Subject: A look at our new identity as Beloved.
Subject: We will looker closer at this Identity statement and discover what it says about God, and what it requires of us.
This is going to be exciting! Today, we will be discussing our identity as the Beloved of God. I am excited about this because an appropriate teaching on our identity as Beloved requires a discussion on what I believe is one of the Bible's deepest topics. A topic that gives life, changes lives, and sustains the soul through life's most difficult times.
But before we dive in, I want to disclose the purpose of today's Message. I believe that God has a word for us. I believe God has given me a Word that is intended to be more than positive affirmations and personal declarations. I believe that God desires to lead us into deeper experiences. I pray that this is more than just another identity lesson. Something more than just information that creates positive feelings. This teaching, I believe, can truly baptize the heart into the rich joy of God's goodness.
That being said, let me begin with a recap on what we have already learned about a Biblical understanding of our identity in Christ. In the Bible, the Believer's new identity is presented to reveal much more than something about us. It is divinely inspired to communicate more than just personal professions of WHO WE ARE. It highlights a deeper truth. The Bible presents our new identity in such a way as to demonstrate something specific about God – the Giver of identity. Also, each identity statement reveals a specific expectation for God's people. This is what Douglas Buckwalter says:
"These names are rich in theological detail. The giving of personal names in biblical times often signified a religious conviction about their recipients or something that would be done through these people. The giving of Christian names, likewise, expresses something about the religious status and character of the person and group named and something about what God has done, is doing, and will do in and through them. These names, in effect, provide us with a first-century compendium of Christian belief."
It should become more and more evident to us that the Bible, first and foremost, points us to God. It reveals His actions, His desires, and His covenant faithfulness to His people. The same thing is revealed through the Believer's identity. We must first ask, "what does this say about God?"
Secondly, we must ask the question, "What does this require of us?" These biblical designations also highlight Heaven's expectation for God's people. Each name, statement, and designation shows something different. Each one is unique. There are around 175 different identity statements in the New Testament alone (Douglas Buckwalter). Each one of these communicates a specific revelation about God and about what is expected of God's people. Of Beloved, we must ask the same thing. What expectation does this communicate of us?
This being said, let us address the answer to our first question...
Now that you know you are Beloved of God. Now that you have had a brief glimpse into the depths of God's love. Now let us look at heaven's expectation of us! This particular designation infers that we "be loved." Being the Beloved of the Lord, we are to celebrate and rest in that love. Having drunk deep of the waters of God's love, we now get to treasure it. We are to allow that constant stream to regularly flow over us.
This is one of my favorite passages. Eph. 3:17-19 says, "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith— that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Wow! Speaking to a people that already have the Spirit of Christ dwelling richly in their hearts, this Sacred Text tells us to root ourselves in love. We are to rest upon the foundation of God's love. This is a place where we can send out our roots into the nutrient-rich soil of God's boundless loving-kindness. I submit that our first response to the love of God is that of rest and celebration. Being Beloved, we are to treasure, cherish, and rest in that precious reality.
Married with two boys, Dusty is dedicated to his family, the Church were he pastors, and the life-long pursuit of knowing God more fully. There is nothing Dusty loves more than serving God by helping others understand the treasures of Scripture.