One of the great joys…
…of my life is to lead people into a personal relationship with Christ. Closely bound with that is then helping these young Christ-followers understand and appropriate their new identities in Christ. Who they are and what they’ve become. This knowledge serves as a solid foundation and life-giving resource for all their future growth, both as followers of Christ and as friends, parents, employees, citizens—whatever role they find themselves in as they journey through the seasons of life. It helps them weather the storms too: the betrayal of friends, misunderstanding of colleagues, challenges to their value systems. Their own, all-too-human failures.
The first place I take these believers is where I’d like to take you today: the book of Ephesians, chapter 2.
If you are a follower of Christ…
Ephesians 2:1-3 tells you what you were*:
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
Then, verses 4-10 tell you what you have become:
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
What you were*:
- Living like everyone else
- In sin
- Obeying the devil
- Following your sinful nature
- Subject to God’s wrath
What you have become:
- Raised from the dead
- Seated with Christ in heavenly realms
- United with Christ
- Examples of his incredible wealth of grace and kindness
- Saved by grace
- God’s masterpiece
- Created anew
- Planned (long ago) for good works
Isn’t that cool?
Of course, that’s just the start. There’s even more where that came from!
* (and are not any longer)
Think about it…
How do you answer the question of identity? Who are you, really?