Every morning we wake up and every night we go to bed we have a picture of ourselves in our minds that drives everything we do and every thought we think. The most critical question you will ever answer is who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Do I have worth? Do I have value? What defines who I am? You cannot escape these questions. You cannot ignore this inquiry. These are some of the most important questions you will ever face in life.
Where do you go to get answers to these critical questions? The newspaper, television, politics, social media or the internet? What is the truth to who I am and our identity. Who knows the enduring truth of who am I and what can I be?
All of the books written by the human mind do not have the answer. All the secular universities do not have a clue. All the talking heads on the news cannot give you the key to your identity.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (Did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it and is unreceptive to it).
Only in the God-breathed Word will you find the answers to these questions. The living words of God revealed in the Bible contain the truth as to our identity. Only in the glorious person of Jesus Christ, the Word in the flesh, will our eyes be opened to who we are.
The world tries to form our identity out of darkness. The darkness of our failures, the darkness of our past and the darkness of our mistakes become the deep-seated source of our identity. Culture sets up norms that we must conform to be somebody. Conform or be rejected by the systems of this age. These cultural norms have very little, if any light in them, and are not rooted in the Word. Their purpose is to weaken you, capture you and put you in bondage as you try to live up to an image that has been thrust into our minds and hearts. The image is distorted and twisted and bombards our mind causing us to have an identity crisis. We have long forgotten we were originally created in the image of God and our desperately trying to find our identity within ourselves, but come up empty.
One of the first truths in the Bible in Genesis reveals that of you want to destroy someone, you go right for the jugular and destroy their identity. Look at the example of Adam and Eve as they began to question God and believe the lie that they did not need God, they had spiritual amnesia as to their identity. They forgot who they were and God’s magnificent purpose for them. Fear and confusion flooded their heart. Sin separated them from their identity. The entire ministry of the devil revolves around gendering mass confusion concerning our identity. Without God and without the Lord Jesus Christ, our identity is like sinking sand, a puff in the wind, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Either our identity is going to be defined by Scripture or it will be defined by the world around us.
One of the side effects of ignoring God is that human life is, unquestionably, devalued. If there is no God, then there is no Supreme Maker who gives life intrinsic value. There remains only relative value. In other words, apart from God, a human being’s real worth is determined by an adjustable standard based on laws and “morals” of a particular society or civilization. In our generation we value or devalue a person based on their perceived worth. Some people are simply viewed as being more valuable. And without God in the picture, our understanding of human dignity is naturally skewed. Our judgments our upside down using many filters to judge a person’s worth such as wealth, status, power, possessions, beauty and success. These worldly filters mean nothing to God. This is not how God values a human being. With God out of the picture, people become expendable because there is no divine standard to declare their worth. The prevailing spirit of this age attempts to decide how valuable people are or how desirable people are and this is very dangerous because it always leads to the condemnation of many as not worthy, not valuable and a menace to society.
We will never be rich enough, good-looking enough, connected enough, smart enough, witty enough and good enough for the world. Satan’s goal for each and every one of us is to destroy our identity and never let us see what we could be in Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:3,4:
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Are our eyes blinded by the god of the world as to our true identity? Do you want to see who you really are or can be in Christ?
One of the most amazing verses in the Bible is in 2 Corinthians 5:17 and this is a promise of identity to all those who come to Christ. This is not a wish, or a motif or an exaggerated promise. This is the truth for all those who believe. Romans 10:9-13 gives the prerequisite to this verse:
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
There is no threshold requirement as to status, race, position or accomplishments to call on the name of the Lord. There is no works requirement or identity demanded. The promise is to everyone Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, rich, poor, old, young, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist or agnostic. The Lord Jesus never discriminates because of identity because he knows we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
We confess with the heart and believe in the heart. An amazing regeneration takes place called the new birth. 2 Corinthians 5 speaks to this truth:
2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
NLT: 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!
Phillips: For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether – the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new.
Paul expounded on the idea of a believer’s new identity, using the phrase in Christ or its synonyms (over 160 times in some form – in Him, in the Beloved, in Christ, in Christ Jesus, in the Lord). In Christ summarizes the profound truth that believers are now and forever in spiritual union with the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Christ defines every saint’s eternal, permanent, spiritual location, the spiritual “address” and the “spiritual atmosphere” as it were in which we now live and breathe and have our being.
It is a new sphere we are to live in. Fish have water as their sphere of living, birds have the air as their sphere of living and Christ is our new sphere of living.
Let’s look at some of the words in this magnificent verse to deepen our understanding.
