Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ P47 (06-28-22)
Realize You Are Reconciled and Forgiven By God – Rest in It – Tell God, Thank You!
So many times we fail to understand everything we have been given in Christ Jesus. So many Christians are still babies in Christ Jesus. Even though they may have been a Christian for years, they still have not grown to maturity. Hebrews 6:1 tells us to go on to maturity.
1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,
Just as a person’s physical growth is based on proper diet and exercise, so is the Christians’s spiritual growth dependent on regular feeding upon the word of God and application of its principles. With more false teaching, shifting opinions and general confusion in the world than ever before, Christians need a solid foundation upon which to base their beliefs and build their lives. The word of God declares that Jesus Christ is that foundation of truth. With that in mind, let’s now take A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ.
Last week, I had the opportunity while I was out of town to speak to just a small group of people. We have some dear friends over the Nashville area that had asked us to come over and to just visit with them and some neighbors and friends that they invited into their home in order to share some things with them. And these were people of all backgrounds, some who are lost, to some who came out of denominations where probably the gospel was never heard and just an opportunity to share the fullness of the gospel with these people and and to share, people with people as to what it means to be in Christ, not just what it means to merely be forgiven as great as that is. And I don’t want to ever minimize that or to minimize the cross in any way, shape or form. But the problem of it is, is we end at the cross instead of realizing, no, that is the step, we approach the cross and there we find forgiveness of sins. Then we need to go through the cross to the empty tomb. And there we find that Jesus is not there. And the reason that He isn’t there is because He was raised from the dead. And as Paul said, if Christ be not raised from the dead, our faith is futile and we are to be pitied of all people and he did not say if it weren’t for the cross, although, that is a true statement but it’s without the resurrection. Because the cross without the resurrection literally loses its meaning because without the resurrection, it would have been a martyr’s death, because we would not have known truly who that was that on the cross on our behalf, and it would have merely ended up being a glorified person so to speak, just a little bit higher than the blood of a bull and goat that atoned for sin. But the outcome would have been the same. In other words, I went to him just to get forgiven. Well, in the day of atonement, you could go get forgiven but you couldn’t get life. And so the resurrection is absolutely paramount to the Christian life, because without His resurrection we would have no resurrected life living in us today as true Born Again Christians.
So what we have done is we’ve pointed toward the cross, which we have to, but you point to the cross, in order to go to it and then through it so that we can go to that empty tomb and see Jesus is not there. And you say, where is He? And Paul said He’s living in you, which is your only hope of glory in it. And that, of course, is true only to those who have accepted God’s provision for us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. That is not true of people who are still trying to earn salvation and acceptance and unconditional love by their own merits, because no one will ever come to Christ through their own merits. And if salvation could be gained, and righteousness could be gained through obedience to the law as Paul said, then Christ died for nothing. So for us to now understand that if I truly have come to Christ by faith and am a born again Christian, that I have now entered into an entirely new realm of Life altogether. I am now consumed in what is called the New Covenant, and in that New Covenant, I am totally forgiven, so I don’t get forgiven anymore, anymore than I get redeemed anymore. I am totally righteous in the sight of God, right standing in the sight of God, and I don’t get more righteous. I’ve already been made that way by the one who made me. It is a gift of God.
I no longer get reconciled. I’ve already been reconciled. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself not counting their sins against them, so I don’t get that anymore. I live in His reconciliation. I no longer get sanctified. I can’t make myself more sanctified. I’ve already been set apart from the world by becoming a part and identified with the Lord Jesus Christ and the New Covenant that He brought for me, so I don’t get more. I’ve already got all I’m going to get. I don’t get justified, I’ve already been justified at the very moment that I stepped into Christ Jesus into the New Covenant, I’ve been justified by His life. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not counting their sins against them. While we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God, through the death of His Son. How much more having been reconciled shall we be saved through His life. So I’m justified through the Life of Christ. I don’t get justified. I am justified, that’s a part of my inheritance now, as a son. He made me into a part of his body. Even though the body is one, as Paul explains, it’s made up of many parts and we are one body. We’re not a divided body from God’s vantage point. Where one body, He is the head we are the parts. I may be a little finger or a fingernail, it’s irrelevant. Whatever God wanted me to be, be. That’s the issue. It’s not that I’m something in comparison to another part of the body that is ludicrous. That’s comparing yourself by yourself. Which Paul says, it’s a fool. And so, we are part of the body, I don’t get to be everyday, I don’t get to be more of a part of the body. I am a part of the body. It’s by inheritance.
