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Does a Christian need to take up their cross daily?

Quick Answer: Does a Christian need to take up their cross daily? Popular religious teaching suggests that believers need to take up their cross daily in order to follow Jesus. While it’s true that Jesus taught the importance of denying oneself and taking up their cross (Matthew 16:24-26), He was not speaking of an ongoing act after salvation. He was inviting people to follow Him into His death so that they might be raised to newness of life and be saved (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:1-12). This is what happens to every believer at salvation.

Diving Deeper:  Jesus taught His disciples that they were to deny themselves and take up their cross to follow Him (Matthew 16:24-26). We often hear this taught as if it’s a daily decision that believers must make. However, the Gospel message is that believers have been crucified with Christ (past tense) and raised with Him to newness of life (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:1-12).

In other words, we did take up our cross, and we did follow Him into death, and we don’t need to die again! In short, Jesus was speaking of the salvation experience. One must die with Christ in order to be born again in Him. So, if you’ve been born again, it’s only because you already died with Christ.

If this is true, then why does the Luke account contain the word “daily”? Actually, it doesn’t – at least, not in some of the earliest manuscripts. The word “daily” is absent from both early manuscripts of Luke and from the other gospel accounts of this teaching. Some scholars believe the word “daily” was added later as a scribe inserted it with 1 Corinthians 15:31 (“I die daily”) in mind. But even there in the Corinthian passage, Paul was not teaching a daily spiritual death. He was simply referring to the physical dangers he encountered as an apostle. He suffered daily (in a physical sense) to deliver the Gospel.

The bottom line is that every believer has already denied their old self, taken up their cross, died with Christ, and been raised to new life in Him. There is no reason to try to “kill” what God has made new. So, if you’re a believer… don’t deny yourself, accept yourself, and be yourself!

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. How have you heard “take up your cross” taught? What did you think of that teaching?
2. Why is it important to understand the true context of Christ’s invitation to take up one’s cross?
3. React to this statement: There’s no longer a cross to carry, only a resurrection life to be lived.


Have more questions about your identity in Christ? Check out:
101 Bible Questions - Book101 Bible Questions: And the Surprising Answers You May Not Hear in Church is now available on Amazon!

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