Anyone: What a great promise this pronoun holds out for lost men and women. Any sinner, no matter how awful, despicable, depraved, disgusting (and the list could go on and on) who repents and believes in Christ is placed in Christ wherein he or she is a new creature, regardless of how corrupt and decadent the old creature was in Adam.
In: The word “in” does not in this connection speak of location, such as “in an automobile,” but carries the idea of union. On the resurrection side of this experience we have His life. He has come to live in us. It is this that marks the real difference between the old life prior to our salvation and the new life now that we are saved. It is necessary before the believer can enjoy victory in Christ for the power of the old life to be broken.
Colossians 1:27: To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Ephesians 1:22: And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
In Christ- The key word is environment, for being in Christ is not a barren state or an almost unreal positional truth (as it is often presented), but a vital, pulsating, functioning involvement. The chief characteristic of this environment is resurrection life, the life of Christ Himself.
Colossians 3:4a Christ who is our life
I Corinthians 15:22: For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
God has dealt with the whole human race through two representative men, Adam and Christ. Adam is the source of all in the old sphere; Christ is the source of all in the new sphere. By Adam sin entered into the world; by Christ salvation came to all men; the sinner is in Adam; the believer is in Christ. – “In Adam” we are what we are by nature; “in Christ” we are what we are by grace. – “In Adam” we have the life received through human generation; “in Christ” we have the life received through divine regeneration. – “In Adam” man was ruined through the first man’s sin; “in Christ” man is redeemed through the second Man’s sacrifice. – “In Adam” all is sin, darkness and death; “in Christ” all is righteousness, light and life. These two spheres are the exact antithesis of each other. Every human being is one of these two spheres and his relationship to JESUS CHRIST determines which one it is.
Romans 5:12: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
Adam’s sin brought sin and death into God’s creation. Sin is passed on through the blood and every person born in this world is under the condemnation of sin and death.
Ephesians 2:1-3: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Spiritually dead and under the dominion [supreme authority, power, jurisdiction, sway, control, absolute ownership] of the Sin “virus” we inherited from Adam.)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Without Christ we are dead in trespass and sins. This does not change. This is our spiritual identity. We were by our very nature in the flesh and in Adam the children of wrath under the absolute dominion, authority and jurisdiction of sin. You cannot run into a sandbox and cover up your sin nature. It is at the root of every act of violence, hostility, pride, and bitterness in the world. It often bursts forth like a firework, but quickly fades into nothing. This is not where our identity lies. It is the counterfeit image of God.
Yet God made us alive in Christ and seated us in the heavenlies in Christ. This is our true spiritual position.
Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
This is our new identity that Christ lives in me by faith and His love becomes my love, His touch my touch, His compassion, my compassion and His strength, my strength. What a revolutionary change of identity!
The expression in Christ sums up as briefly and as profoundly as possible the inexhaustible significance of man’s redemption. It speaks of security in Him who has Himself borne in his own body the judgment of God against our sin; it speaks of acceptance in Him with whom alone God is well pleased; it speaks of assurance for the future in Him who is the Resurrection and the Life; it speaks of the inheritance of glory in Him who, as the only-begotten Son, is the sole heir of God; it speaks of participation in the divine nature in Him who is the everlasting Word; it speaks of knowing the truth, and being free in that truth, in Him who Himself is the Truth. All this, and very much more than can ever be expressed in human language, is meant by being in Christ. (Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition and Notes)
The moment a penitent sinner puts faith in Christ as Saviour he steps out of life “in Adam” and enters into life “in Christ.” Through the ages upon ages to come he will be “in Christ.” We will never understand Paul’s Epistles if we do not understand the expression “In Christ.” It is the key to the whole New Testament. It or its equivalent is used one hundred and sixty times. These two words are the most important ever penned to describe the mutual relationship between the Christian and Christ. To be “in Christ” determines the Christian’s position, privileges and possessions. For to be “in Christ” is to be where He is, to be what He is and to share what He has. To be “in Christ” is to be where Christ is. But Christ is in the heavenlies, so that is where the real home of the Christian is. He is a pilgrim on earth, for his real citizenship is in Heaven. “For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
To be “in Christ” is to be what Christ is. Christ, the Head of the body, and the Christian who is a member of that body have one life. The blood of the human body is its life. The blood which is now in my head will soon be in my arm. It is the same blood. So the life that is in Christ in the heavenlies is the same life that is in the Christian on earth. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world” (I John 4:17). We are so enfolded by the Lord Jesus that God cannot see Christ today without seeing us. This moment as God looks at His Son He sees you and me. And what His Son is He sees you and me to be. To be “in Christ” is to share what Christ has. All that Christ possesses we possess. Every spiritual blessing in Him – joy, peace, victory, power, holiness – is ours here and now. If we are a child of God, then we are His heir and a joint-heir with CHRIST, so that all the Father has given to His Son, the Son shares with us. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). “He 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?” (Romans 8:32).
