I am who “who” says I am? Granted, we enthusiastically sing the lyrics “I am who You say I am,” but who is the “who” you really default to when you don’t act or feel like God’s child . . . when the enemy and the power of sin and memories of past failures rail against your faith and your identity in Christ?
The moment you chose to follow Christ, you experienced a change in your identity. Did you “feel” anything? Did the mountains move? No matter. It is no less real because of that. Your outward appearance did not change, but you experienced a change in your standing before God and your orientation towards God. That is what 2 Corinthians 5:17 means by saying “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away (no longer exists); the new has come.” You could even say we have a change of citizenship and are subject to a new rule, a new governing authority.
Many Christians, possibly you as well, are not enjoying the freedom which is their inheritance in Christ because they don’t understand (or believe) the dramatic changes which occurred in them the moment they trusted in Him. In Galatians 2:20 the apostle Paul wrote “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” There are three key truths in this passage: (1) Christ lives in believers (through the Holy Spirit) (2) Believers are to live by faith (3) Believers are loved by God. This scripture gives us a peek at what “positional” truth is about. Though we did not experience physical death at the time we chose to live for Christ, our old (spiritual) self was at that moment put to death just as Christ was physically. That’s how God sees it.
While we are not perfect as Jesus was and our sins, failures and shortcomings are keenly evident to us, they are not God’s focus nor does He allow the challenges or setbacks in our spiritual progress to offset his regard and gracious favor toward us. We allow ourselves to be side-tracked and knocked off our spiritual moorings by revisiting the history of our experiences in living out our relationship with God while failing to be grounded by how God actually sees us . . . . what we call “positional” truth. “Positional”because we are expected to begin to see ourselves from the same “position” or perspective God sees us. “Truth” because, well, who really wants to argue about how God sees things?
Consider this passage as it illustrates what Christ has given us: “For our sake He (God) made Him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.” ((2 Cor. 5:21)
Before the cross or absent of the cross, we were unrighteous and sinful. As a result of Christ’s death on the cross, He took on our unrighteousness and sinfulness and we took on His righteousness and sinlessness. When we believe in Christ, we are changed. Jesus takes our sin upon Himself, and we are credited with His righteousness . . . by faith, not due to our performance. In the same way, we must choose, by faith, to see ourselves as God has made us, a new people with right standing before Him. So, where do we get it wrong? Let’s hammer this down tightly. God accepts us unconditionally on the basis of Christ’s death on the cross. Our natural human tendency, however, is to think we must do something to earn God’s acceptance and then follow God’s laws well enough tokeep His acceptance after we have received (not earned) it. What is it about us that we believe we have to earn and maintain God’s acceptance? Scripture screams just the opposite!
Let me close by emphasizing 4 truths about our identity in Christ.
- We have been crucified with Christ. Previous ways do not have to control us.
- We are dead to sin. We do not have to give into it. We have the power to choose rightly.
- We are united with Christ in a new, adventurous life; we are not alone in our growth.
- We have the power from Christ to live the Christian life. We are not limited to our own finite resources.
Friends, these truths are reality, whether we “feel” they are or not. Regardless of how you “feel,” will you choose to make the decision to believe and act upon what God’s word says about you? God is not finished with us as long as we draw breath on earth. We are in process. But while still in process and not perfect, God is satisfied to see you and I as righteous and holy. Can you now sing “I am who You say I am?” Think About It.