We’re going to study, we’re a citizen of heaven. I don’t get to be a citizen of heaven. I’m already a citizen of heaven. And it says, as far as God is concerned, I’m already seated in the heavenlies, with Christ Jesus. Now, it’s strange that Christ wants to sit next to me, but some people down here don’t. And I said that about, and again, we kind of accept that as normal, but the Bible says that is not normal. That is not what I’ve called you to. It is not normal as a child of God to believe that way. And if you’re believing that way, you’re not normal, you’re not a normal Christian, you’re a normal lost person, because that’s the way lost people think. But that is not normal for a Christian now. So, and it’s the same thing, I don’t get loved by God, I live now in His love, the very moment, again, I stepped into Christ and His new covenant. I am loved and nothing can separate me from the love of God, because nothing can separate me from God, and God is love, so they can’t be separated from God. I can’t be separated from his love. And so when we realize that that’s all a part of this marvelous inheritance that we have in Christ Jesus and every single bit of that was brought about by Him and there wasn’t an ounce of it that was brought about by me. And so that is what grace is.
Now did we deserve this, all of this inheritance? No, no more than a person goes into an adoption center and they see this baby and say, I want that baby. Does that baby deserve to be adopted? No. Is it worthy to be adopted? No, it’s probably making a mess. All over the place. Is his behavior so good that he deserves it? No. Somebody says, I want that baby. Now, in order to get that baby, so that baby can become my son or my daughter, there’s a price to be paid. People, and that’s what redemption is all about. God came into this massive orphanage called the world and said I’m going to call those people out of that orphanage into my world. And there’s going to have to be a price to pay and the price that was paid was His very own life on the cross so that He could give me life and make me a son of the Living God. Someone once I think wisely said, “oh to abide with the saints above, that will be glory, but to reside with the saints below, well, that’s another story.” And you know, that is true.
What we were talking about here as, as people who have been redeemed by God himself, who is totally perfect. Totally sinless,, totally everything that is pure and lovely, and good. And yet he chose to reach down to us, who are not those things. And to make us His son, adopt us into his kingdom of His Son. And like I said, literally to seat us spiritually in the heavenlies with Him in Christ Jesus, so that it says, we are seated with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. And here is God, who says, I want you to sit beside me. And yet down here on this earth, we have people who call themselves Christians, who would not only not be by you, but will pay to destroy you and absolutely, I don’t want to sit beside that person at all. I want nothing to do with them. They sin. And you see, as we’re going to open up in a moment, that’s the story and that’s the mindset of the prodigal son, and his brother, which are two mindsets that are exemplified there.
Now as we begin our study in chapter 7 last week, we talked about Colossians 1:13 and 14 for He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness, that rescued us and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves in whom what do we have? Redemption. What else do we have? Forgiveness of sins. So folks, it’s as we were talking about, I don’t get forgiven anymore anymore than I get redeemed anymore. I am redeemed and I am forgiven. As a part of now, resting in the Sabbath rest, which is resting in the New Covenant that God has placed us in now. And we don’t want to rest, we want to look at the Sabbath as a day of the week instead of a continual ongoing state that we are in and we want to continually do something to keep ourselves forgiven, which is as ridiculous as doing something to keep ourselves redeemed, or keeping ourselves justified, or keeping ourselves glorified, or keeping ourselves saved, all of those things are ridiculous. I can’t keep myself forgiven. I am a forgiven person and I can’t keep myself redeemed, I am a redeemed person. So if I am a redeemed person, a forgiven person, an adopted person, one who is now a child and it’s very interesting because under Israelite law, that many people don’t realize you could literally under Israelite law disown your natural child. But by law, you could never disown an adopted child. Now you say why is that? Well it kept people from going out and adopting someone and then deciding I don’t like them and throwing them back to the orphanage. And so, in order to keep that type of thing from occurring and also it’s one of those things you better really want this kid because you got him forever. The laws of adoption is what that meant. So when it talks about in the scripture of being adopted, it had some meaning to it, it means eternally.
So it says when the time had fully come, Galatians 4:4 through 5. When the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman born under the law to redeem those, that’s the redemption under the law. In other words, buy us back, so that we might receive the adoption or the full rights as sons. So, in other words, when we were redeemed, we were redeemed so that we as Gentiles or Israelites either one might receive this full rights of sons that comes as a result of being adopted as a son. So this adoption is pretty important.