Creation-(ktisis refers to bringing something into existence which has not existed before). The act of causing to exist that which did not exist before, especially God’s act of bringing the universe into existence. It is notable that ktisis always occurs in the New Testament in connection with God’s creative activities.
When God begat in the believer a new nature He opened the door to a living, organic union between the Christian and Christ. Christ and the Christian are then eternally one. So what is it to be a Christian? It is to have the glorified Christ in us in actual presence and power.
To be a Christian is to have CHRIST the Life of our life in such a way and to such a degree that we can say with Paul, “To me to live is Christ.”
Arthur Pink (In the “The Sovereignty of God”) describes the new creation as radical, revolutionary, lasting:
In the new birth, God exerts a quickening influence or power upon His own elect. Regeneration is very, very much more than simply shedding a few tears because of some temporary remorse over sin. It is far more than changing our course of life, the leaving off of bad habits and the substituting of good ones. It is something different from the mere cherishing and practicing of noble ideals. It goes infinitely deeper than coming forward to take some popular evangelist by the hand, signing a pledge-card, or “joining the church.” The new birth is no mere turning over a new leaf–but is the inception and reception of a new life! It is no mere reformation, but a radical transformation. In short, the new birth is a miracle–the result of the supernatural operation of God. It is radical, revolutionary, lasting!
Dr Glen Spencer describes the Christian as a new creation…
A creation of God’s redemptive work. He is a new creature with a new Director, a new Determination, a new Demeanor, new Delights, new Desires, and a new Destiny. (Expository Pulpit Series – 1 John: Living in the Light)
All men are in one of two creations. As born into the world, they are sinful, helpless, and condemned. All their efforts to save themselves, or to assist God in their salvation by good character or good works, are futile, and leave them unchanged. The new creation is headed by the risen Christ, and includes all who have been redeemed from sin and given new life in Him. Because the new creation is all of Christ from start to finish, it excludes any thought of gaining God’s favor through character or works. A life of holiness is produced, not by the observance of ritual, but by yielding to Christ and permitting Him to live His life in the believer. The new creation is not an improvement of or addition to the old, but something entirely different. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer’s Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
A new creation points to our new standing before God. If I am a new creature in Christ, then I stand before God, not in myself—but in Christ. He sees no longer me—but only Him in Whom I am—Him who represents me, Christ Jesus, my Substitute and Surety (ground for confidence and security). In believing, I have become so identified with the Son of His love, that the favor with which He regards Him (Mt 3:17) passes over to me, and rests, like the sunshine of the new heavens, upon me. In Christ, and through Christ, I have acquired a new standing before the Father. I am “accepted in the beloved.”
A new creation points to our new relationship to God. If I am a new creature, then I no longer bear the same relationship to God. My old connection has been dissolved, and a new one established. I was an alien once, a hater of God, an enemy to His ways and dead in my sins. I am now a son; and as a son, have the privilege of closest fellowship. Every vestige of estrangement between us is gone (Beloved if you are like me, you may need to read that statement again!). At every point, instead of barriers rising up to separate and repel; there are links, knitting us together in happiest, closest union. Enmity is gone on my part, displeasure on His. He calls me son, I call Him Father. Paternal love comes down on His part, filial love goes up on mine. The most entire mutual confidence has been established between us. No more a stranger and a foreigner, I am become a fellow-citizen with the saints, and of the household of God, every cloud being withdrawn that could cast a single shadow upon the simple gladness of our happy communion. There has been truly a new creation; “old things have passed away, all things have become new.”
Our new relationship is for all eternity. He is eternally my Father; and I am eternally His son. I have the right to cry Abba Father in all things. This is a birth relationship and not just a formal title or nice religious saying. This is spiritual seed, a new birth, a new creation. This is a father son relationship by spiritual regeneration and creation.
Old things have passed away
The old – Those things that characterized our pre-Christ life, our life in Adam.
