Tag Archives: Identity in Christ

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

God’s Promise to Change You

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          Have you ever heard this old saying?

“God loves you too much to leave you the way you are.”

  Praise God there is scripture to back up that statement!

1Thessallonians 5:23-24

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

          We tend to assume that since He was so gracious to save us we now have the responsibility to “tow the line, shape up, do what is right, separating ourselves from carnal tendencies and worldly lusts.” While this is certainly what needs to happen, God never intended us to shoulder all the responsibility of sanctification and transformation. The truth is, we are no more capable of doing this on our own than we were before Christ.

          “Salvation is not an event as much as it is a process.”

Philippians 2:12-13

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

          Christianity is a glorious journey of salvation and transformation. Saving us from death and eternal damnation and transforming us more and more into His image. Paul exhorted Timothy to work this out in His own life with “fear and trembling.” Why? Because God is doing the heavy lifting here. HE is the Great Potter, and WE are the clay. Clay does not have the power to change itself, it can only be changed by another influence.

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So, what is our part?

          Lay our lives down on the Potter’s wheel, let the washing of water by God’s Word clean us and make us soft and pliable allowing the hand of God’s grace to shape us into His image.

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

JC

Maintaining an Awareness of God

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          Have you looked back on your life and realized that there were times that you felt closer to God than others? The anointing was stronger, God seemed to be moving more in your life and you were noticeably more focused on Him? I have experienced this myself and questioned God about it. His answer was simple, yet profound. He said: “At those times you were more aware of Me, more conscious of Me.”

          I began to see the importance of maintaining a “God Awareness.” Furthermore, I realized that the responsibility of maintaining that awareness fell to me. With that realization I began to think about what produces and awareness of God and what pulls me out of that awareness.

          2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The principle is this: “WE BECOME WHAT WE BEHOLD.”

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Matthew 6:22 The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, (single, clear) your whole body will be full of light. 

          What we continually look at has a profound effect on our lives. We must be particular about what we allow ourselves to behold. Our perspective determines the amount of light we have, how bright we shine, and how full of light we really are.

Presence vs. Principle

          Another trick the enemy uses is to get us to substitute knowing God, for knowing about God.

1 Peter 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

          The word “knowledge” in the above verse indicates an intimate knowledge that unites you with the object or person it is talking about. It indicates a personal experience with instead of merely knowing about. There is a huge difference.

          If we read a biography on the life of any given person, we can acquire a great deal of knowledge about that person, but unless we actually spend time with the person, we can’t honestly say that we know them.

          As a people, Christians have been duped into believing that knowledge of God’s word is the equivalent of knowing Him personally. We understand the principles and grasp the concepts of faith but we don’t really know God because we don’t spend time in intimacy with Him. Talking to Him, asking questions, listening for His response, being still before Him and quietly meditating on who He are all roads that lead to intimacy with Him. We can’t begin to wrap our head around who He is by only reading His word. We must also spend time in the light of His presence. Both are needed to mature, and both are needed to effectively live and walk by faith.

          We learn the principles of God’s amazing Word and then we try to live by these principles in our own strength. If we spend as much time with God as we do learning about God our awareness of His abiding presence will produce a walk of faith that keeps us living and abiding in holiness. Instant obedience becomes natural and resisting temptation becomes effortless.

          If Jesus appeared to us physically, and was with us every minute of every day, would we have a problem resisting sin? Would we have a problem obeying His word? We would be so acutely aware of our every action and word  that we would only do and say those things that pleased Him. This is how Jesus lived His life. He set the example for us to follow.

John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 

John 8:28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

John 12:49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.

awareness exper.jpg          The more time we spend alone with our Heavenly Father, the more awareness of His presence we will walk in throughout our day.

          Awareness of God births the character of God, the nature of God, and the faith of God within us. Awareness of His abiding presence makes us more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His leading. Awareness of God helps us to see others how God sees them and therefore opens the door for us to minister Christ to them more effectively.

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

JC

Your Sovereignty

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GREEK: Exousia ~ THE RIGHT TO INFLUENCE, COMMAND, CONTROL AND DELEGATE.

          When man was created, God established His authority over the earth and delegated it to Adam for a season. Adam was God’s steward over the earth, and He gave Adam specific instructions for his stewardship. We find Adam’s instructions in Genesis 1 and 2.

