Subject: A look at the Believer's Identity.
Subject: Two questions that need to be asked when studying your new identity in Christ.
In order to understand our identity, I want to tell you about my recent promotion. I recently just received a promotion at my pest control job. I am still working the same career. I am still in pest control. But my new position has imposed two significant challenges. Firstly, I have had to completely shift my mindset. I have needed to completely shift my overarching perspective of pest control. While it is still the same business, I cannot view the job anymore as a tech. I have to change my thinking to that of a manager. BIG SHIFT!
Secondly, I have been challenged with new insight to the inner workings of the business. It is like the curtain has been rolled back, and I have been allowed to see what goes on behind the scenes. This insight, or revelation, would not have come without my new position. This promotion has granted me to see things that I would not have otherwise seen.
This little story about my new position is helpful for two reasons: 1) it demonstrates how my new position requires a change of mind, thinking, and overarching perspective shift. And 2) it illustrates how my understanding of the "inner workings" has been enlightened. You see, too often, we have made teachings about our new position in Christ – our identity – nothing more than positive, biblical confessions or declarations that point to who we are. (And I understand this because, after all, our identity is OUR IDENTITY, Right!?) it seems, though, that a Biblical teaching on identity should offer the same insight as my analogy. Our new position in Christ requires the same two challenges. It would be better, more theologically appropriate, if paused for long enough to ask the question, "what does this gift of identity say, first, about the Giver of the gift? And what responsibility, or demand, does our identity place on us?” In the same way I experienced those two changes, a Biblical understanding of our identity as anointed requires the same. When we seek to ascertain who we are in Christ and everything pertaining to our new spiritual position, we must ask “what does our identity say about God, and what does this new position require of me?” This will be the focus of our study, today.
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 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. For example, the Bible declares believers are children of God. This clearly describes God as Father. He is a generous, protective, and nurturing Father. That is what it reveals of God. Being designated Children of God, we can understand a particular expectation placed upon us by this inspired identity statement. It describes a heavenly expectation that we will submit ourselves daily to our Father. It communicates relationship, submission, and the expectation that we allow ourselves to be trained to maturity. What expectation does this communicate of us, is truly the second question that must be asked when looking at each of the Bible's identity statements.
Again, This statement puts a bow on it. "They [Biblical identity statements] describe, in part, the Old Testament Jewish roots of Christianity, the role of the Godhead within Christianity, the union of believers with God and Christ, the nature of Christian life and conduct, and the importance of the gospel" (Bakers Evangelical dictionary).
In short, our new identity in Christ communicates much more than just positive vibes about who we are. It is not just about us. The Biblical presentation of our of new identity in Christ demands more than just a goose-bump. It was intended that Believer's ask, "what does this identity-gift say about God, His interactions with mankind, and His will?" Truly, it offers specific revelations as to who God is, His actions to us, and what is expected of His people. A look at our "new DNA" demands a closer look at God, and it grants us the sweet joy of relationship with God.
Finally, Each of these, as mentioned earlier, speak first of the heart of God for His people. They are descriptions of the wondrous workings of God. And our new identity in Christ is meant to instruct us. Being giving "new DNA" through the work of Jesus Christ, we can understand that our identity places divine demands upon us. Who we have been made to be should guide and inform our everyday living.
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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.