Mark 8:34-36 says Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
Ok, take up your cross. That sound like a lot of dying to me. You know, dying to self or die to sin. And Jesus tells them to do that. But what is Jesus really saying here? Was it part of the gospel message? Yes it was. This is the message of salvation. So when do we do all this carrying and dying? Well, Romans 6:6 says Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed that henceforth we should not serve sin. and Galatians 2:20 says I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives 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 answer of when is at salvation. At salvation we die with Christ and He did it once and for all and it needs no repeating. We just need to recognize the once and for all death to sin as being real. It can change our thinking. If you don’t get this, then you will think of yourselves as sinners saved by grace instead of the radical truth that we are saints by nature.
So you only have to do it once and that is when you accept Christ. That’s salvation. So stop talking about taking up your cross and all that stuff. IT IS FINISHED!!
Oh and by the way, the I die daily that Paul was talking about had nothing to do with us. This was Paul defending His apostleship. And He was literally facing physical death daily. That he was doing whatever was needed to spread the gospel. THAT’S IT!! nothing more. (1Corinthians 15:30-32)