Death to Sin: Your New Life in Christ

Spend some time listening to Christian leaders and you will probably hear them say that we must continually “die to sin” and “die to self”. They will typically say that this dying is a process that we must continually strive towards, focus on and work hard to achieve.

This leaves many people stuck in the spiritual mud of legalism – spinning their wheels furiously to get ahead, but never actually making progress – because progress can not actually be made in this fashion.

So today in this study, we will be taking a look at the idea of dying to sin, and dying to self, as well as what it actually means to have new life in Christ, because all of these ideas and terms are actually related… and sadly through generations of religious indoctrination, we have forgotten the foundation of the finished work of Christ, and begun to construct a faulty foundation of works and self-effort in-place of the cross, and that is not only foolish, but it is flat-out deadly.

The New Covenant Perspective on Guilt and Shame

There is a persistent idea, and ideology among some Christians, that has been around for quite some time actually, which says that as believers, we must maintain a certain level of guilt and shame. That every time we fail in our behaviors or fall short in our performance, that it is right and proper to feel guilty, and be ashamed, and that to not feel these things indicates some level of depravity – or worse that we have a seared conscience, and God has given us over to a carnal mind (whatever term they use, it’s the same underlying idea).

I have heard these ideas over and over again. They often seem as though they are “holy” and “right”, and anyone who doesn’t agree is a heretic.

However is this what the scriptures actually teach? Is the perspective of perpetual guilt and shame based on our behaviors and performance, truly biblical? Is this the abundant life and freedom and peace that Jesus died for us to have? That’s the question that we need to answer – and we will answer it today in this study.

It’s Okay to Admit the Truth

I invite you to perform a little experiment… the next time you’re in a Church-building, or a Christian setting, listen to the things that the people often say about themselves. You’ll usually hear things such as:
– Oh, I’m just a sinner saved by grace.
– I’m a work in progress.
– I’m a piece of metal that’s being refined.

And there are other things as well, but these are the most common phrases that I often hear. And with each of these phrases, there is one common point in all of them – that the work isn’t finished yet.
People are going around constantly telling themselves and others that, well no, Jesus really hasn’t finished the work yet… that it’s still in progress. This is what most people actually believe, and it saddens me, because it’s really not the truth.

What I want to share with you today in this study, is what the scriptures actually say regarding your status right now as a child of God, washed and redeemed by His shed blood and broken body for you. And that in-fact, it is okay to admit the truth of what He has done for you.

The Gift of God’s Love

One question that seems to come up over and over is the question of activity. People have said to me that they want to “do things for God”, they want to be useful and they aren’t sure what He wants them to do. I’ve heard the frustration and confusion and uncertainty in the voice of people when they tell me how they feel like they are stagnating and they are searching all around for some way that they can be “used by God” and that thought and that drive consumes them, and they feel as though their life and time is being wasted doing nothing.

Let me tell you today that while I certainly understand the heart behind those feelings and the desire to do something, I must also tell you today that the answer I give to each person who expresses those feelings to me is the same… and it is a word from God that catches a lot of people off-guard.. maybe God wants you to not do anything right now, but receive His love. You see, most people are so busy looking for something to do for God, they have forgotten the real reason why they were created in the first place – to be filled with the Spirit and the fullness of God and receive His love. This is what we will be studying today.

You Are the Manifestation of Jesus Today

In our continuing study of who we are in Christ, one thing that tends to receive a lot of push-back from the traditionalists in the world today, is the truth that in Christ Jesus today, we are the manifestation of Him on the earth. We are the manifestation of Jesus to all of the people of the world today. This idea irritates those who believe that it is insolence to in any way liken ourselves to Jesus They believe that because He is so much greater than us, that it is an insult to even make any kind of comparison which connects Him with us. It may seem right to our human thinking, however, God Himself has a different idea than this traditionalist view.

That’s why as we study today, we are going to be taking a look at precisely what Jesus has to say about Himself and us, and what our relationship to Him actually is. And by seeing this truth, we will no longer have this perceived distance between us and God any longer. We will be able to embrace our true nature in Him; and live in the truth that He wants us to live in.

