Tag Archives: free from sin

Reckon Yourself Dead to Sin

Romans 6:11 Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          So, what does it mean to “reckon yourself to be dead indeed to sin?” Many translations render this phrase “consider yourself to be dead,” but what does that look like?

          Another good word for “reckon” is “believe.” We must believe that we are dead to sin. But that is not the end of the verse. We must also reckon (believe) that we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. It means we need to stop believing and thinking of ourselves as “sinners,” and start believing and thinking of ourselves as forgiven, redeemed sons and daughters of God. The problem is, thinking and believing does not change automatically, it is changed by what we continually look at and meditate on.

Without daily intimacy with the Lord and continual exposure to His living word, we will stay focused on our failures and shortcomings, never actually becoming all that Jesus paid for. Reading and hearing the Word of God, fellowship with other believers, and listening to good preaching are all good things. However, nothing will transform us faster than spending time with God when no one else is looking. Intimacy is where the greatest transformation takes place. It is where grace has its perfect work.

          Intimacy with the Father builds faith, dispels doubt, and corrects wrong thinking. Beholding Him and His glory shapes our perspectives, confirming and strengthening our identity by changing the way we see Him.

          The Bible says that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 Matthew 12:33-37)

          What is in our heart and mind (believer and thinker) will eventually come out of our mouth, and that is the other thing that must change.

          We will never be free from sin while keeping it in our conversation and our thought life.

          We must not talk about how normal it is for us to sin. Saying things like; “We all sin, everybody sins, we are always going to sin,” strengthens a sin consciousness and reinforces the strongholds of wrong thinking and wrong believing.

There is a time and place to confess our sins and weaknesses to others for the purpose of needed ministry, restoration, and accountability. However, talking about the sins of others and filling our prayer life with wrong declarations of how sinful and unworthy we have been is counterproductive and anti-finished work.

That is not humility, it is BLASPHEMY! He made you worthy.

          Talking and thinking that way is “reckoning” ourselves alive to sin. It is saying that sin still has power over us, and therefore suggests that the finished work of Jesus did not actually accomplish anything for us.

Sin only has power over us if we empower it.

          If we do miss it and sin, run to God, and declare:

“Lord, I thank you for your mercy. I am sorry, that is no longer who I am Lord. That is certainly not what You look like in me. Thank you for making me clean and transforming me into your image. Thank you for perfecting your work in me and bringing me to the place where this is not an issue anymore. Thank you for your blood! Thank you for redeeming me. Thank you for Fathering me.”

           Understand that we have a healthy new identity that was purchased by the blood of Christ. Without our constant exposure to God’s presence and His Word, we will never find out who we are, and who we were created to be. Here are some scriptures that affirms who we are in Christ.

“We are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10)

“We have been perfected.” (Hebrews 10:14)

“We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“We are holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” (Colossians 1:22)

“We are chosen by God, without blame, an adopted son, accepted, redeemed by His blood and forgiven by His grace.” (Ephesians 1:4-7)

          To truly live the abundant life in Christ we must die to our fallen, carnal nature. For us to be successful at this we will need intimacy with Him, and constant intake and exposure to His Word.  

Our intimacy with the Father is the key to dying to sin and self.

When we give ourselves to intimacy with Him and give ourselves to reading and studying His word, we lay ourselves on the great potter’s wheel allow Him to shape us into everything we were created to be.

If we don’t embrace the finished work of Christ and believe that sin has been dealt with, we the enemy opportunity to deceive us. The primary way he does this is through guilt, condemnation, and shame.

Guilt ~ A subconscious belief that I am not forgiven

Condemnation ~ A subconscious belief that I am worthy of judgment.

Shame ~ A subconscious belief that I am still the old person I used to be before Christ.

These three lies are Satan’s counterfeit to Godly conviction, Godly sorrow, and a Godly perspective on our new identity in Christ.

Romans 14:22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.

For those that struggle with sin, it is a dead give away that they have yet to understand the gospel message and the completed work of Jesus Christ that we are to abide in. Personally, I struggle with it for decades until I began to see my deception. Even then, it took some time to overcome the strongholds of wrong believing. The thing that helped me the most was the book of Romans.

I found that reading Romans in the Message paraphrase of the New Testament helped me gain the right perspective on my redemption. It helped me move from trying so hard to be “sold out to God,” to understanding that I have been “bought out completely!” God purchased me with His own blood, knowing that I was a sinner, knowing that I had a fallen nature, knowing I would make mistakes, and knowing that I could not fix myself. Still he bought me!

Once I realized I could do nothing about fixing my sin, and understanding that only He could, I just quit thinking about it. Now I wake up every day to pursue Him and trust that He is perfecting the work that He started. I believe that God knows what He is doing, and I am thoroughly convinced that I do not.

As we seek God’s face our old carnal man dies, because no man can look into the face of God and live.

Exodus 33:20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 

We can look into the Father’s face because we are Christ’s. We have His Holy Spirit abiding in us. As we behold Him and His holiness, those things that are unholy and unworthy die. This is how we die to self.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

The Gift of Righteousness

  giftof right        How do we become righteous, holy and blameless in His sight? The simple answer is “by faith,” but what does that look like? How do I exercise faith to become what God says about me?

