to walk in it. Thanks for your awesome postings.

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