Be Yourself! A New Creation in Christ

Sometime in the past you have probably heard the famous advice that everyone likes to give: “Just be yourself!”. This advice is usually given when someone is nervous or apprehensive about meeting new people or standing before a crowd. Just relax! Be yourself! This phrase also implies the negative, don’t be someone or something that you are not. Stay true to the truth.

Spiritually speaking, this advice is very Biblical… both regarding ourselves personally and in judging others, in both cases we should always stay in the truth and be ourselves. This has some surprising benefits for us as believers, and a vast majority of Christians today do not even realize that this advice is in their Bible. So we will be taking a look at this today, and seeing the glorious benefits of being ourselves in Christ.

Your Obedience is to Jesus’ Obedience

Have you been struggling to be obedient? In many Christian circles today, the focus is on obedience. Many times people say that obedience is important – and I completely agree… the Bible has much to say on the topic of obedience. Where we tend to differ, is the manner of that obedience. And this manner is defined in the covenant that we are under today as believers in Christ. It is important to understand our covenant today in order to truly understand the type and manner of obedience that is required by the covenant.

Most people automatically assume that when they see the word obedience in the Bible that it is always referring to outward obedience via performance and actions. This was certainly true in the Old Covenant of the Law of Moses. However the Bible describes a different type of obedience for believers today who are under the New Covenant of Grace in Christ. This is what we will be studying today, because it is very difficult to be obedient under the terms of our covenant if we do not know what the terms are.

The Real Sacrifice of Praise

A long time ago, there was a popular praise song that we always used to sing; the lyrics in-part were “we bring a sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD.” This is a reference to Hebrews 13:15, saying that we should continually offer such a sacrifice to God. This phrasing has always puzzled me. Because in my human mind, the word “sacrifice” always implied cost, or some kind of a victim. Often times we hear preachers say that in order for our praise and worship to mean anything to God, it has to “cost us something”, and this left me even more confused because it really wasn’t costing me anything to praise God – as a matter-of-fact I enjoyed praising Him! So did this then mean that my praise was worthless?

I struggled with this thought for many years, and it led me into a performance-driven, merit-centered mentality where I was trying to give something of value back to God, which I naturally assumed was my own works and efforts; my performance and law-keeping. However, this idea is not actually supported in scripture. In-fact the Bible is very descriptive regarding what the real sacrifice of praise is which we are to offer, and this is precisely what we will be studying today.

Grace is the Cure for Carnality

All across the world, good and honest believers have this idea that they must work at “doing good”. They must struggle and strive to “do the right thing”, to make God happy or to prove their love for Him, or whatever the underlying motivation may be; it leads to the same place: a merit-centered, man-centered mentality which is not focused on God, but is focused on self-performance and behavior.

Many believers think that if they themselves or their fellow brother or sister in Christ is failing in a particular area of behavior, that it is due to some sin in their life, or that they are just being lazy and they need to try harder. But is this what the scriptures actually say?

In this study today, we will be taking a look at what God has to say on this very subject, and how God’s diagnosis of the problem of wrong behaviors is not what we might expect. As you see this truth, it will give you a new mindset regarding this issue, and a new confidence in your relationship with God as well.

Jesus is the End of Your Punishment

How would you evaluate the current state of your life? It may seem pretty good right now, or it may seem like a total mess, or anywhere in between. Often times what we tend to do is take stock of our life and then use what we perceive as good or bad circumstances as a barometer for the love of God towards us. When things are good, we feel as though God is happy with us and loves us and we are on cloud nine; but when things are not going our way, we feel as though God is angry with us or that we have some kind of test to pass or a lesson to learn.

The truth though is that today God is not angry or wroth with you anymore. He exhausted all of His righteous and holy wrath on the body of Jesus Christ in your place. He suffered and died as you so that today you can receive all fullness of blessing and life as Him.