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  Calvary's Light 

April 2014

Identity: Remember Who You Are in Christ

When asked “Who are you?” responses vary: “I’m Bob the barber.” “I’m Pat the policeperson.” “I’m Sue the surgeon.” “I’m Mary the mother.” Many people in our society find their identity in their possessions, their sports teams, or their jobs.

While possessions, jobs, and rooting for sports teams can be gifts God gives us to enjoy, understanding your identity in Christ as a Christian remains crucial for your ongoing spiritual development and maturity. Remembering who you are in Christ is important because when you know who you are, you will have a better idea of what you are supposed to do.

How do we find our identity? God desires to use His Word to shape our identities so decisively that He transforms us. The Bible tells us who we are and how we should live because of our identity.

As you read the Bible look for clues as to who you are. Note what God calls us to do based on who you are in Christ. Seek God’s help to put into practice who you are in Christ.
For example in Psalm 24 we learn we are the Lord’s possession.

"The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters” (Psalm 24:1-2 NIV).

Then in vv. 3-6 the psalmist tells us how the Lord wants us to live in light of the fact we belong to Him. “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. 5 They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek your face, God of Jacob” (Psalm 24:3-6 NIV).

The psalmist tells us that only the morally pure are qualified to worship God. Our actions, (cf. “hands”) thought life, and motives (cf. “heart”) must be pure and blameless. We must keep our trust in God rather than turning to the idols of this world to seek to meet our needs (cf. v. 4b).

The psalmist notes that the one who wholehearted trusts and seeks after God can expect to be rewarded by God. “They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior” (Ps 24:5 NIV).

Regardless of what you were in the past you are a new creation in Christ. Paul reminds the church of God in Corinth, with all the saints in the surrounding region: “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NET). What hope this brings!

A hope Jesse Ryan Loskarn needed to hear. Loskarn, former chief of staff to Tennessee’s Senator Lamar Alexander hung himself on January 23rd in his parents’ home in Carroll County Maryland as he awaited trial for possessing and distributing child pornography. In a suicide note he left he states “The news coverage of my spectacular fall makes it impossible for me to crawl in a hole and disappear. I’ve hurt every single human being I’ve ever known and the details of my shame are preserved on the internet for all time. There is no escape.”

Contrast Loskarn’s statement of despair with the hope and new identity the apostle Paul reminds the Corinthian believers have in Christ. After rebuking those in the church who were cheating and doing wrong to their brothers and sisters in Christ, Paul states: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:9-11 NIV).

“Remember who you are in Christ,” Paul tells us. “You have been set apart in Christ Jesus. God calls you saints” (cf. 1 Cor 1:2). “While formerly you were guilty of all sorts of sins, this is not who you are now in Christ Jesus. You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (cf. 1 Cor 6:9-11).

Peter emphasizes this truth as well. After reminding us of the very great and precious promises God has given us so he urges us to pursue the Christ-like qualities of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and unselfish love in our faith (cf. 2 Peter 1:3-8). Then Peter warns: If we lack these qualities we are nearsighted and blind, forgetting we have been cleansed from our past sins (cf. 2 Peter 1:9).

Who are you? You belong to Christ. You are a new creation in Christ. God’s Spirit has washed, sanctified, and justified you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s remember who we are. Then by God’s grace let’s allow His Spirit to live Christ’s life out through us.

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Calvary Bible Church, 603 Wilson Ave, Hanover, PA 17331
Phone: (717) 632-3954