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P. S. Wilmot
Edited: Jun 26, 2018
I know asceticism is wrong, but isn't "a living sacrifice" taught by Paul the same as asceticism?
They are different.
A living sacrifice is walking by faith through the denial of self.
This is where the confusion of assuming asceticism is the same as the denial of self, or the same as a living sacrifice.
Now, here is the difference, those who practice asceticism; their focus is on the prevention of the temptation, (keep that in mind). For an example, in early New Testament times, there were those called the bleeding Pharisee. These individuals will blind themselves by the covering of their eyes when they went out in public. Their reason was, not to lust after a woman. Therefore, their focus was the “lust” and their solution was to deny themselves from seeing. Consequently, they will walk into an object, and crash their faces, causing them to bleed.
So, asceticism focuses on the temptation, thereby formulating measures in order to cover the problem. However, “the denial of self” is completely different, if it is understood the right way. Let us look at the origination of the phrase, but first let’s go to Luke 9:23.
This is Jesus speaking, and He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Now, one might argue saying, the acts of deny of self, it is the same act as asceticism. However, when we read the original Greek text, the passages in this case come alive. This is how it reads in the Greek. And He (Jesus) was saying to all, Assuming that anyone desires to come after me as a follower of mine, let him disregard his own interests . . . Now, pause right there. Here is the difference. To “deny self” the right way is to disregard your own interests. Whereas, asceticism focuses on the interest that is causing the problem or temptation and try to cover it up. Jesus is saying, disregard it. So then, how do we disregard an interest that is causing temptation? This is where the phrase, “a living sacrifice” becomes functional. Christ was crucified on the Cross. By faith we were crucified too, so we become a sacrifice. Christ was buried, by faith we were buried with Him. However, Christ didn’t stay in the tomb, he was risen from the tomb. By faith we were risen with him!
You realize when Christ was risen from the dead, the grave clothes were left in the tomb in the same position as it was, when his body was wrapped in it? This was as if his physical body became a light and it shone through the grave cloths leaving it behind without unraveling anything. The grave clothes represent us, our flesh. Our problems, and whatever it might be, lust, anger, fear, anxiety, hate, jealousy, and the likes. They were all left in the tomb, left behind and buried. Like Christ was risen, we too are risen with him, in Newness of life.
As recorded in Romans 6:4. Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
The phrase Newness of life means a new life imparted to order our behavior. This is how we disregard our own interests. We have received a new life by faith. Our old-self and all the many problems were left in the tomb like the grave clothes. Now, our focus is not to go back in the tomb and try to wear the grave clothes or try to hide it somewhere. Instead, we “disregard it” and focus on our new life by following Christ.
Trusting Him, praying about everything, reading more of the Bible, than motivational books. We wake up in the morning, and we give God thanks. Give praises to Him for taking us through the night, knowing this day He will take us through.
Christ went on to say in the remaining of Luke 9:23, according to the Greek text. Let him (the believer) at once, and once for all pick up and carry his cross day after day (disregard his own interests) and let him take the same road with me that I take as a habit of life.
Like in the lyric of Elizabeth Goodine and Wayne Goodine.
Lead me Lord, I will follow
It’s hard to take the first step
When I don’t know the way
Each turn is so uncertain
I have learned to walk by faith
But You give me a promise
That you will never leave
You will lead and guide me
Lord, I do believe.
Lead me Lord, I will follow. Lead me Lord, I will go.
You have called me
I will answer
Lead me Lord, I will go
Your plans for me are perfect, I never need to fear.
For though at times I feel alone
I know that you are near
My heart just wants to follow
I am willing to obey
Take my hand and lead me
I’ll follow all the way
Concerning the third paragraph above, check the art gallery for the 85th painting called "To covert a temptation is not a deliverance from the problem."
Words sure can make a difference when used right.
Beautiful abstract too.
Yes it was
Such a beautiful song too
I've always love the song, now seeing the lyrics made me appreciate it more.
@k.dees it is inspiring indeed