Last week in the post, "Born Identity (Part 1 )" , we laid the groundwork for the question that sits heavy in the back of the mind of every believer.
Who am I in Christ?
What does it really mean to be "In Christ"?
Let me define two things that you will hear throughout the study.
Grace :(Its more than unmerited favor) Grace is the divine enablement by the life of Jesus Christ in us to be all we have been called to be and do all we have been called to do.
God living in and through me.
Flesh:(Its more than our body) Flesh is the Self sufficiency, independence or living out of our own resources. living life on my terms and techniques. This is manifested by us finding our identity in A)What we do B)What we have C)What others think of us.
It is Me living for God.
What comes to your mind when you think about walking in your flesh?
What comes to your mind when you think about walking in your flesh?
Walking in the flesh does not always look bad, but it can look pretty good. Notice what Paul said about his flesh:
"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ." ~Phillipians 3:3-7
In the last post I compared our search as being one where we had all the fragments of information, but they were scattered around everywhere. Let's take a look at the first piece of paper that we have.
The first time we as people were ever mentioned in history.
We need to go back to the very beginning. Why? Because the beginning is the best place to start!
We need to keep in mind the importance of the new testament when interpreting the old testament. For example in the garden of Eden we find the Serpent which we know to be Satan from another account.
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." ~Revelation 12:9With that in mind let's go back to the first week ever to be.
" And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so." ~Genesis 1:26-30
That is the big picture, now let's look closer.
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed." ~Genesis 2:7-8
Here we see the account of creation! What a sight that must have been. God spoke the animals and stars into existence, but He personally formed Man. The crown Jewel of the collection so to speak.
Handmade by The artist Himself.
It is Paul's letter of Ephesians where he says, "For we are His workmanship...". Personal creation at it's loving best.
God places man in the garden of Eden where he enjoys personal fellowship with God.
"And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." ~Genesis 2:9
God places Man in the Garden and it is a beautiful thing. It was perfect fellowship between God and us. Our identity was "Us". God and man together in perfect fellowship.
In the garden we find two trees. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A.The Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil.
What teaches us right and wrong? Law
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster..." ~Galatians 3:24So we could with all rights refer to The tree of knowledge of good and evil is the law tree.
B.The Tree of Life.
As you study scripture what do you find to be synonymous with life? Jesus!!!
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." ~John 14:6
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." ~ John 15:5The tree of life is the relationship tree. Please Notice Christ says He is the tree.
We also know from scripture that Christ is God’s amazing grace given to us.
"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
~ John 1:17
"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Galatians 2:21
Law and Grace are Two Different Systems
Law is trying and Grace is trusting
Law would be rules and Grace would be relationship
Law is performance and Grace is person
Law is doing and Grace is being
Law stresses what we do while Grace stresses what Christ does
Law stresses living for Christ while Grace stresses living in Christ.
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." ~Genesis 3:1-5Did you catch it? No? You will recognize this as something that you hear all the time. There was a lie. The big lie here is there being something you can do to be like god or godlike. They were already godlike.
Until we truly understand our identity in Christ we will continue to believe this lie. What can I do to be Christ like. God has accomplished this through Christ.
Man fell for the lie and our identity was given up at that point. What where the consequences of mans eating of the law tree?
1.First consequence from eating of the law tree was man established his own identity.
Up until that point it was not God and man, but we were together. Ever since that day, man has been trying to establish his own identity apart from God.
2.Second consequence is man became self conscious.
They saw that they were naked.
Their eyes were on God until that point. Why look at yourself?
3.Third consequence is man began to live by a value system.
Before sin in the garden man lived by the life of God.
Before man ate of the law tree man did not live a moral life but a miraculous life.
Man's life was not right or wrong but righteous.
4.Fourth consequence is man began to make himself presentable to God
They made aprons of fig leaves
Man still struggles with these consequences today. This is the foundation on which man made religion is built.
The question of “ is this right or wrong,” gets asked all the time, but that is the wrong question. The true question to ask is this: Am I abiding in the life of Christ?
For years I spent countless hour analyzing everything I did, hoping to have sewn a proverbial "good fig leaf apron". The truth was and is...
AS A REDEEMED CHILD OF GOD THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO MAKE GOD LOVE YOU ANY MORE THAN HE ALREADY DOES!
Identity is a scary thing for insecure people to teach other people, because when people discover who they are in Christ they no longer need the control of any person other than God.
This is a pretty in-depth post, but I believe if you can follow where we are going with this you are going to find yourself as I did. Actually piecing together the scraps of paper to form a picture of who we always were in Christ. I am looking forward to Monday's post as we connect the dots on our life as it was always meant to be.
Climbing with you,