        Salvation, grace, righteousness. These are all gifts. Not something we deserve, not something we work towards. These are gifts, they cannot be earned, they must be received.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

        We don’t seem to have a problem believing that Christ has made us all these thing positionally, we have a hard time believing that we ARE these things ACTUALLY.

        God said He made us righteous. This is not just a declaration of our position in the Kingdom of God and our right standing with the King, but a promise to become righteous in thought and deed. We tend to try and help God out by trying to do good, behave better, sin less, etc. All in our own strength. In doing so, we become so aware of sin and conscious of our own shortcomings and our ability fail, that we walk around with a sin consciousness and actually war against the grace of God that is meant to change us.

We must believe that God has made us righteous, not just in theory, not just positionally, but actually righteous in behavior and thought, even in the face recent, or even ongoing sin.

        By believing this, we are actually laying ourselves down on the great Potter’s wheel so that grace can mold us and shape us into His image. This is not a denial of sin, nor does it accommodate sin.

 Romans 5:17  For if by the one man’s  offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

        God’s word contains the creative power within itself to become a reality in our life if we will set ourselves in agreement with it. This takes the stewardship of our thoughts and words, speaking only faith and refusing to speak words of doubt and unbelief.

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        Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable sinning is not biblical grace. God’s grace never encourages us to live in sin; nor does it make room for us to stay the same, on the contrary, it empowers us to change so we can say no to sin and yes to truth.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Old Testament Law – Made to be Broken?

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          Understanding the purpose of Old Testament Law is the beginning of understanding your imputed righteousness in Christ.
I’m going to make a statement that may be foreign to most Christians.

“God never gave man the Law to keep, He gave man the Law to break.”

          Does that sound contradictory or confusing? It shouldn’t. No man in history was able to keep the Law, except Jesus Christ. Never has any man succeeded in making himself acceptable to God by keeping the Law. Didn’t God know this? Of course He did. So why did God give us a Law that we are unable to keep? So that we would come face to face with the fact that we are incapable of doing anything right or just apart from His grace.Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.
          The Law exposes our true nature apart from God. It teaches us that we need something far greater than our own strength and will to please God. The Law helps us to see our inadequacies so that we can be honest with ourselves and say: “I am a sinner through and through, and of myself I can do nothing to please a holy God.”
          The Law was not given with the expectation of us keeping it. It was given in the full knowledge that we would break it; and when we have broken it so completely as to be convinced of our absolute need for a Savior, then the Law has served its purpose. It has fulfilled the role of a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, so the He may Himself fulfill it.
Galatians 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
          We are all sinners by nature because of Adam’s transgression. The Law makes that sinful nature manifest. When a holy Law is applied to a sinful man, then that sinfulness comes out in full display making the fallen nature of that man manifest.
          God knows who we are. the trouble is, WE don’t know who we are. The Law brings us to a place where we see who we are apart from Him and shows us our utter helplessness under the Law, and our need to be saved from it. If not for the Law we would never see how weak we are apart from Christ. We would continue in the futile pursuit of trying to please God with our own righteousness.
The Law was given to make us lawbreakers, to expose our sin, not to the world, but to ourselves.
Romans 7:7-9 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.
          We need to have our weaknesses proved to ourselves beyond a shadow of doubt. It is at that point we are able to understand our need for deliverance from the Law. We must be delivered from the Law to receive the free gift of the righteousness of God.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

“The Law shows us our need to be free from it. Free from our own works of righteousness so that we can see our need to embrace the grace of God and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.”

Law vs. Grace

          In a nutshell, Law means that I do something for God. Grace means that God does something for me. If Law means that God requires something from me for it’s fulfillment, then grace means that He no longer requires it from me, but He provides it for me Himself.
          Where we fall into trouble is our tendency to live by Law. We are far more comfortable with a “quid pro quo,” mentality. Do this to receive that, receive something for doing something. This is rational and easy to wrap our head around, but it is not faith. Faith doesn’t come natural because with faith, we don’t have the ability to understand everything. We feel the need to do something to earn what we have been given.
Galatians 3:19-25 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
          Once faith in Christ has come, we no longer have need of the Law. We then must transition from operating under the Law of sin and death, to the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
          Old habits can be hard to break. We are born and raised under the Law of sin and death. Faith in Christ, in His imputed righteousness, in our change of status from slaves of sin to adopted children of God takes a concentrated effort. Learning to live by the new Law of the Spirit is a process. We are born into this new life as infants, and for us to mature properly and thrive under this new Law we must reckon ourselves dead to sin, and alive to God by what Jesus did on the cross.

Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
          So why do we continue to try and live by the Law? Because we don’t understand that the Law was never intended for us to keep. It was intended to show us how futile our efforts are to keep it, and to expose our fallen nature to such a degree that our only option is to believe in our Savior.
JC

Are you bound by Legalism, and a Sin Consciousness?