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Now, I’m going to read to you a passage. It’s not in our study so but you might want to turn to me. If you are listening, turn to your Bible in the book of Ephesians and in chapter 1. You’re going to see Paul starts this this book of Ephesians and this unlike Paul’s other letters, the book of Ephesians does not address any particular error or heresy, he wrote this to help his readers to better understand the dimensions of God’s eternal purpose for them, and the grace of God that comes to them. And to come to appreciate the high goals that God has for His people. And one of the major themes of this book is that of unity. And that, all Christians are one family in Jesus and as a result of being a part of the family that we should act with love toward each other. Now, when you see a family, when you think of a family growing up from birth on, let’s say you had twins or let’s say, you had two kids close to each other. Why my daughter has two boys, getting ready for that third. Okay, now what do you see when they’re little kids doing with each other? Sharing their food, sharing their toys, loving each other, never being selfish with each other, never tattling on one another and never ever attempting to get the other one in trouble, never even thinking of that. Are any of those things true? Why, of course not. You see little kids competing with each other. You see, I’m tattling on each other, you see which is nothing but rumor rising. You see them back biting each other, you see them struggling over the toys with one another.
You know, there is a story that is known in Russia but it’s not known in this country. But Lennon in the early days of the formation of Communism was reported to have gone into a nursery and they’re watching kids behavior of taking the toys away from each other and feuding and fighting and fussing with each other. And he looked at his traveling companion and said, I don’t think this is ever going to work. In other words, a communistic viewpoint where everybody shares alike is never going to work when he observed the human nature of a child himself. So when we as Christians are out back biting each other, not forgiving each other, trying to destroy one another, don’t want to sit with somebody, we don’t want to do this with this person. What are we? Well, we’re acting like a bunch of babies. And that is the state, unfortunately our Christian world today as a whole, we’re a bunch of babies, we have never grown up. We’re still in this baby boomer stage where we’ve been born into an age where we think the world owes us the living where we think we’ve got rights, where everybody is a victim. That’s baby stuff. That’s baby thinking.
I was talking to a dear friend of mine yesterday, that there was a pastor and he was talking about how another pastor had studied some church growth principles in this type of deal. And it was talking about the what at appraisal of the baby boomer age that we’re that that we live in today and many of the people who are political positions today their out of that stage and how they’re they’re like, you said they’re babies, we’re spoiled brats and it gives him some characteristics and then said we adjust the church to meet these needs. And like my friend said, bologna, we need to tell those people to grow up and quit acting like babies. Now that’s what Paul did in Corinthians. He said I can’t address you as a man. I got to address you as a baby. You’re acting like a little baby. I got to go back and give you milk again, because you’re not ready for meat, you’re still a little child and he went. Why do you say that? Isn’t it true that you’re still bickering with each other? Playing one person against another. I follow Paul. I follow Apollos. I follow Peter that you’re still feuding, fighting and fussing with each other. There is no unity of purpose among you. That’s what babies do, baby. The young babies. Those two little boys of Debbie, they’re not sitting there thinking how to unify the household. They’re thinking about how to get your own way. That’s baby stuff. Is that expected of a baby? Yes, but I want to tell you something. Do you expect your baby to grow up? You better believe it. And your whole training is to get them grown up. Your goal is not to keep them a baby. your baby. Your goal is to have them grow up to mature and to become men. Now that’s what that is. What is going to have to occur after that’s the by-product of understanding who we are in Christ. And so Paul’s writing here was to get the Christians together and teach them how to act with love toward one another and he writes about the church, not a church building but the church that is made up of Christians through all of the ages.
So he addresses his letter, grace and peace to you from God, our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. And again, I just stop for a moment. You will see Paul very uncharacteristically using a term grace and peace to you in every one of his letters, Grace and peace, grace and peace. Whereby the typical salutation of an Israelite was shalom. Peace. Peace be unto you. Why did Paul never say shalom? He only said grace and peace because there is no peace apart from the grace of God. You got Israel over there, signing packs all over the place too. To get peace, don’t know, they’ll never be peace in Israel anymore than they’ll be any place else, until they accept the grace of God, that was given to them in and through Christ Jesus as their Lord, and my Lord. Never will there be peace.
And so he says, praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us and the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In other words, what is His goal for you and me? To make us holy and blameless in His sight. Could we do that ourselves? No. So He did it for us. That was a part of His choice in love. He predestined us to be what? Adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with His pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace. Which He has freely given us in the one that He loves. Again, I believe that the emphasis there is to the Gentile and to the Israelite, but just as the Israelite was predestined to hear the gospel, so was the Gentile predestined to hear the gospel. And just as the Israelite was to be a natural son, the Gentile was predestined to be an adopted son, so that each and every one of us would receive full rights as we talked about in the Galatatians passage, full rights as sons of the Living God.
