ESV - 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
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Michael answered this question very well, but I just wanted to add my thoughts about the condition of the heart. Every person born is a lover of self. Self love is our state of being, our heart condition. As the parable of the soils in Matthew 13 illustrates, only one of the types of soil (heart) actually is dying to self. Dying to self is dying to self-love and having a new heart that loves God with all your heart, soul and mind. When a person dies to self they are surrendering their will to God's will and allowing Jesus to be Lord of their lives. Self love makes a person have control when God is saying to give up control and be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Then God will put in a new heart that dies to self and lives for Christ through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The evidence of a person dying to self, receiving this new, obedient heart (Ezekiel 36:25-27) is making the love of his life (God- Matthew 22) the top priority of life. A person who is dying to self daily will be spending time with the Lord of his life in prayer, Bible study and worship- loving God and loving others. Dying to self puts Jesus, others and yourself in that order which brings JOY. Dying to self and loving God with all that you are is really the only way to have true contentment since love of self or love of other things brings seperation from God and a relationship with Him is the only true satisfaction.
Paul said he was crucified with Christ but now lived by faith in the Son of God. He died to anything about himself to save himself but faith in Christ alone. If we try to save ourselves through good works we are only trusting in ourselves to save ourselves. We should do good works, but only because of what Jesus has already done for us. "Us" is always the problem. He is always the way the truth and the life. As we trust Him more and more we will see His life lived out through us. Jesus said " Without me you can do nothing." It is impossible to live the Christian life. Only Jesus can live the Christian life through us. We just need to die so He can live.
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