Genesis 1:27-28  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2:15-17 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

           When God created Adam, He made him a sovereign being giving Adam His own personal authority to use in making decisions and fulfilling God’s instructions for His stewardship. This sovereign authority is called FREE WILL.

Sovereignty – the quality or state of being sovereign, or of having supreme power or authority. The status, dominion, power, or authority of a sovereign; royal rank or position; royalty. Supreme power, especially over a body politic, freedom from external control, autonomy

fw1          Free will was given to man so he could willingly choose, without any coercion or pressure, how he would serve his creator. Free will allowed man to express himself freely and creatively as he learned and grew in knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, it also gave man the power, and the right, to say NO to God. this makes man sovereign.

Free will can potentially be the most destructive thing to the Kingdom of God, as well as your life! Exercising your free will in saying NO to God will limit God’s influence and power in your life. 

THE KINGDOM OF GOD, or THE KINGDOM OF ME?

          The Kingdom of God has boundaries. Operating within those boundaries enables God’s influence and power to flow into our life to meet our needs and the needs of others. We violate authority when our choices don’t align with the will of the authority we are under. When we violate authority it cuts off the influence and power of that authority. Not just in our own life, but in the lives of those we are involved with.

          We must walk in HIS ways, not OUR ways if we want the promises of God, and the power of God to be a reality in our life. God’s power only flows under the covering of his authority. His authority can only be exercised within the confines of His Kingdom. When We exit the covering of the Kingdom, We exit the flow of power. When We say NO to God, in essence, We establish another kingdom, I call it: The Kingdom of ME.

The Kingdom of Me is established when selfishness rears its ugly head and provokes us to willfully say no to God.

no1           Saying “NO” to our Lord means that He is not our Lord in that area of our life, and if He is not Lord in one area, He is not Lord in any. Being Lord  means that He is the Master of ALL areas of our life. God will not invade and overthrow our kingdom, it is out of His jurisdiction. It would be a violation of our free will. If we say no to Him in any area, we are declaring that WE are the master of that area….and we cannot serve two masters.

Luke 6:46 Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

          Say “NO” to God, and you’ve set up boundaries to keep God out of your kingdom. It is your own free will that determines the boundaries for both the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of Me. How we steward our will determines the basis of authority that we operate from.

HONOR RELEASES THE POWER THAT AUTHORITY CONTAINS.

hon          Eternal salvation comes from our Savior, but the power to live this life, and the authority to subdue and conquer it comes from our Lord. When we honor Jesus Christ as our Lord and not just our Savior, all of His authority is released into our life. If We fail to honor His authority as Lord, His power stays contained. Honoring authority releases the power that authority contains.

           The extent of Kingdom authority in our life is determined by our stewardship of free will. If our will is completely submitted to God, we have truly laid down our life, we have denied yourself, our old man has died and we can now walk in the highest authority in the universe, the authority of God. This is our original design and purpose. This is what was lost at the fall of Adam. This is what Jesus Christ paid for us to become.

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

JC

What is Grace?

When you think of God’s grace, what immediately comes to mind? God’s unmerited favor? His salvation, love or kindness? I am not going to argue those points, they are all true, but I will say that grace has a broader, deeper meaning and I want to explore that in this teaching. Grace is one of the most important words in the New Testament and yet it is not well understood and even taken for granted.

Luke 2:40 ~ And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

The grace of God was upon Jesus and to understand New Testament grace we should consider what was upon Him so we can understand what is upon us, for we are in Him. One of the greatest definitions of grace that I have found is:

 “The divine influence on the heart of man, and the reflection of that influence in the life of the man.”

 If you look at grace from the standpoint of divine influence, it automatically broadens your idea of what grace is. When reading the bible and you see the word grace, replace it with “divine influence,” or “God’s influence”. You will see that it fits and it will provide a deeper understanding of the scriptures.

 We really need to stretch our understanding to even begin to grasp the full meaning of grace and what it means to us as believers. The Greek word for grace is “charis,” In addition to charis, there is the word charismata, which is a word related to charis, but it is only used in reference to what have become known as the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. I don’t think that anyone could argue that the those nine gifts are manifest by the divine influence of the Holy Spirit and the believer allowing that influence to reflect in his life.  

