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BIBLE STUDY - KNOWING WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST

 

 
 

 

You took on a new identity when you became a follower of Jesus, which in changed you’re standing before and orientation toward God.

Gal 2:20

When someone begins to live in a new country, his outward appearance, accent, and personality may change little, and he may continue many of the cultural practices of his country of origin. Greater change comes as he begins to practice the language and social patterns of his new country and as he learns new set of ideas and laws that affect every area of his life. Tension between this new life and the life he lived in his country of origin is unavoidable.

  • Do followers of Jesus face a similar tension? Why or why not?

  • If asked “who are you”, how would you answer, apart from your name? (what is your identity)

When we become followers of Jesus, we take on a new identity. God makes us citizens of His kingdom, but He also does far more than that. He adopts us, making us His children. As a result, we carry His name and are to reflect His character. Certainly there are times when we do not feel or act like God’s children. Nevertheless, regardless of our performance, we are now identified with Jesus Christ.

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Paul mentions two key truths in this passage

  1. Christ lives in believers (we have a new identity).

  2. Believers are to live by faith (we live out our new identity by faith)

 

  1. Your new identity

Many Christians are not enjoying the freedom which is their inheritance in Christ because they don’t understand the dramatic change which occurred in them the moment they trusted in Him - Neil Anderson
 

  • You have been declared not guilty and innocent of every charge

What did Paul mean when he said you have been “crucified with Christ”? In essence, that when Christ died, you died too. Obviously you did not die physically. Rather you died to God’s condemnation and the power of sin to rule in your life. You were crucified to these things, just as if you had physically hung on the cross with Christ. Positional, the things that Christ did or does are now also true to you because you are in Him

1Pe 2:24    He 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.

2Co 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Php 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

Php 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--

Imagine for a moment that, having committed several crimes, you are now in the courtroom awaiting the judge’s verdict. Although you are guilty of all the accusations and deserve to be punished, the judge declares you “not guilty”. E even goes further, declaring that you are innocent of every charge. This is what God has done fore us. Although we are guilty and deserve to pay the penalty for our sin, God (the judge) has declared us not guilty, and innocent of every charge. All this is possible because Jesus Himself pride the price we should have paid.

God’s word is clear that each Christian is a new person with righteous standing before God. Is it easy for you to believe this about yourself? Why or why not?

  • Sin no longer has power over you

Rom 6:11-13 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (13) Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

What does it mean that you are dead to sin? It does not mean that you will no longer be tempted or will no longer give in to sin. It means that you have a choice.

A pirate ship dominated by a ruthless captain was defeated in battle by British ship led by a good hearted commander. When the battle was over, the British commander dispatched a group of his trustworthy lieutenants to sail the pirate ship back to England. The pirate captain and his henchmen were locked in a cage on the deck of the pirate ship, and the remainder of the more agreeable pirates was enlisted British sailors. In transit, these former pirates grew accustomed to a new kind of leadership. They found themselves holding their heads high under the respectful treatment if their new officer.

At one point, however, the caged pirate captain began shouting curses at his former crew, trying to intimidate them into submission once again. At first, the former pirates were visibly shaken and a few of them even obeyed some of his orders. Eventually, however they regained there composure as they realised that their former captain had no true power over them. He could attempt to intimidate them, but he was no longer their true master.

As followers of Christ, we have a new captain who has our best interests in mind. He does not rule by intimidation, but by love, example and respect. He gives us an internal desire to follow Him.

As a result being dead to sin, believers should not let sin have free reign in their lives. What are some practical things you can do to focus on God and avoid sin.

  • You have hope

1Pe 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, (5) who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

  1. You live out your new identity by faith in Christ.

Your new identity is lived by faith, not by keeping the law. In other words, you rely upon the presence and power of Jesus in you rather than trying to live up to a long list of do’s and don’ts in your own strength.

Rom 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."

God accepts us unconditionally on the basis of Jesus’ death on the cross. Our natural human tendency is to think we must do something to earn God’s acceptance and then follow God’s laws well enough to keep His acceptance.

What are some things people do in attempt to earn God’s acceptance?

Gal 2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

According to the Bible, even if a person could keep all of the laws and commandments of Scripture, he still could not be justified (declared not guilty) before God. The Bible is clear; justification has nothing to do with external activity. We do not gain, nor maintain, a relationship with God by our performance.

In Rom 6:1-18, the Apostle Paul discussed the believer’s new position in Christ.

  • Reflect on the truths of you new identity (Rom 6:3,6,8,9)

    • You are crucified with Christ; previous ways do not control you.
    • You are united with Him in a new life; you are not alone in your growth.
    • You have power from Jesus to live the Christian life; you are not limted to your own finite recourse

These truths represent the new you

  • See yourself in light of your new identity (Rom 6:11)

Satan will try to convince you that you are an unworthy, unacceptable, sin-sick person who will never amount to anything in God’s eyes.Neil Anderson

Evaluate your thought patters, emotions, and actions in light of your new identity. For example, you may have thoughts and feelings which indicate that you are controlled by your past, that you will give in to the same sins again, and that you are on your own in your growth and development. As we have just read in Romans, the exact opposite of these thoughts are true. When you find yourself thinking, feeling, or acting according to your old identity, pause to re-orient your mindset

Why is it sometimes difficult to focus on the new you rather than the old you?

  • Yield to God’s leadership (Rom 6:12-13)

Many believers find a simple daily prayer helpful in offering themselves to God and resisting sin. You might want to pray something like this each day:

Father, I offer myself to you today. I yield to your leadership in my life. I give you my thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and actions. May I be a channel of your love and truth today? Amen

REVIEW:

If you choose to live as though Gal 2:20-21, and Rom 6:11 are true, how would you be living? How would these truths affect your attitudes, actions, and relationships? What difference would you see?

Take a moment and ask God to make these identity truths a greater reality in your thoughts, emotions, and actions.

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