The very core of the flesh in Adam is this sinful, corrupt nature, called “the old man,” which is a deep-dyed traitor that hates everything that GOD loves and loves everything that GOD hates. Through the first Adam’s fall “self” usurped the throne of man’s personality and has held it in its possession, control and use ever since. Every child is born into the world with KING SELF on the throne, a fact often made evident before he can walk or talk. “The old man” on the throne determines what the whole life from center to circumference shall be. His evil desires become evil deeds; his unholy aspirations are transmitted into unholy acts; his unrighteous character manifests itself in unrighteous conduct; his ungodly will is expressed in ungodly works. The root “sin” bears fruit in “sins.”
Few people are willing to admit that “the old man” sits upon the throne and rules the whole being with despotic power. How few are willing to say, “I know that in me… dwelleth no good thing.” Let us, then, pause for a moment to take a full-length portrait of this hideous self and see if we are not forced to accept God’s estimate of him, and to acquiesce in the method of deliverance from his sovereignty. The foundation of life in the natural man is foursquare: self-will, self-love, self-trust, and self-exaltation; and upon this foundation is reared a superstructure that is one huge capital “I.” Self-centeredness, self-assertion, self-conceit, self-indulgence, self-pleasing, self-seeking, self-pity, self-sensitiveness, self-defense, self-sufficiency, self-consciousness, self-righteousness, self-glorying – this is the material out of which the building is fashioned. Is this delineation of self true or untrue?
Deliverance from the old sphere “in Adam” and entrance into the new sphere “in Christ” demands the dethronement of self. No house can entertain two masters. If the Lord Jesus is to take the throne and rule over the human personality, then “the old man” must abdicate. That he will never do. So God must deal drastically with him. He is a usurper whom God has condemned and sentenced to death. That sentence was carried out on Calvary’s cross. Now God declares to every person who cries out for deliverance from the tyranny of self, “the old man is crucified with Christ.”
This truth becomes easy of apprehension if we but remember that God sees every person either “in Adam” or “in Christ.” He deals with the human race through these two representative men. When Adam died the human race died in him. You died in Adam. So did I. Through that spiritual death “the old man” found birth and usurped God’s place on the throne of man’s life. But Christ came as the last Adam to recover for God and for the race all that had been lost to them through the first Adam. Christ died and the race of sinners I died in Him. The old “I” in you and in me was judicially crucified with Christ. You “died,” and your death dates from the death of Christ.
Behold (idou): Spurgeon reminds us that “Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation.” I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect “Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!”
Idou is used by the Biblical writers to (1) prompt or arouse the reader’s attention (introducing something new or unusual), (2) to mark a strong emphasis (“Indeed!” Lk 13:16) and (3) to call the reader to pay close attention (very similar to #1) so that one will listen, remember or consider. Behold emphasizes the dramatic aspect of the change in 2Co 5:17
The exclamation “behold!” sounds an unmistakable note of spontaneous jubilation. In its “sudden note of triumph”
The new has come: In this respect the new creation has done wonders indeed. It has not only broken my chains, and given me the liberty of the heavenly adoption—but it has altered the whole frame and bent of my being, so that, as formerly, by the law of my old nature, I sought the things of this world, so now, by the necessity of my new nature, I seek the things above.
I behold everything in a new light, and from a new position and point of view.
Is your spiritual life a heavenly creation? Have you been created anew in Christ Jesus? Have you been born again by divine power?
Ordinary religion is nature gilded over with a thin layer of what is thought to be grace. Sinners have polished themselves up, and brushed off the worst of the rust and the filth, and they think their old nature is as good as new. This touching-up and repairing of the Old Man is all very well; but it falls, short of what is needed. You may wash the face and hands of Ishmael as much as you please, but you cannot make him into Isaac. You may improve nature, and the more you do so the better for certain temporary purposes; but you cannot raise it into grace. There is a distinction at the very fountain-head between the stream which rises in the bog of fallen humanity, and the river which proceeds from the throne of God.
The new creation has done wonders indeed. It has not only broken my chains, and given me the liberty of the heavenly adoption—but it has altered the whole frame and bent of my being, so that, as formerly, by the law of my old nature, I sought the things of this world, so now, by the necessity of my new nature, I seek the things above.
There is no part of the believer’s life from which the newness should be absent.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
How has my identity changed?