We’re going to continue on in Ephesians chapter 1 and we’re going to pick up in verse 7. In Him, that’s in Christ, now we have redemption, so we don’t get it. We have it. Now in order to have it, we have to get it but the way we got it was when we got Jesus. When Christ came to live within us, He had already accomplished that for us. So we are a redeemed person. In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. In accordance with the riches of our confession, is that what it says? No. It says in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished upon us with all wisdom and understanding.
My friends, you do not have forgiveness because of your confession. You do not have forgiveness because you go to confession booth. You do not have forgiveness because you 1st John 1:9, you do not have forgiveness because you go to a day of atonement. And you don’t have forgiveness because you just hope God forgives you. You have forgiveness, if you are in Him. When you step out of Adam and into Christ by faith, and Christ steps out of heaven into you, you are born again under the New Covenant and in that New Covenant, you have redemption and you have forgiveness of sins. Contrary to what is taught in most Christian teaching today, where we are asking and begging God to do what he’s already done. Instead of rejoicing in what He has already done, we are trying to get something and we construe that, as faith. Folks, faith is not asking God to give you what you don’t have. If I have been given everything that I need for life and godliness. If that has already been given to me, then how can faith be getting something that I don’t have? That is supposition but it’s not faith. Faith is resting in what you already have. Faith is rejoicing, enabling you to experience love and joy and peace in the fact that I’ve already received the peace of God that passes all understanding. Now access it. I’ve already got it. Now we keep thinking faith is I need a Cadillac, so I’ll ask God for a Cadillac and I’ll get it. We say praise God by faith, I got that. No it didn’t. Satan can give you a Cadillac. Has nothing to do with God at all. What we rejoice in and what true faith is is in what we have today, right now, as our inheritance and is if indeed what I have right now is my inheritance is everything that God thought that I needed that I’ve been given everything that I need for life and godliness, then how could faith be asking for more, asking for something else? That’s not faith. That is living as a baby, not realizing you have everything that you need, but being too dumb to realize it. And so we’re asking for more. As if we knew what we needed, God knew what I needed. I never have known what I needed. What I think I need is contrary to God most the time, God knows what I need. So what did he do? He gave me everything that I need now. What’s faith? Rejoicing in that, accessing it. Do I have forgiveness? Yes. Well, what, how am I gonna live? Enjoy, access it. rejoice in it, realize it, trust it, rejoice in it. That’s what faith is all about. I am a forgiven person. Do I deserve that? No. Am I worthy of that? Well, of course not. That’s why I can rejoice by faith in the fact that in the midst of my not deserving it, earning it, that God gave it to me. Now, when I realized that I’m not asking him for anything else.
And folks, that’s why when you come to understand the grace of God, your prayer life, probably as you’ve known it, will be annihilated. Because most of the time we equate prayer with something. Well, that’s, when I’m asking God to get what I don’t have, and that’s how we spend our life asking God, and then I think then that old person over there got something that they asked for. But I’ve never got what I asked for. So I guess I must have unconfessed sin in my life or some idiotic thing that we come up with. But why did they get it? And I did get it? See, you’re asking for the wrong motives that I have I already have. What did Paul pray for? Lord, I pray that I’ll have more boldness to proclaim. Did he already have the boldness in him? I’m sure, what was he praying for? That I’ll access that. He wouldn’t say, I want you to give me something new. He is already bold as brass. He just, he just wanted that to be accessed.
Thank you so much for tuning in to Classic Christianity, with Bob George. We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s program. We truly hope that today’s message has inspired you to walk a life of faith in the Lord, find more information online at shop.BobGeorge.net. There you’ll also find available CDs, DVDs, and bible studies available for purchase. It’s through your help that we are able to spread the good word of Jesus Christ. Until next time, walk in faith, be good to one another and praise the Lord. Amen.
Stand on the firmness of truth. Don’t keep going back and forth. Thank Him that the forgiveness issue is settled.
Let’s pray together:
- Lord Jesus,
- I thank you for taking away my sins on the cross,
- never ever to see them again.
- Having done that, I now thank you for giving me eternal life,
- through your resurrection.
- I now receive that life.
- And I am going stand in the fact that I am a child of the living God.
- In Jesus Holy name I pray.
All believers are now brothers and sisters in Christ.
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
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