A People Who Change - Transformation and Our Identity [Ryan Ashley, with Jen Hinshaw]
Matthew 3:13-17, Ephesians 1:3-11, Ephesians 4:1-5
One of the key tasks of our apprenticeship to Jesus is discovering our identity. The Bible says that those who are in Christ are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5v17). This means that as followers of Jesus, we have been given a new identity. No longer are we defined by what happened in our past, whether it was done to us or by us; instead, we are a people of the future.
1. Our performance: “I am what I do”
2. Possessions: “I am what I have”
3. Pleasure: “I am what I want”
4. Popularity: “I am what others think"
Everything true about Christ is true about you!
“When Paul speaks to us as being ‘in Christ’ the center of what he means is that the king represents his people, so that what happens to him happens to them, and what is true of him is true of them. Think of David fighting Goliath. David was representing Israel; he had already been anointed king, and it wasn’t long after his victory before people realized that he was the one that would lead Israel into God’s future. So with us: Jesus has won the decisive victory over the oldest and darkest enemy of all, and if we are ‘in him,’ ‘in the king,’ ‘in Christ,’ we shall discover step by step what that means.”
NT Wright – The Resurrection of the Son of God
“The central error is in failing to realize that the position believers are placed in before God determines who they really are. God’s word determines reality as much in the believer’s life as it did in the creation of the world. When God speaks, reality is created! So, if God says we are holy in Christ, we are holy in Christ! Hence, there is simply no basis for making distinction between what God says is positionally true about us and what is actually true about us.”
Greg Boyd - Seeing is Believing
Blessed with every spiritual blessing (v3)
Chosen before the creation of the world (v4)
Adopted as sons and daughters (v5)
Under God’s pleasure (v5)
In God’s will (v5)
To the praise of his glorious grace (v6)
Rich in God’s grace (V&0
Wise and understanding (v8)
Aware of the mystery of Christ (v9)
“Christians affirm a foundation of identity that is absolutely unique in the marketplace of spiritualties. Whether we realize it or not, our being is grounded in God’s love. Love is our identity and calling. Neither knowing God or knowing self can progress very far unless it begins with a knowledge of how deeply we are loved by God.
In order for our knowing of God’s love to be truly transformational, it must become the basis for our identity. Our identity is who we experience ourselves to be – the I each of us carries within. And identity grounded in God would mean that when we think of who we are, the first thing that would come to mind is our status as someone who is deeply loved by God.”