What do you see when you look in the mirror? How do you perceive yourself? Someone has said, “Perceptions are reality.” Someone else said, “Whatever you think you are—you are!”
Here is a bold statement: If you see yourself as a sinner, saved by grace, you will sin and your Christian life will be mediocre at best. You will be riddled with guilt and open to Satan’s attack along that line. In other words, what we believe about ourselves determines our behaviour. One of Satan’s most successful schemes is that of keeping Christians ignorant of their true identity in Christ.
Since that is true, it is critical for us to understand our position in Christ and intentionally purpose to live according to our identity in Him. For that to happen there are four significant things to understand and believe.
Our New Position
Picture two fields beside each other with a fence running between them. We were all born into the one field. Some of the biblical phrases describing our position there are: in Adam, under law, in the kingdom of Satan, enemies of God, in darkness, separated from God, spiritually dead in our sins, and condemned.
But in grace and mercy God transfers all whose faith is in Jesus Christ from that field into the field on the other side of the fence. Our position changes from being: in Adam to in Christ, under law to under grace, in the kingdom of Satan to in the kingdom of God, enemies of God to reconciled to Him, in darkness to in the light, separated from God to united to Him, spiritually dead in our sins to being alive unto God, condemned to acquitted, and destined for hell to having our citizenship in heaven and being heaven-bound.
Our New Identity
Along with a change of position our identity changes. Our identity changes from being: a sinner to a saint, slaves to sin to free from sin, not in God’s family to a child of God and an heir, an enemy of God to a friend of God, an old creation to a new creation, cursed to blessed, broken to whole, rejected to accepted, and insignificant to significant. This new identity comes not from what we have done, or what people say about us, but from what God has done for us and what God says about us.
Our New Union
The new position and the new identity are because we are brought into union and communion with Jesus in such a way that what is true of Him becomes true of us. His resources become ours.
And it is even more than that. It is a double union. The life of Christ is now in us by His Holy Spirit so that the life we live is to be Christ living through us. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Our Old Ways
Even though we have a new position and identity sin still lurks in these bodies. We have patterns of thinking and behaving consistent with our old position and identity that were not eradicated when we were saved. That’s why we end up doing things we shouldn’t and not doing things we should.
Once we understand these things, here’s how to be purposeful about our new identity in Christ.
Appropriate and apply these truths to ourselves. “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11 NIV). Mentally shift how we perceive ourselves.
Head—Change our thinking about things by washing and renewing our mind with the truth of God’s Word.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Heart—To tap into the resources of Christ in us continually surrender to, and be under the influence of, the Holy Spirit.
“…Be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
Hands—Put off and put on. As our thinking is being renewed, we are to kill off the habits remaining from when we lived in darkness. “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires” (Colossians 3:5). Starve old sinful habits and feed new godly habits.
What we believe about ourselves determines our behaviour. That is why we must purpose to live according to our position and identity in Christ.