What Really Matters Part 3
By Benjamin Raven Pressley
If you are applying what you have read in the first two parts of this study then you are beginning to realize the love and reality of who God is. He SO wants to have a relationship with His children. And as you connect to Him through speaking to Him (prayer), studying His Word and just in general spending time in His presence you will learn an important truth. A truth that will sustain you like no other. That truth is who you are in Christ. I think most Christians have no idea what Christ accomplished in His life, death and resurrection here on Earth and how it applies to each and every person on Earth. In this study take your time and ask God to help you truly absorb what I am about to teach you. It may be a little lengthy but I promise you it will be worth the effort. Once this truth becomes life giving personal revelation to you it will set you free! More free than you have ever dreamed possible. If you grasp what I am about to teach you no one in any pulpit anywhere will ever be able to mislead you again.
Let’s start at the beginning. Sin came into the world by one man, Adam, we were put back in right standing with God through one man, Jesus. Why is it so easy to accept that by one man sin could enter the world but not so easy to believe that by one man we are redeemed from the curse of sin? We need to comprehend this. Jesus Christ paid it all in full. Every sin of every man, woman and child, paid in full! Think about that. God help everyone reading these words to grasp this. Everything He did here on Earth had a purpose. He did not have to let people abuse and crucify Him. He had the power to lay down His life and to take it up. He was more than a man. He was the Son of God. None of us deserved mercy or love but God is love and He could not help but love the most wicked among us. He suffered greatly. I am told that when a man was beaten with stripes that if he survived 40 stripes it was same as death penalty and he had to be set free. I am also told that they deliberately stopped at 39 stripes so they would have the option of killing Jesus if they wanted to. It has also been said that every known disease in the world can be traced back to 39 root diseases. I don’t know if that is true but it certainly corresponds with Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” The entire weight of all the sins that ever were committed and ever would be committed were laid upon His shoulders. His blood was sufficient to take care of all the sins of the world. No need to sacrifice animals anymore. No need to crucify Jesus afresh. Once was enough. There is a religion in Mexico who choose someone every year to be beaten and carry a cross as Jesus did thinking that Christ was not enough. There is also a certain denomination that symbolically crucifies Jesus afresh every service thinking Jesus sacrifice was not enough. It was enough my friend! And it didn’t end there. They crucified Him and put Him in a tomb and He even conquered death! He rose on the third day. Comprehend its greatness! Think about it. Meditate on it. Get it in your head. Get it in your spirit. It is not just a story! He did it for you! He did it for me!
Romans 5 ends with these 2 verses: 20. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21. That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.“ What did the law accomplish? It pointed out our sins. It made it clear without a doubt what we were guilty of. It was supposed to point us to God and make us realize we could not live up to the holy standard of a holy God so, we would cry out to God. Some people got it but some used it to their advantage to rule the people and add so many laws that it became impossible to live. People in power like the Pharisees and later the dark ages Catholic ‘church’ loved it. As long as you were the one ruling, life was good. Jesus just broke the mold. Once He healed a man on the Sabbath. That was working on the Sabbath. It didn’t matter that He did good on the Sabbath. No, it had got to a point that you weren’t allowed to even look in a mirror on the Sabbath because you might see a gray hair and pluck it out and that would be considered work. If you pulled a chair across a room and dragged the leg in the dirt resulting in a furrow, then you had “worked”, because you had been plowing! All this twisted from one of the ten commandments to honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Jesus put it this way: “You experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them” (Luke 11:46).
One source I read said there were 1500 laws added to the original law! Suffice it to say there were so many that no one could live up to them. Jesus was constantly trying to get them to live up to the ‘spirit’ of the law, that it was the ‘letter’ of the law that killed. Otherwise as He told the Pharisees, you look good on the outside but on the inside you are just dried up dead men’s bones.
Then you have those that take the second part of that verse “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” and live the opposite way. They live any way they want saying grace covers all my sins so I can live any way I want. That is abuse of grace. Romans 6:1 deals with this right off. “1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? “. He that knows to do good and does not do it, it is a sin. So, once you have been saved and know the truth you are not sinning in ignorance any longer. You know better.
