We trust that our communication with you has proven useful to you, especially in your walk with our Father in heaven. We sincerely pray that as we continue together in our journey of faith, we will be able ‘to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of’ us (Phil 3:12, NIV). ‘And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never really understand it’ (Eph 3:18&19, NLT).
In this piece, we desire to discuss with you the wealth of our identity (or inheritance) in Christ Jesus. This is particularly important for us to focus on since our society today assesses people based on their status, social class, educational qualification, family background and so on. While we cannot entirely shut our ears and eyes to all these, we thought it expedient for us as God’s children to focus on who we are in Christ Jesus. Like the apostle Paul puts it: ‘In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters and He lives in all of us.’ (Col 3:11, NLT; Emphasis ours).
As you read through, may the Holy Spirit Himself cause you to see and value yourself as God sees and values you and not necessarily from the world’s viewpoint, or even yours. May you not rate yourself too high or too low by the standards of this world. May you be able to ‘fix (your) eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ (2 Cor. 4:18, NIV. Emphasis ours).
Have a blessed time reading!
For ‘Pens For Christ’
YOUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST!
Adeola and Rita were classmates in the same high school. At the same time, Adeola’s dad happened to be the ‘cleaner’ employed to work at Rita’s house. Everybody in the class knew about this. Rita often mocked Adeola in the presence of their peers, especially for bringing left-over food packed by Adeola’s dad from her own house.
Adeola did not find this too comfortable. She became worried about what people perceived of her, especially when they started to call her ‘names’. She wanted to stop going to school but soon remembered that one of the major reasons she was being trained in school was to enable her receive a good formal education to get a good job and earn enough money. This would in turn help her to sponsor the rest of her siblings, who were still far from going to school.
While she chose to remain in school, she could not maximally focus on her studies simply because of the thoughts of the ‘definitions’ her mates had given her based on her family background and status.
Have you ever worried about what people think of you, as Adeola constantly did? Maybe your own case is a little different. Your family members, relatives and/or friends could have certain perceptions or expectations of you which may have affected your way of life. It is also possible that you, as an individual, have a particular perception of yourself which may not be too healthy. Probably you see yourself as being disadvantaged or you find it hard to see anything good about yourself due to some things you’ve done in the past or still get involved in now.
You must realize that people’s views, as well as your own, are inconsistent as we are all human beings. Opinions may vary from one person to another and from time to time. Human beings have an unstable nature for not being God. As humans, we are equally not omniscient (all-knowing), but limited in our knowledge and thinking. This is why you should not depend too strongly on others or even your perception of who you are but rather on God’s thoughts of you. It is only God that has the ultimately true, accurate and complete details of your life; not only of what it is now, but also of what it will be in the future. The Bible states in Psalm 118:8: ‘It is better to trust in the Lord than to put your confidence in man’ (KJV)
At times, however, the perception and expectations that people have of you may be good and helpful and may not necessarily need to be disregarded but you must realize that God’s position of you remains the one and only standard by which all other opinions must be judged before they are accepted and lived by. It is even possible that people give consistent opinions about who you are at every point in time, but you must still acknowledge that what God says about you is the ultimate ‘Let God be true, and every man a liar’ (Rom 3:4, NIV).
People had varying opinions about Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 16:13-14 ‘When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” This passage reveals how different people gave different perceptions of the personality of Jesus Christ.
Your True Identity
Every Christian has received a new identity in Jesus Christ through His sacrificial work on the cross. Our sins were forgiven and we received eternal life. By believing in Christ, we have come to partake of the divine nature of God through a new and spiritual birth.
As believers, the Bible remains our ‘identity card’ because it reveals exactly who we have become since the moment we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of the major truths about our identity in Christ (God’s perspective of us) revealed in Scriptures are discussed below. These are by no means exhaustive but suffice for this discussion.
* You Are God’s Child
An individual becomes a child of God the moment he believes in what Christ came to do as the only way through which His soul can be saved from death and eternal damnation. ‘But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.’ (John 1:12, NLT)
What privilege could be higher than to be a child of the Most High God, who is the Maker of all things and King over all kings?’ See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for He allows us to be called His children, and we really are! But the people who belong to this world don’t know God, so they don’t understand that we are His children.’ (1 John 3:1, NLT).
You have already become God’s child through adoption by His Holy Spirit. Now you can approach Him boldly without fear. You can ask for whatever you need in accordance with His will with all boldness. ‘So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into His family*—calling him “Father, dear Father.”* For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we will share His treasures—for everything God gives to His Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share His suffering.’ (Rom 8:15-17, NLT.).