This is what the Word of the Living God says:
Sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:15-17: I John 3:1,2; Galatians 4:7)
Justified (Romans 5:1, 3:24, 4:23-25; 5:9,)
Made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:17,19; I Corinthians 1:30; Romans 3:21,22; Philippians 3:9) )
Accepted in the Beloved (lovely and acceptable) (Ephesians 1:6)
Remission and forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7; I John 1:9, Colossians 2:13,14
We have been reconciled (Romans 5:1,2,10,11; 2 Corinthians 5:18,19; Colossians 1:20-23)
We have been given Power from on high (Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:7: Ephesians 1:17-23;Luke 24:49)
Redemption (Colossians 1:14; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 3:24; I Peter 1:18,19; I Corinthians 1:30)
Comforter, Encourager, Teacher, Enlightener lives with us (John 14:16,17,26;John 15:26; John 16:13)
Gift of eternal Life (Romans 5:21; John 3:16; John 10:28-30; Romans 6:23; I John 5:13)
Citizenship (Philippians 3:20; Ephesians 2:19)
Member of the Body of Christ with a specific gifting, purpose and ministry (Corinthians 12:22-27; Ephesians 1:21.22)
Walk in the 9 manifestations of the holy spirit (I Corinthians 12:7-11)
Dwelling place of God (Ephesians 2:22)
Future hope and inheritance that is guaranteed (I Peter 1:3,4; Ephesians 1:11-14)
Produce fruit of the spirit as walk by the spirit (Galatians 5:17-23)
Power over sin (Romans 6:4-22)
Power over fear, anxiety and worry (I Timothy 1:7
Power to break every change of bondage (John 8:32; Romans 6; Galatians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Ephesians 1:19)
Delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13; Acts 26:18)
We are His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)
We have bold and confident access to God (Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:16)
Who are we really? We are who God says we are!
Romans 8:31-29: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing can separate us from our identity in Christ built on God’s endless love and grace. God is for us. God gave us our new identity. Nothing can change who we are in Him.
Our identity prayer is contained in Ephesians 3.
Ephesians 3:16-21: that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Each day we must decide do you live in the sphere of the old or the sphere of the new. Do you allow Christ to live His life through you by faith? Is the root of your life in Him? Your spiritual position has changed-you are now seated in the heavenlies with Him. You are His sons and daughters by birth, citizens of heaven, justified and righteous in His sight, now by faith are you going to live like it. The walk of the spirit is a day by day, step by step process as we bring that inner Christ into manifestation in our actions, thoughts, emotions and words in the world. Or do we return to the old ways of sin and the flesh, where self is on the throne, and what the Bible calls “the old man” rules.
To be a Christian is to have Christ the Life of our minds, hearts and wills so that it is He who thinks through our minds, loves through our hearts and wills through our wills. It is to have Christ filling our life in ever-increasing measure until we have no life apart from Him. Does He so fill you?
But I can hear some modern Nicodemus say, “How can these things be? How can I live such a life in my home where I receive no help or sympathy but rather ridicule, and where I have so long lived a defeated life? How can I live a consistent life in my social circle which is pervaded with worldliness and wickedness and where Christ is never mentioned or even thought of? How can I live a spiritual life in a place of business where all around me are living wholly in the flesh? How can I even live on the highest plane in my church when it is worldly and modernistic, and I am unfed and untaught?” Well, you cannot live this life, but Christ can. Christ in us can live this life anywhere and everywhere. He did live it on earth in a home where He was misunderstood and maligned; among people who ridiculed, scoffed, opposed and finally crucified Him. The whole point of this message tonight is to show that we do not have to live this life, but that Christ is willing and able to live it in us.
“Christ in you” was the passion of all Paul’s missionary service. Paul had but one aim and goal in every form of work done – that Christ might be formed in every convert. “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). Christ is the Christian’s center; Christ is the Christian’s circumference; Christ is all in between. As Paul put it, “Christ IS all, and IN all.” Christ is the Life of our life.
The spiritual history of every Christian could be written in two phrases, “Ye in me” and “I in you.” In God’s reckoning Christ and the Christian become one in such a way that Christ is both in the heavenlies and upon earth and the Christian is both on earth and in the heavenlies. Christ in the heavenlies is the invisible part of the Christian. The Christian on earth is the visible part of Christ. This is a staggering thought. Its plain import is that you and I are to bring Christ down from Heaven to earth that men may see who He is and what He can do in a human life. It is to have Christ’s life lived out in us in such fullness that seeing Him in us men are drawn to Him in faith and love.
Our identity now is defined by God in Christ. We have been made new.
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you,
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.
Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand;
I work, and who can turn it back?”
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Praise God for our redemption, our calling and that we are His. He has breathed into us a new thing, a new identity and made us a new creation. This is the magnificence of being in Christ. Nothing else can change our identity is such a glorious way. Nothing else compares to being in Christ.