Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Birth, Not Performance, Determines Identity

Title of Chapter 5 of Bill Gillham's book What God Wishes Christians Knew About Christianity:

"That Birth, Not Performance, Determines Identity"

Your identity in Christ is solid and secure, not because of what you do or don't do, but because you've been reborn as a new creation!

From the book:
A toad is not a toad because it croaks and eats bugs. I wouldn't recommend it, but you could eat bugs till you croaked, and it wouldn't turn you into a toad. A toad is a toad because it was born a toad.

You're a human by birth. Your mom didn't pause between labor pains and pray, "Oh, God, please let it be a human!" Birth determined your human identity. This holds true in the spiritual realm as well. As a spiritual product of Adam, you are a sinner by birth (Romans 5:19a). Your performance has nothing whatever to do with your acquiring this identity...

...When witnessing to lost folks, I used to tell them that if they could live a perfect life they would go to heaven, but since they've already blown that one, they need a Savior. Although a person can come under conviction and get saved via this method, my theology was wrong. Even if it were possible for man to keep God's Law perfectly, he would still go to hell because of the spiritual identity he acquired at birth.
The point here is that we inherited our sinful identity from Adam, just by being born. And now we've inherited a brand new identity - righteous, holy, alive to God - just by being spiritually reborn! Your identity is by your birth, not by your behavior or performance.


  1. Good stuff, Joel! I haven't read this book. I have his "Lifetime Guarantee". I think I would check this out too.

  2. Bino... I'm the opposite... I have this book but not Lifetime Guarantee. I'll swap books with you for a while if you want!

  3. Joel,

    You said, "Your identity in Christ in solid and secure, not because of what you do or don't do, but because you've been reborn as a new creation!"

    How I wish this was shouted from the pulpits instead of the performance oriented diatribes which are so common.

    It's about what Christ has done, not what we do!

  4. John,

    Yes indeed! How wonderful it would be if THIS was the message that people around the world would hear! There is too much bad news being preached... performance and behavior based preaching. I think that most people don't know the reality of who they are in Christ, because everything they're taught is based upon principles and rules for Christian living, and hardly a word is said about identity.