As God’s children, we have direct access to God’s presence, without fear, all because of whom we have been made through Jesus Christ. ‘That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to Him and never stop trusting Him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same temptations we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it’. (Heb. 4:14-16, NLT).
This is the position that we have attained by virtue of our union with Christ and all that He has done for us. Not only are we God’s very own children but we are also ‘heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ’ (Rom 8:17, NIV). An heir is someone who has the legal right to receive title, property, etc, and this is what we have become to God.
You are not just anybody; you are a child of God, an heir to Him and co-heirs with Jesus Christ. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
What a privilege we have in Christ Jesus! Glory to His name.
* You Have Become A New Creature (New Man)
Anybody who responds to the call of Christ by faith has become a new person. His former deeds are forgiven and he is given a new spirit and new nature that makes him to live according to the dictates of the New Testament. ‘So we have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, as though he were merely a human being. How differently I think about him now! What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!’ (2 Cor. 5:16 - 17, NLT).
Suppose that a slave in a village suddenly becomes liberated and adopted as a son of the United States president. This same person may still view himself as a slave; others around him may still see him in this light. The truth, however, is that he is no longer a slave, but a top citizen of his new country. He needs to begin to see himself in this light irrespective of those around him.
Something similar happens when we become Christians, accepting Christ as Lord. Others might still see you in the light of the life that you used to live, but before God you are an entirely different person, and you must begin to see yourself as such. Your sins have been atoned for by the blood of Christ and you have been completely and eternally forgiven. This was not a product of your effort or works, but a position freely given to you because of what Christ has done and your position in Him. ‘All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did……For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them….For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Cor. 5:18-19, 21, NLT). See also Eph.2:4 - 8
More so, since you now have the very nature of God within you through His Holy Spirit, realize that you simply are not the same person that you used to be. You have a new life – the very life of God in you.
So you are no longer the same person that you used to be. God has given you a new life through Jesus Christ. In fact you are not even defined by the weaknesses you may see ongoing in your life. God sees you as righteous because you have known Christ - He took your place paying the penalty for your sin that you may now occupy His. This is your new definition and how you should walk.
* You Are Loved And Accepted
Have you ever felt unloved before? Ever felt like even God has taken His gaze off you? Do you have those times in your life when you conclude that you are unworthy of God’s love? How about the love of those around you?
For instance, people love us based on the things they see – our appearance, wealth, status, etc. Do you sometimes consider the things you have or your status and wonder if God would want to have anything to do with you?
But God loved you so much that He had a plan for you even before He created the world. “Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.” (Eph 1:4, The Message)
The ultimate display of God’s love towards you was shown by the death of His Son on the Cross of Calvary. This love towards you is unconditional. God does not ask to see the works of your hands before He loves you. God loved you while you were loveless, a sinner bound for hell. When you had no works to offer, He chose to love you. “Christ died for us at a time when we were helpless and sinful. No one is really willing to die for an honest person, though someone might be willing to die for a truly good person. But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would dare to die.” (Rom 5:6 – 8, CEV)
Why should you ever fear, worry, fret about God’s love towards you? It can’t falter. The love of men is based on conditions. But God’s love is not based on any of such conditions. He has chosen to love you. It is this love that has made you accepted in the sight of God.
Therefore, you don’t need to worry when it seems like people around you are withholding there love from you, when you understand the depth of love that God has towards you. No other form of love can compare with God’s own love towards you. It is this same reality that prompts you to love anyone and everyone around you in spite of the wrong they might do. This is what God expects of you.
Thanks be unto God who has made us “…..accepted in the beloved.” (Eph 1:6, KJV)
* You are Justified
To be justified means to be declared free and guiltless in the sight of God. While you were separated from God, there was nothing you did that could be good enough to make you righteous in His sight. The only thing that could be done was the role He played when He laid down His life so that you will be forever righteous before Him. “Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” (Rom. 5:1, NLT).
Now you must realize that though He does not condone your mistakes and faults, yet He has not condemned you but rather has justified you.” He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life”. (Tit 3:5-7, NLT)
Beloved, your true identity is defined in Christ Jesus as it is revealed the Bible. It will be of great benefit to you when you continue to study who you are and channel your thoughts and walk towards the same direction. You can only begin to appreciate yourself in the light of these realities when you are overwhelmed with the consciousness of their existence.
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