Acts 11:23 ~ When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

This scripture refers to Barnabas SEEING the grace of God on others. This implies that grace should be evident. That God’s influence in your heart should be manifest in such a way that it could be seen outwardly by others. We have a world full of believers that have no outward evidence of the grace of God on their lives and therefore are not a witness of the grace of God to the world. Why is that? A part of the reason is legalism. Legalism is a belief system that attempts to establish your own righteousness by following laws, rules and religious traditions. The more we allow ourselves to slip into legalism, the farther we fall from grace and deny God’s influence in our life.

Virtually the entire book of Galatians addresses this problem of legalism.

Galatians 5:4 ~ You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Another important aspect of grace is that God uses people to impart it to His body.

2 Corinthians 8:6 ~ So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

          We see from this verse of scripture that the divine influence (grace) can come from other believers. Titus was urged to complete the grace that he started. His influence on these people was obviously of a divine nature, God influencing people with people. This is seen clearly in the fivefold ministry gifts described in 

         When I came to the conclusion that grace is God’s divine influence in my heart and its reflection in my life, I was forced to consider my definition of God. The book of James says that “God is love.”

1 John 4:8 ~ He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

With that understanding I was left with this thought; Grace is an expression of God’s love, and any time He endeavors to influence a person, it is because He wants to impart His very nature into that individual. Look at the first part the verse above, “He who does not love does not know God”. I believe that the main purpose of grace is so that we may know Him. To know Him we must yield to the divine influence of love (grace) and allow that love to be reflected in our lives.Jesus was the express image of God (love). He is our example. To yield to divine influence is to yield to love. Jesus said:

John 5:19 ~ Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

 I think we can all agree that Jesus was completely yielded to divine influence. He only did what He saw the father (Love) do.

 Grace is the manifestation of the influence of God in you, with the intention that the influence is reflected in your life.

Gifts vs. Graces

This brings us to Romans 12 that most Christians interpret as “motivational gifts”. Paul is not talking about gifts, He is talking about “graces”.

Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

There are 7 GRACES mentioned here: Prophecy, Servant (ministry), Teacher, Exhorter, Giver, Leader, and Mercy Giver.

 Look at Ephesians 4, where Paul starts talking about the 5-fold ministry gifts to the church.

Ephesians 4:7-12 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

You see how the order of grace and gifts are flipped in these passages?

Romans 12:6 says: gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,

Ephesians 4;7 says: grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

It is clear that Paul is talking about ministry gifts in Ephesians 4, and graces in Romans 12. Many have called them motivational “gifts” having a limited understanding of how they work. But when we understand that they are graces we begin to better understand who we are, and why we do what we do.

What I believe Paul is talking about in Romans 12 is the differences in our gifts produced by the grace (divine influence) that is on our life. In other words, our gifting looks different because the divine influence in our heart is different. Look again at the text, and pay close attention to the wording.

To understand what a GRACE is and how it affects us, let us view them as glasses with colored lenses. When you are looking at life through those glasses, everything you see will be tinted with that color, and your actions and responses will be influenced by it. Your GRACE affects how you see things, how you deal with problems, and how you express yourself in your gifting.

For instance, if you have the GRACE of SERVANT, you see the world through that “colored lens” (GRACE). Maybe your gifting is an Evangelist. So it would be natural for you to engage in “Servant Evangelism.”

Your Grace determines how you think about things, how you approach things. For example: If your GRACE is a GIVER, and you are ministering to someone who needs healing, you automatically think of what you can GIVE to help them. Like buying them some books on divine healing, or sending them to a healing crusade and paying for the whole thing.

If your GRACE is EXHORTER, you may encourage them in faith, read some healing promises from the bible, tell them “this is nothing for God, you can beat this thing easy.”

If your GRACE is TEACHER, you think that all they need is to understand and learn more about divine healing and faith principles.

Look at the rest of that passage in Romans and notice how Paul starts the dialogue.

Romans 12:3-8 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry (servant), let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

When Paul says that he speaks “through the GRACE that is given him,” he is talking about the divine influence upon his heart. When he teaches, that influence is reflected in the life.

Grace is a big subject, and these are just a few small observations. However, grace is one of the most important words to us in the New Testament. We should endeavor to get as much understanding on it as possible. I hope this helps.

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

JC