Monday, March 31, 2008

Who we are in Christ

We know that apart from Christ we were nothing. Unfortunately it seems to me as if sometimes we Christians stay stuck right there. "We are nothing."

But ohhhhhhhh, my friends, in Christ we are a lot of wonderful things! Who God has made us to be is far more amazing than what we give Him credit for. God doesn't just mercifully "see" us a certain way just because we believe in Christ, but He has in reality made us to be a brand new creation, ALIVE with Him, joined to Him, complete in Him, fully accepted in Christ!

And just to get this straight, I'm not talking about that person sitting down there in the front row with his five-inch-thick King James Bible, who doesn't watch TV or go to movies and doesn't curse or smoke or drink or have an evil thought pop into his mind. I'm not talking about the person who is in church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening, and whenever else the doors are open. I'm not talking about the person who never messes up and who never hurts anyone and who never says the wrong things. I'm not talking about the person who is completely consistent in everything he says and does. I'm not talking about the person who is happy all the time and never gets sad or depressed or irritated. I'm not talking about that Christian couple who say they never argue or fight. I'm not talking about the person whose "well worn Bible is a sign that they are not." I'm not talking about the person who takes part in all the activities at church. I'm not talking about the person who wears the Jesus pin and who has 3 Christian bumper stickers on his vehicle and listens only to Christian music. I'm not talking about the person who is able to connect with people easily and who knows all their neighbors. I'm not talking about the "10% who are doing 90% of the work." I'm not talking about the person who has no addictions or complexions or personality issues.

I think this might start to give a picture of who I'm not talking about!

Who I'm talking about is... YOU!

Who are you? I gleaned all of the following truths about you directly from Bible passages.

You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, God's own special people. You once were not a people but are now the people of God. Jesus has made you kings and priests to His God and Father. You are loved by the Father. The love of God has been poured out in your heart by the Holy Spirit who was given to you. You belong to God and He belongs to you. You are the beloved of God. You are your Beloved's and He is yours, and His desire is toward you. You are a saint.

You have been saved by Christ's life. You have been made alive together with Him. Christ is your life. You reign in life through Him. You have been sanctified in Him. You are the temple of God in which the Spirit of God indwells. Christ is in you. You are a holy temple of God. You are Christ's house. Inwardly, you are being renewed day by day.

Your sins have not only been forgiven; they have been taken away. You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. You are holy and blameless before Him. You have been perfected forever. You have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ. In Christ you approach God with freedom, boldness and confidence. You were bought with a price. You are a citizen of heaven, and you are seated with Christ in the heavenly realm.

You are a new creation. He has given you a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the word of God which lives and abides forever. You are shielded by God's power.

You are a child of God... an actual child of God... through faith in Christ Jesus. As a legitimate child, you are qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. You have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God's beloved Son.

The Holy Spirit has been poured out abundantly on you through Jesus Christ. Having been justified by God's grace, you have become an heir according to the hope of eternal life. You have become an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ. You have become a partaker of Christ. You have become a partaker of the divine nature. You have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ. You have been united with God, joined to Him in an inseparable union.

Having been justified by faith, you have peace with God. You are accepted in the Beloved. You are complete in Him. You are no longer condemned and nothing can separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. You are a branch of the living Vine, and His life flows through you. God rejoices over you with gladness. He quiets you with His love. He rejoices over you with singing.

All of these things are true of YOU because God says they are true of you! You may "feel" that it's true or you may not feel that it's true. You may understand all of it or some of it or very little of it, but it's still all true.

The point here is that you are not low. You are not a worm. You are not "nothing." You are all the things that are mentioned in the previous paragraphs, and you are much more that I haven't mentioned. I'm only skimming the surface!

Again, we know we were nothing apart from Christ. But now we are in Him and He is in us and we are His! We belong to Him. We're no longer nothing. Our lives in Him are not a matter of us trying to become something! We are complete in Him. We don't come groveling towards Him. We come boldly and confidently to Him, not afraid but with great awe and reverence. We don't sit around as a bunch of mere sinners, hoping He'll grant us favor with Him. We roll around and jump up and down in His favor and grace that has been lavishly poured out on us and given to us in abundance. We celebrate who we are in Him. We can fully enjoy the true identity that is truly who we are. WE DON'T DOWNPLAY IT!!!

I'm excited, I know! For a few years now I've been working my way of the box that I had previously been locked up in, in which the church had tried to tame me and to make me into someone who strives to be a "good Christian boy." :) I don't believe that that's what God had in mind for me when He saved me. He made me to be so much more than that! He has made me whole, and I want to live in that wholeness. He is a God who is "wild, dangerous, unfettered and free" (Walter Brueggeman) and I want to enjoy Him as He is and I want to live as who I am in Him!

8 comments:

  1. Great post, Joel!! Your excitement came through loud and clear. The good news is just that . . . it's GOOD NEWS and it's something to be excited about!! As the truth about our identity becomes more real to us, we'll see more changes in ourselves and we'll also see others infected with that excitement!

    We're wild children of a wild God and the wildness definitely came out in this post.

    Aida

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  2. Aida... It really is GOOD NEWS! It's good news about US and what God has done for us. I can't imagine a poor person, barely scraping to get by, winning the lottery and yet continuing to call himself a poor person and continuing to live as if he is barely scraping by.

    So many Christians seem to live this way, as if they are scum and filth, and as if they still live on the street, when in reality they've become kings and queens, and their Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills!

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  3. Excellent Joel! I too am excited!
    What we need is not a bunch of 'Nice Christian Boys', we need some 'Wild Christian MEN'. Our true humanity is found in Christ alone. You know one thing people misunderstand in the whole thing of identifying us as who we really are as 'self esteem'. It's not really self esteem, but 'Christ esteem'!

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  4. Bino... Yes indeed, Wild Christian Men! And it's true what you're saying about "God esteem." For some reason that has been very heavy on my mind for the past few days. I need to remind myself that I'm not looking for acceptance from man or even from my own view of how well I think I'm performing or how "put together" my mental status is at any given moment. :) I look to Christ alone and I find complete and perfect acceptance there, and as I grow in that, I behave like the man who I truly am, not the man who others think I should be.

    Man looks on the outside, God looks on the heart.

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  5. You never saw my mug shot???

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  6. Yeah, I remember it from when I first began to look at the blogs, first time I seen it was on Steve McVeys blog quite some time ago...
    :)

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  7. BTW. I do remember hovering over the pic to get the name of the file."mug shot" LoL

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