Our Identity in Christ: Growing pt 2 (5/12/21)
Our Identity in Christ: Growing pt. 2
Our identity in Christ is a vital part of our ongoing growth in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the slow and steady process of becoming "practically" who I already am "positionally" through the redeeming work of Christ in my life.
- I have been crucified with Christ, yet I am learning to live in Christ (Galatians 2:20)
- I have died to Sin's ruling power, yet I am learning to walk in the newness of Christ's Life (Romans 6.1-13)
- I am a new creation: the old has passed away yet I am learning to embrace the new that has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Present Reality: Who I am in Christ is meant to shape and define every part of my life. Yet this reality is one that I struggle most to comprehend and live in light of each day. An increasing daily awareness of who I am in Christ is part of the ongoing process of our sanctification where we are being transformed to bear the likeness of the one who has redeemed us from sin.
Present struggle: To further compound this struggle we face a continuing battle with the remnants of indwelling sin that continue to exert a powerful influence in my life. Though Sin no longer has ruling authority over my life, its continuing presence often brings inner conflict between the pull of former desires and the longing to glorify God with my life in every part.
- Living Between: We learn very quickly that it is not easy to live between the truth of Romans 6 (Dead to sin and raised to life) and the hope of Romans 8 (Fullness of our redemption is certain). We are living between the Already and Not Yet. Who I Am and Who I will be.
- Two compatible truths: I have been renewed in Christ so that the indwelling power of the Spirit is enabling us to live in such a way that we glorify God in everything. It is also true that until the redemption of all creation we continue living in a fallen world where sin exerts a powerful influence on our fallen bodies. We are set free from sins ruling power, but we must go in resisting its continuing influence.
- Firm Grasp in our experience: We firmly find ourselves entrenched in the reality of Romans 7 that the law of sin is operational within our lives and is fighting to stifle our growth and godliness. Sin is inescapable in our own strength and by our own efforts. There is only one hope of deliverance - the Redeeming grace of Jesus.
Read Text: Romans 7:13-25
Inward Curve of Sin tempts me to continually look to myself for identity.
Where the battle wages: "[The] conflict in the believer's life between the inner self and the outer self, this warfare between the spirit and the flesh, is most evident in the territory of our physical and psychological needs and the course we take to fulfill them. These needs are legitimate and God-implanted, and it is his intention to satisfy them and thus draw us to himself. We are inherently motivated to have our needs met, but it is extremely easy for us to be deceived into the [secular] thinking that they can be met in some place other than the hand of God. (Three main categories 1. Love and acceptance; 2: Significance and identity; 3: Competence and Fulfillment)1 (read from an extended portion of Boa's description of these categories.)
- Inward conflict that keeps us from doing what we would (Rom. 7:15)
- Inward struggle to do what I know I should (Rom. 7:18-19)
- Inward rival that attempts to hinder what is good. (Romans 7:21-22)
Sanctifying Grace enables me to look to Jesus for identity.
- Fighting to Glorify God with my life.
- Trusting in the Sufficiency of Christ to deliver me (There is only one hope for deliverance)
- Embracing the Spirit's help to strengthen me (Fights for us, empowers us to resist temptation. Leads us to faithful obedience.)
Application: The believer must continue to fight against the remaining presence of sin in their life by continually looking to Jesus and trusting in His gracious provision to empower them to resist. (included in presentation slides)
- Grace: "Without Christ, we were out of harmony with God; life was all about self, and we were driven to use people, things, and circumstances to meet our needs. In Christ, we are in harmony with God; for us as believers, life should be all about the One who has already fully met our needs." 2
- Growth: "Until the redemption of our bodies "we have been called to the task of allowing God to gradually conform our outer selves to the righteousness and holiness that was created in our inner selves at the moment of salvation. We cannot consistently behave in ways that are different from what we believe about ourselves". 3
- Frustration: "no person, possession, or position can take the place of what God alone can do...For they cannot fully satisfy." 4
1 Kenneth Boa, Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation, 107. *Boa provides a good explanation of these three categories.
2 ibid. 111.
3 ibid 107
4 ibid 107