Who Are You? Did the Census Reflect Your Change in Citizenship?
Who are you? I think one of the biggest problems that continues in the church today is that Christians fail to realize just what has happened for them, in them and potentially through them once they have surrendered their lives to Christ.
It’s true church leadership can partly be held to blame for church members not understanding the impact the gospel is meant to have in a believer’s life and faith experience, but that still leaves individual believers on the hook for not hungering for God’s word and searching Scripture for the truths God has called us out of the world to live by. For decades I have had discourse with “believers” who continue to be in the dark in their comprehension about what being “in Christ” is intended to mean for them.
Do you realize when you came to Christ that among many things you experienced a change of citizenship? Many Christians are not enjoying the freedom which is their inheritance in Christ because they don’t understand the dramatic changes which occurred in them the moment they trusted in Jesus.
The moment we trusted in Christ, we experienced a change in our identity. Our outward appearance didn’t change (though for some of us this might be an additional improvement), but we experienced a change in our standing before and orientation toward God. We have become a citizen of a new kingdom: God’s kingdom. With any change of citizenship, there are new ways of looking at ourselves and the kingdom to which we belong.
As followers of Christ there is an essential new set of truths to live by. While “experiential” truth (what we observe or have experienced) is of great value, a new orientation to truth called “positional” truth is greatly significant with respect to our spiritual well-being. Positional truth is how God sees us as revealed through his word, irrespective of how we may tend to see ourselves. Therefore, if “positional” truth is how God sees things, especially how he sees us, should we not also accept this as truth? Our faith, if we nourish it, will develop a strong reliance on the truth of God’s word and will help us replace doubt and lies with the truth from God so that we begin to live according to truth.
Let’s consider 1 Peter 2:24 which says “He (Jesus) himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” According to this verse, what has Jesus done with our sin? We’ve been released from the power and penalty of sin to live as God intended . . righteously. In Christ we now have the power to choose righteousness and live in righteousness and forsake sin. Sin is no longer our master.
Let’s look also at 2 Cor. 5:21 where Paul says “For our sake he (speaking of God the Father) made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.”
According to these passages, what has Christ given us???? Yes, His righteousness! But if I were to stand at a church pulpit and ask the church “If you believe you are righteous, raise your hand,” most Christians would be reluctant to do it.
Here is the truth: As a result of Jesus’ death on the cross, Jesus took on our unrighteousness and we took on His righteousness. Done!
Does this mean that we no longer sin . . . that we are perfect as Jesus is? No. But God has credited us with Jesus’ righteousness.
Why is it so difficult to think of ourselves as God sees us . . . as righteous? My list: Ignorance of scripture seems to rise to the top. It could sound prideful to some ears – even to Christians! Our flesh rejects this notion. We also struggle with our own sense of inadequacy. Failure to understand that we, as Christians, are forgiven though we still surrender to sin at times can keep us reconsidering our self-worth as well as our right standing in God’s sight. As we walk earth we will continue to be barraged with worldly temptations and philosophy. And we severely underestimate the power of God’s grace.
How would daily understanding and acknowledging the above truths affect your life? I encourage you to re-read the passages in 1 Peter and 2 Corinthians and let those truths sink deeply into your mind, heart and lifestyle as a citizen of heaven. If you haven’t taken hold of this truth before, then I sincerely urge you to start believing who God says you are. Think About It.