A Deeper Death to Self

By G. D. Watson

There is not only a death to sin, but in a great may things there is a deeper death to self — a crucifixion in detail and in the minutia of life — after the soul has been sanctified. This deeper crucifixion to self is the unfolding and application of all the principals of self-renunciation that the soul agreed to in its full consecration.

Job was a perfect man and dead to all sin (Job 1:8), but in his great sufferings he died to his own religious life; died to his domestic affections; died to his theology; all his views of God’s providence; he died to a great many things which in themselves were not sin, but which hindered his largest union with God. Peter, after being sanctified and filled with the Spirit, needed a special vision from heaven to kill in him his traditional theology and Jewish high churchism (Acts 10:9-16, 34-35). The very largest degrees of self-renunciation, crucifixion and abandonment to God take place after the work of heart-purity.

There are a multitude of things that are not sinful; nevertheless, our attachment to them prevents our greatest fullness of the Holy Spirit and our amplest co-operation with God. Infinite wisdom takes us in hand and leads us through deep interior crucifixion in our fine parts, our lofty reason, our brightest hopes, our cherished affections, our religious views, our dearest friendships, our pious zeal, our spiritual impetuosity, our narrow culture, our creeds and churchisms, our success, our religious experiences, our spiritual comforts. The crucifixion goes on till we are dead and detached from all creatures, all saints, all thoughts, all hopes, all plans, all tender-heart yearnings, all preferences; dead to all troubles, all sorrows, all disappointments; equally dead to all praise or blame, success or failure, comforts or annoyances; dead to all climates and nationalities; dead to all desire but for Himself. There are innumerable degrees of interior crucifixion on these various lines. Perhaps not one sanctified person in ten thousand ever reaches that degree of death to self that Paul and Madame Guyon and similar saints have reached.

In contradistinction from heart-cleansing, this finer crucifixion of self is gradual — it extends through months or years. The interior spirit is mortified over and over on the same points till it reaches a state of divine indifference to it. A great host of believers have obtained heart-purity, and yet, for a long time, have gone through all sorts of “dying daily” to self before they found that calm, fixed union with the Holy Ghost, which is the deep longing of the child of God.

Again, in contradistinction from heart-cleansing, which is by faith, this deeper death to self is by suffering. This is abundantly taught in Scripture and confirmed by the furnace experience of thousands. Joseph was a sanctified man before being cast into prison, but there the iron entered into his soul (see Psa. 105:18 margin); and by suffering he reached the highest death of self. There are literally scores of Scripture passages, like Psa. 71:19-21, teaching that the upper ranges in the sanctified state are wrought out through suffering. Perhaps the most remarkable passage of the Word on this subject is in Romans, 5th chapter. The first verse teaches justification by faith, the second verse teaches full salvation by faith, and verses 3-5 teach a deeper death (to self) and a fuller Holy Ghost life by tribulation.

When the soul undergoes this deeper death to self, it enters into a great wideness of spiritual comprehension and love; a state of almost uninterrupted prayer; of boundless charity for all people; of unutterable tenderness and broadness of sympathy; of deep, quiet thoughtfulness; of extreme simplicity of life and manners; and of deep visions into God and the coming ages. In this state of utter death to self, suffering, sorrows, pains, and mortifications of all kind are looked upon with a calm, sweet indifference. Such a soul looks back over its heart-breaking trials, its scalding tears, its mysterious tribulations, with gentle subduedness, without regret, for it now sees God in every step of the way. Into such a soul the Holy Spirit pours the ocean currents of His own life. Its great work henceforth is to watch the monitions and movements of the Spirit within it, and yield prompt, loving, unquestioning co-operation with Him. Such a soul has at last, in deed and in truth, reached the place where there is “none of self and all of Christ.”

Taken from Soul Food, by G. D. Watson. A Deeper Death to Self was revised and may be reproduced and distributed.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” – The apostle Paul; Galations 2:20

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” – Jesus; John 12:24


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