Self-denial is embraced by much of Christianity today. Historically, self-denial has always been a big part of false religion. Most religions of the world teach an abasement of self, but they do it as penitence in order to obtain salvation. This is not the denying of self that the Bible advocates.
True self-denial as the scriptures promote is not self hatred or masochism, but rather an enthroning of Christ above self. We have a new identity in Christ that replaces the old self. We don’t deny self in order to obtain salvation, but it is a love response to what Christ has already done for us. He gave His all for us and we willingly give our all back to Him.
Denying self in an attempt to earn salvation is most always motivated by guilt and characterized by rigid rules as Paul describes here. True Christianity, on the other hand, is not the observance of rituals, but a relationship that produces holiness as a fruit and not the root of salvation.
Holiness doesn’t come from the outside and work its way inside. When we are born again we become righteous, and we work that holiness out into our physical lives.
Trying to destroy the power of self through harsh laws actually arouses and strengthens sin. Christians must not let life become a set of rules, but rather a response to a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Written by: Andrew Wommack