Romans 6:2 makes it plain: “How can we who died to sin live any longer therein.” Can a dead man sin? No! He is dead! Have you accepted Christ as your savior then you also accept that you are dead to your old self. Have no doubt, Jesus did actually die on that cross. He didn’t just pass out and wake up later like some who do not believe in the resurrection try to say. I think some ministers are so quick to get another number on the monthly report that people coming to the altar don’t genuinely get saved some time. Charles G. Finney a famous 19th c. preacher wouldn’t even let people come to altar on the first night, no matter how much they cried. He said if you want it you will be here tomorrow night and then they would come and mean it. He wanted them hungry. He wanted it to be real. Even then they weren’t just prayed for at the altar they were taken in a back room and they talked and prayed and explained things to them so they knew what it truly meant to be saved. They prayed them through if it took all night. They didn’t just rush them through the sinner’s prayer and get their name on the church roll. Finney is credited with inventing the altar call. He had so many people crying out he had to have a way to separate out the ‘inquirers’ as he called them. He didn’t call it an altar call, he called it an inquirers’ meeting. Some people come and have a good cry and cry away the conviction and go right back to living evil the next day. No, my friend, you come to Christ just as you are but you are not saved just by praying the famous sinner’s prayer. You are saved when you pray it with all your heart, broken and repentant of your sins, you die to your old self when you get saved. You are nailing that old man to the cross and you should leave him there to die. When you get saved you are IN Christ. That means you enter into His death and resurrection. You enter into His righteousness. You are IN Him! So many often go around saying they are in Christ and have no idea what that means and others “amen” not wanting to admit they don’t know what it means either. We want to enter into His righteousness but we don’t want to enter into His death. Of course, this doesn’t mean we physically die. We die to our old nature. Our old man has no power over us anymore. He is dead! Read what it means, Romans 6:3., “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” Baptism in water is not required to be saved but it is a public confession and a testimony to all that if you go under the water you die and when you are raised up you are a new creation in Christ. The baptism in water is not what does it, the baptism, spiritually speaking, into His death does!
But we aren’t left there are we? I mean if we are now IN CHRIST we are also raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father. We are new creations in Christ. You ever watch those movies where someone is surgically altered and their identity is changed and they have a new start in life? This is better than that! You are a new creation in Christ. Old things have passed away, all things have become new! (2 Cor. 5:17).
I like how Paul words Roman 6:5. He says we are “PLANTED together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection”. If something is buried it is forgotten about. It is put away forever. If something is planted, like a seed, it is still put under dirt but with expectation! Hallelujah! When a seed is planted it germinates. That is a scientific word for, it dies! But it doesn’t just die it undergoes a transformation. Within it life is brought forth. It doesn’t come up as seed anymore. It bursts forth into something that does not even resemble a seed. An apple seed doesn’t look like an apple tree. An acorn doesn’t resemble a mighty oak. It is a new creation! Not only that, it comes forth in abundance with enough to feed others and still reproduce more of its kind. WE ARE PLANTED! Hallelujah!
Why is this important? Romans 6:6-7 explains: “so that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin for he that is dead is FREED FROM SIN.” Sin has no power over you any longer. You are free! Your identity has been changed. You have a new lease on life. You can be whomever you want to be. You can go back to acting like that old man if you want to but that would be stupid. You are a new creation. Not only that you have been given power to be a son of God (John 1:12). Sin and the devil have no more power over you than you give them. If you invite them back in then you give them power. You have to think different, you have to look different, your desires are changed, don’t you dare look back! Lot’s wife looked back to Sodom and Gomorrah and turned to a pillar of salt. Jesus said don’t look back or you’re not fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). You’re too good for that old life any more. I don’t care how good it seemed. You were living in sin and the wages of sin is death! (Rom. 6:23)
So how do we access these things? Roman 6: 11-14 tells us: Reckon yourselves dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Southern folks say, ‘I reckon’ meaning ‘I guess so’ this isn’t that kind of ‘reckon’. This reckon goes deep. This reckon says it is done. This reckon decrees it so on authority of the Word of God. Job 22:28 declares “Thou shalt decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.” This word deals with reality. If I reconcile my bank book and I reckon it has $25 in it, then indeed it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers more to fact than supposition or opinion.
Roman 6:14 is powerful: “For sin shall have dominion over you no more”! But only if we do as Roman 6: 12-13 says “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as members of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead and your members as members of righteousness unto God.” He doesn’t take away your power of choice. You can still choose to do evil. And some do. But you are yielding to something that has no power over you if you do. Don’t yield to it. Don’t give in to its allure. Don’t allow your members to be instruments of unrighteousness anymore! Flex your spiritual muscles. You have been transformed!
Read on in Roman 6: 15-23. He warns us again that because we are under grace that that doesn’t give us a license to sin. You are a servant of righteousness now. As it says in v.20-23 “20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In other words you served sin with all your heart, now serve God with all your heart. And He includes a sober warning and reminds us, don’t look back, don’t go back to that taskmaster you once served for his pay is death. Not just dying and going to the grave. A living death while here on Earth. Death in our relationships, death in our health and happiness then eternal death in hell. You have been given a gift my friend. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It is your choice!