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           Legalism is a system of thought where rules, expectations and regulations promise God’s love in return for human effort and obedience. Legalism is an attempt by man to justify God’s Love. Under the cloak of Christianity, legalism offers salvation and God’s Love as a reward for performance. Legalism is a spiritually toxic virus, spread by religion, best treated by God’s unconditional and amazing grace.

          If your heart is full of bitterness towards others and self-condemnation, could it be that you have been going about living the Christian life all wrong?  God desperately wants to set His people free from legalism. God loves legalists. He hates legalism.

          Could you be a legalist and not even know it? Why do Christians fall prey to performance-based religion? Are you convinced that God is mad at you and the only way you can make him happy is by being a better person? Are you convinced that your obedience and performance has some bearing on your salvation? Are you tired of trying harder because it seems that trying harder is never good enough?

          I purposely didn’t include any teaching on GRACE. That is covered in other teachings on this site. I think it important to first face the fact that WE ALL may be guilty of legalism to one degree or another.

So, If you are brave, and prepared to be honest with yourself, take the Legalist test and see how you do.

You might be a Legalist if:

1) God’s love for you depends on what you do, instead of who you are.

2) Meeting the expectations of others, especially those in your congregation or in positions of authority, are paramount.

3) You believe that if you don’t tithe, your other 90% will be cursed.

4) You try hard to obey God and it irritates you that others think they can get away with avoiding the same level of dedication and commitment that you have.

5) You fall short because you don’t have enough faith, or because you haven’t prayed enough, or because you just need to be a better person.

6) God is predisposed to be angry with you because you are a sinner and He knows that YOU know you can do better.

7) Your sense of spiritual well-being is tied to a Christian leader and their opinion, or membership in your church rather than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

8) You tell your children not to do something in church or around other Christian families that you allow in your home.

9) You believe that what people wear, hairstyles, piercings or tattoos, is a clear indication of that person’s spirituality and character.

10) After being around Christians for a while you feel drained because you are weary of putting up a false front.

11) When you happen to miss a service or activity of your church, even if it is a valid excuse, you feel guilty.

12) If your ability to receive a blessing from God, such as healing, depends on how you have been performing.

13) If you see Christ as more of a judge than a Savior.

14) If you believe God’s love for you depends on how much love you have shown Him.

15) If you know God’s law but not God Himself.

16) If you think you MUST take a Sabbath once a week.

         So, how did you do? Did you find some of these comments describing you? Legalism has been a danger to the church from the very start. it is addressed in the New Testament repeatedly and the book of Galatians is written, almost entirely, to address this point.

          We are all susceptible to legalism and we must ever guard ourselves from falling into this trap of wrong thinking.

          God’s love is unconditional. Christ has redeemed us from every curse of the law. We are to live a life of the Spirit. laying down our lives daily and taking up God’s agenda, being an instrument of righteousness and an expression of His image….Just like Jesus. This is the path to freedom from legalistic thinking.

          Freedom from legalism will only come from relationship with our Father. The greatest thing Jesus did was restore our ability to come before God without guilt, condemnation or shame. He changed our identity from sinners, to sons and daughters.

          Some believers think that having a sin consciousness will help them avoid sin. If they think about their wrong doing, feel the shame of it, carry the guilt of it, then it will deter them from repeating those things. That is purely Legalistic, Old Covenant thinking. That didn’t even work in the Old Covenant. At best sin consciousness only leads to more sinning!

         What you focus on you move towards. What you are conscious of, and what you think about, is the reality you create. No wonder we struggle so much with sin. Our mind is constantly focused on it.

         Why don’t we try focusing on righteousness? On Christ’s perfect gift of righteousness that He has imputed to us. When we focus on righteousness, grace comes on the scene and moves us towards right thinking, right believing, and right living.

         Legalism and a sin consciousness is a result of having a law based, legalistic mind. Romans 3 says that by the law is the knowledge of sin. When our mind is law based we will live sin conscious. The focus will be on our flesh, our ability, and our self. Being “self-focused” is in direct opposition to the love of God.

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         We can’t overcome sin this way? Grace is the answer! Grace is divine influence. As we focus on Christ we open the door for God to influence us. We place our heart on the great potter’s wheel and He begins molding us and shaping us into His image. This is faith. This is how we walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This is how we make a draw on His strength and  ability Instead of struggling to overcome sin in our own strength.

         We should focus on relationship with Him, practice spending time with Him. Focus filling our hearts and minds with the word of God.

         He has forgiven all our sins, past present and future. He has made us perfectly righteous with His own righteousness and no sin can make us unrighteous. He has brought us completely out of a law based relationship with Him and into a grace based relationship. His love and acceptance of us is not based on our performance but on Christ perfect performance on our behalf. We have a new nature, God’s very own nature. We are sons, not sinners. Our consciousness of Him, and His righteousness in us, will grow to a place that crushes our consciousness of sin and delivers us from legalistic thinking.

Our focus should always be on relationship, not works. If we can learn to make that one adjustment, we will flourish in the Kingdom of God and become everything Jesus paid for.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC