Jesus did not at any time say that he was going to die to save anybody. He died to show us the way to die to our flesh sense so that we will have eternal spiritual life. The following are his prescriptions.
- 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. Luke 9:23.
Self-denial is not self-rejection it is the daily rejecting of the dictates and persuasions of the senses of the flesh; of Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste and Hearing and follow what is in harmony only with spiritual growth. Deny that self that is easily hurt, feels proud, is in competition with others, wants to have all the wealth only to die and leave it all; that self that feels superior to others and finds things to condemn others for; that self that feels separate from others and from life, that does not see its connectedness with all of life. Deny that self and that requires huge spiritual disciplines and practices.
Take up your own cross means face your unique life challenges using both your pains and pleasures to glorify God. You are not to regard Jesus as special whose death gives you diplomatic access to heaven. You must work out your own salvation Philippians 2:12. And if you die with him, then you are resurrected in your spirit to live with him, that is, to live in the realm of his spiritual consciousness, which is heaven. 2 Timothy 2: 11.