Let’s look at Romans 8. Paul starts chapter 8 off with a bang: “There is therefore NO CONDEMNATION to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” NO condemnation. Who is condemning you? The devil, your past, a person, who? Get it in your head: There is no one who can condemn me. I am forgiven. I have a clean slate. I am a new creation in Christ. So many of us are held back in who we can be as Christians, as entrepreneurs, whatever, because we don’t believe in ourselves. Jesus believed in us enough to die for us. We have got to believe in ourselves through Christ. What does it take to do it? Don’t walk after the flesh, don’t follow dictates of the flesh, the flesh has no power over us anymore. He was our dictator before, condemning us, ruling us, keeping us down, but his power is broken! We walk in the Holy Spirit now. He is our master, He is our guide.
Roman 8:2 says, You walk according to a new law, the law of the Spirit. It is a law that is not a law. It is a change inside us that is so real that we don’t want to do evil. Roman 8:3 goes on to tell us God did what the law could not do. He satisfied its requirements by sending His Son. The Bible says in the “guise of flesh”. God sent Jesus in disguise. He was not a fleshly being but He did something the devil did not expect. Jesus became a fleshly being yet still so much God that it condemned sin and the law. He became an offering for sin. This is hard to put into words so try to really listen in your spirit and comprehend this: Here was the law, imperfect, impossible to live by, a taskmaster. It demanded holy living from fleshly beings knowing these fleshly beings could not live up to it. What was the penalty of not living up to the law? Death! It was a cache 22. No way it could be done. Then along comes the most perfect being in the universe, master of time and space, not limited by time and space, the very epitome of holiness and love, a being that the law could not condemn even in one point—-came and gave His life and not only gave His life but did it in behalf of the entire flawed human race. What do you do with that? Nothing in creation could touch that, nothing in creation could condemn Him. He created all things, how could it? Yet God’s people live so far beneath the power and standard that He has paid such a high price for. We allow ourselves to be ruled by Satan and the weakness we perceive in our flesh. But that is not what the Word says about us. Read Roman 8:3-4 again (KJV). “3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Fulfilled in who? Fulfilled in US! How? We didn’t do anything. It wouldn’t matter if we did do anything. There was and is nothing we could or can do. Jesus did it and transferred it to us. What are we supposed to do? Roman 8:5-16 says “ 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
What are we supposed to do? Act like creatures of Spirit and power. Stop acting like something we aren’t. We are spirit beings dwelling in a fleshly shell. We are to do in this flesh what has never been done before Jesus. We are to walk in the Spirit while living in a fleshly body. We are to show it can be done. Jesus did it and He says, so can we. That just blows the devil away. That just blows your peers away. You are doing something that is impossible to do. They will laugh at you and try to put you down because it is impossible in their eyes. It is impossible to live holy. It is impossible to pray for the sick and they be healed. It is impossible for someone so far down to be changed. It is impossible for the drug addict or alcoholic to be free and preaching the gospel. It is impossible for a prostitute to be so full of the Spirit that everywhere they walk peoples lives are changed, changed, forever changed! Get out of that stinking thinking! You are the righteousness of God in Christ. Jesus said without being the least bit jealous, said in John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Jesus wants us to take what He has done. He took all the limitations off when He sent the Holy Spirit because there was just so much He could do while in the flesh. The disciples didn’t understand, they wanted Jesus to stay with them. Jesus told them you have no idea what you are saying, when I go I will be released to you in unlimited power by the Holy Spirit working in you. He wants us to outdo what He did on Earth! Look what 12 disciples accomplished when they realized this. Even a heathen king said of them, “They have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).
