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FIRST STEPS (2)
New Identity - Who You Are in Christ
An old down-and-out tramp was shuffling along a road one day. He was depressed and miserable. He had no purpose to his life, and his face showed it. He sat down in a gutter opposite an artist's studio, and the artist noticed him. The artist began to sketch the man's portrait. But instead of drawing his facial features with a look of hopelessness and despair, he drew him with a bright and positive countenance. He now appeared as one with purpose and destiny to his life.
He called the tramp over to where he was and showed him the portrait. "This is a picture of you!" he said. "Me? Is that me?" asked the tramp. "It's wonderful! If that is a picture of me", he vowed, "I am going to go out and become that man!
The most important question a Christian can ask is, "
Who am I
?" Now that you are a Christian you are no longer the person you used to be. A dramatic change has taken place in your life. You are a new creation.
Understanding your new identity is a major key to living a successful and victorious Christian life. Your brain will steer your life in the direction of the beliefs you have of yourself. For this reason it is important that the picture you have of yourself is the correct one.
The apostle Paul knew this. That's why, in many of the great epistles he wrote to the New Testament churches, he spent the first few chapters setting out the tremendous truths of their new identity as Christians. Then he exhorts them to let their lives collide with their identity.
One of the most exciting things Christians can do is to discover their new identity. That's what we are going to do in this study.
First, we are going to look at our old identity, and some of the things this was based upon. Then we will compare this with our new identity as children of God.
Our Old Identity
Before we were saved our identity was based on such things as:
- our works were the basis of our sense of self-worth. If we performed well we felt good about ourselves. Consequently, we became driven in our desire to succeed and to achieve.
- our identity messages came from being approved by the significant people in our lives. If we were affirmed by those important to us we had a healthy self-esteem, but rejection always left us with a poor self-image.
- since we are identified first by appearance we mistook our appearance as our real identity. If we looked good on the outside we felt good about ourselves. Thus, we focused on improving our appearance.
Where did you get your old identity messages from?
Our New Identity
The Bible teaches, that once we become a Christian, our identity is no longer based upon our achievement, our appearance or the approval or disapproval of others. We no longer need to look to these things to decide whether we feel good or bad about ourselves. In fact, our new identity has nothing to do with what we do.
The new identity of each Christian is one of the most prominent themes of the New Testament. It can be summed up in two words -
. Every Christian is a person who is in Christ. When we received Jesus Christ as Saviour we were baptized into Him. Spiritually, we are now in union with Him. This is our new position.
Our identity is no longer based upon our behaviour, our works, our successes, or our failures. In fact our status has nothing to do with what we do, or don't do. It hinges completely on what Christ has done. Jesus' perfect life, sacrifical death and triumphant resurrection are what the Father sees when He looks upon us. Since we are baptized into Christ, God always sees us in Him.
Read Romans 6:3&4
. When we were saved we were baptized into Christ. This is when we lost our old identity, because we died with Him and were buried with Him. This is also when we received our new identity. We have been raised to newness of life, which means we no longer live by our own merits or resources, but in the power of His life!
From the following Scriptures list the benefits which are ours as a result of being "in Christ":
2 Corinthians 5:17
2 Corinthians 5:21
New Status - New Thinking
It is important for us to grasp the significance of our new identity. Being in Christ means that God no longer deals with us on the basis of our merits, but according to the merits of Jesus. God always sees us in Christ, and that is how we must see ourselves.
When the Israelites were in Egypt they were a race of slaves. For over 400 years they were in.bondage to the Egyptians. Then, one day, God miraculously delivered them out of Egypt. They were free. They had a new status in life. They were no longer slaves. They were a free nation. God had destined them for great things. They were to be a light to the other nations. They were kings and priests unto God.
Yet, they held on to their old self-image. They still saw themselves as slaves. Their thinking never lined up with their new identity. They had a new status, but kept their old mentality.
Sadly, many Christians live like this. They have a new identity, but keep their old way of thinking about themselves. They still get their identity messages from things like achievements, approval and appearance. So, like Israel, they never enter into a life of victory.
You are a new creation. Begin to see yourself as God sees you -
Read Galatians 2:20 and write this verse in your own words:
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