23 June 2008

Identity in Christ

Monday -- another day back at the Hyatt. Jannell (my fellow K-Stater/housekeeping partner) was sick again today, so I was flying it solo. 16 credits...15 rooms. I finished at 4pm (when I have to finish) with 1.5 rooms left, granted two rooms I was supposed to clean were already cleaned. I had 13 linen changes (full-service or check-out) and squeezed about a 20-min. lunch in there with Keiro. It was a happy day because we (finally) got keys to the linen closets, so when we run out of sheets and towels, we don't have to hunt someone down to let us in. Also, a sad day because I went back up to the 18th floor to get my cart and it had been raided over the weekend (as always). But...I made $22.02 in tips today (two rooms: $2 and $20..and I found two pennies on the floor) so after our theme rally tonight we went to Sonic, my treat. I got a strawberry smoothie. It was pretty much amazing.
Oh, and theme rally was amazing because Jerry Bridges was there and spoke about our position and identity in Christ. Here's what I learned:

Ephesians 1:1-8

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus,[a] the faithful[b] in Christ Jesus:2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he[c] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
Our position with Christ. How do we define position? You might think about a position a person has on a sports team or even a physical location, but when we talk about position, we mean our standing with God. One of the most important questions you can ask is this: What does God think of me? Ephesians 2:1-3 addresses our standing before having a relationship with Christ:
1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
When God sees us, he sees truth - as we actually are. It doesn't matter if we've spent our entire lives trying to fool everyone that we have it all together. It doesn't matter if we've done a great job at that and everyone actually thinks we have it all together. God knows us inside and out (Psalm 139).

Ephesians 1:4 says that God chose us. Point #1 - we are chosen.
In Paul's letters, he uses the phrases "in him" or "in Christ" or "with him" (which are all the same basically) a total of 164 times. These phrases refer to our union with Christ by faith. "In him" means that Christ stands in our place before God. Before (Ephesians 2:1-3), Adam was representing us. God made him the representative of all of mankind and he failed. As a result, we were born children of wrath (because we are descended from Adam).

I was chosen, that I should be holy and blameless before Him.
Holy: separate; set apart
Titus 2:13-14
13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Jesus redeemed us. Did you catch that? We stand before God as if we had never sinned (that's justification). When we are blameless, it's not talking about our character or our conduct. It's our position before God because of Christ.
Romans 4:8 says: "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him." Wow! How can this be? God is just and the penalty for sin is death -- but He has already charged our sins to Christ. Isaiah 53:6 says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." Just as our sins were placed on Christ, Christ's perfect obedience (33 years on earth being fully man and he never sinned) has been credited to us. To me. To you. (This whole concept is known as the Great Exchange.) 2 Corinthians 5:21: "God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

What does God think of me? God knows everything about me, and before Him I am

Identity. Who am I? There are two types of identities: functional (relating to what you do; i.e.: I am a student.) and relational (I am Geoff's sister).

Galatians 4:4-6:
4But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba,[a] Father."
(#1) God has adopted us as sons (or daughters -- it's not gender specific).
In Hebrew culture, a young man had three events that were extremely significant in his life: 1) circumcision; 2) Bar-Mitzvah (entering into puberty); and 3) "Huiothesia" or the young man's "adoption ceremony." "Huiothesia" means "Son Placement," and indicates the time when a male child reached what was considered to be the age of maturity (somewhere around 30). At this time, the father of the young man would place his hand on the head of his son and openly proclaim, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased! I bestow upon him now all of my riches and power and authority (through power of attorney) so that he might act on my behalf in all of my affairs." This cultural context would be familiar to the people at the time -- how amazing to read that God has adopted us as his sons.

In Christ, we have the status of a full-grown son with the intimacy of a small child. Saying "Abba" is something small children would say, similar to how they say "daddy" now. Our identity includes our sonship; we are children of God and we acquire related privileges and inheritance.

(#2) We are saints.
Ephesians 1:1 - 1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus,[a] the faithful[b] in Christ Jesus:
In Greek, the word for "saint" is the same as the word for "holy." Holy means "set apart." Paul could have written, "to those set apart by God to be God's special people in Ephesus..."

(#3) Servant of Jesus Christ.
See how Paul identifies himself in Eph. 1:1 - Paul, set apart, a servant and an apostle.
Jerry Bridges' business card reads-- Jerry Bridges: author, speaker, and Navigators Staff
He says he'd like it to say: Jerry Bridges: servant of Christ Jesus, called to be a Navigators representative.
What is on your business card? Maybe you don't know where God is calling you yet.
Alyssa Reeves, servant of Christ Jesus, called to be ________________. As a servant of God, we are to serve God in whatever way he choses.

----Quick Wrap-Up of Everything Jerry Bridges Talked About----
1. We have the status of adult, intimacy of a child
2. The gospel determines our identity
3. We were chosen before the creation of the world
4. God put our sin on Christ so we get righteousness
5. We have been set apart for God, not ourselves
6. We are Christ's possession
7. Our sin has been traded for Christ's righteousness
8. My servanthood is not designed to make me feel good, but when I live out my identity, I do will feel good
9. Holiness = set apart
10. I was bought with a price; I should give God his "money's worth"
11. Blameless does not describe our character, but it does hold implications for our life
12. Standing before God, we are perfect
13. Our lives are united with Christ
14. We have been adopted by God to inherit his kingdom
15. Christ has washed our sins and given us a new identity


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