It is time to take off the gloves. It is time to fight back. It is time to rise up. The modern day church in general has become so religious and fat and content they are nothing like God intended it to be. The average church thinks they are growing but they aren’t growing, they are just inheriting more disgruntled people from other churches. The average church says they want to win the lost but they really don’t want prostitutes, pimps, drug addicts and alcoholics in their church. They want nice respectable people that can pay big offerings so they can build their buildings and TV programs bigger. God spoke this so real to me not too long back, and I believe He has spoken it to some of you: If the church is to survive it will be because of the prostitutes, pimps, drug addicts and alcoholics whose lives are changed, get full of the Holy Ghost, unspoiled by ‘religion and tradition’, unafraid to do something radical like just believe what ‘thus saith the Lord’ and just do it. And when they come into the body of Christ, it is going to be up to us to guide them and disciple them but at the same time don’t poison them and the zeal God has placed within them. It is time to stop looking at the world through rose colored stained glass windows and look at the masses on our doorstep in decay in need of a savior. We have the cure and we are keeping it all to ourselves. Beware that one you look down on and turn your nose up at. They could be the next Billy Graham! Paul was a murderer. The disciples were scared to death of him. When God told Ananias to go and pray for Paul (then called Saul) to be healed and saved, Ananias tried to wise up God and say, ‘uh, God, this guy is a killer of Christians, is that a good idea?’ God spoke and said ‘He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel’. Read his story in Acts 9 if you want. We owe the majority of the New Testament to Paul and the gospel being given to us Gentiles because of this ex murderer. And while you’re at it read Acts 10 where Peter thought he was too good to minister to a certain people and God told him straight up: “What God hath cleansed that call not common or unclean.” 1 Corinthians 1:25 says: “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men”. 1 Corinthians 1:27says: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
Paul goes on in vv. 17-23. I want to read these verses from amplified: 17And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.
18[But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!
19For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship].
20For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it–[yet] with the hope
21That nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children.
22We know that the whole creation [of irrational creatures] has been moaning together in the pains of labor until now.
23And not only the creation, but we ourselves too, who have and enjoy the firstfruits of the [Holy] Spirit [a foretaste of the blissful things to come] groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies [from sensuality and the grave, which will reveal] our adoption (our manifestation as God’s sons).
You hear that? All of creation is in labor pains. Labor pains? That speaks of something being birthed! Not only in the life to come in heaven but all of creation is waiting, groaning for the church to be all it should be. So many have been indirectly taught and accept that once we are saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit we have arrived. V.23 says that is only the beginning. It is only the first fruits. James 1:18 says, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” How can we be ‘first fruits’ ? There is much that has been created before us. Don’t forget He is the master of time and space! He has made us new creations! We must learn to walk in it. Stop limiting ourselves. Stop Limiting God!
How do we know this is all true? Listen for His voice, listen to what is written. V. 24 says we are saved by hope, in other words it was in this hope that we were saved. Not in hopelessness. Not thinking, this is never going to change. Everyone in the Old Testament looked forward to the day we are living in. A day when Jesus would save the unsaveable, empower the powerless. You don’t see it in your life? He says in Romans 8:25, wait for it. When the Bible says wait it doesn’t just mean sit still. It means increase your hope. Know it is coming. Wait for it. Roman 8:26 says call on the Holy Spirit to come to our aid. Has He not promised in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “when I am weak, then am I strong.
Romans 8:26-27 teaches us something about the workings of the Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit in us is empowering us. He is praying for us. Making intercession for us. If you don’t feel like your prayers are doing anything just let go and let the Holy Spirit pray through you. He knows how to pray and knows what we need better than we do. When you got filled with the Holy Ghost it wasn’t just a novelty, another notch on your gun. No, He is powerful, He is the Spirit of God. He is our helper. He is a bestower of gifts to do His will when we need it. He wants to teach us and open Word up to us when we read and study. He wants to pray through us. Have you ever just didn’t know what to pray and you just cried or moaned and groaned like you were in pain, in travail? That is Holy Spirit praying through you. You hear it as moans and groans and even pain in your souls but God the Father hears it in words He can understand. Like the old song says, even tears are a language God understands.
Romans 8:28 is a verse that most of us are familiar with “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” That is you, if you have been born again. That which the enemy means for evil, God will turn it around and bring good out of it. What a promise!
Romans 8:29-30 has often been misinterpreted. In fact a whole denomination bases their beliefs on these verses. They believe that God already has chosen all that are going to be saved and no one else is going to be saved. A good excuse to be self righteous and smug if you ask me. Because if they believe this and they attend one certain church then they are obviously chosen and you are not. What do they do with John 6:37“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
Let’s read vv. 31-39: 31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
This is an awesome thought. We should all take some time to think on and ponder this one verse. In other words, is it logical to even think God is not for us and will answer our prayers if He didn’t even spare His own Son, more precious than anything to Him? Think about it parents.
Romans 8:33 says, Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Did you get that? Jesus Himself is praying to the Father for you. Jesus who knew what it was to be human and understands our weakness is praying to the Father for US! How can we lose if the Holy Spirit and Jesus are praying for us?
Read on Romans 8:35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Don’t misinterpret v.36. Paul is trying to get it across that we are not just sheep for the slaughter in v. 37 he says “we are more than conquerors” It would be pretty awesome to just be a conqueror but he says we are more than conquerors. You know why? Because we are not finite beings. If we are killed in this life we don’t die. We live on with no limitations in heaven.
Romans 8:38 says, For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.