The Foundational Series
II. New Identity versus Old Identities
Now we want to contrast this new self-awareness in Christ with our original identities pertaining to this world. Before we are born-again, we have many senses of identity relative to this life. Many are inherited. Others are acquired. Let's look at some of these:
A. Inherited Identities
Consider our inherited identities. We are born with gender; male or female. We are born into family relationships; children, fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. We are born into family clans with surnames; Anderson, Smith, Pearson, Merritt. These in turn give us identity according to people groups and nations; Scandinavians, Indians, Dutch, English, Americans, Canadians. We are born into races; white, black, etc. Let's call all these identities our blood identities.
B. Acquired Identities
On top of blood identities we obtain many, many acquired identities in life, some permanently, others not. We acquire occupational identities; piano teacher, banker, car repairman, etc. We acquire civic and social club identities; boy scouts, 4-H Club, Kiwanis, Lions. We acquire rank and office identities; president, general, captain, treasurer, etc. All these things give us multiple acquired identities.
So there we have it. On one hand we have a new fundamental spirit-born identity rooted in the nature of Jesus Christ. On the other, we have all these multiple inherited and acquired identities left to us from our original life, fed by the force of natural life operating in our bloodstream.
The thing about all these earth-based identities is that they carry their own force and pull on us to make themselves our source of self-worth and esteem. They call us to find our ultimate meaning in them according to the pride of life. This sets up a state of conflict within us, bringing us to consider the ultimate purpose of God for us in this life.
III. Purified Identity: The Ultimate Purpose of God
Given the state of enmity between our new identity and the natural life force behind our earth-based identities, it is God's ultimate purpose to purify our identity in Christ and bring it to maturity through its contention with our original identities.
God allows our new identity to be put to the test against the lawful and unlawful demands of our other identities until the appeal of our sin nature through our earth-based identities is broken and no longer able to touch us. It is the will of God that our new identity grow to subdue and swallow up every other natural identity remaining to us. He wills to eradicate from us all sense of self-worth in every identity but that of our new one.
God is looking for people who are identified only by his Son and who are willing to find the remaining fulfilment of their personhood over the process of the purification of that identity (more on this to follow).
IV. Purified Identity: Corporate As Well As Personal
To this point, we have been speaking individually and personally. But all we have said thus far also applies to us corporately as a body of people throughout the earth. As a body, the people of God locally, nationally, and world-wide have been given a new identity found solely in Jesus Christ. This identity conflicts with all other corporate earth-based identities of people groups; nations, economic systems, culture and language groups, labor unions, political parties, governments, etc.
And it is the will of God for His people-corporate to lose and overcome by conflict their earth-based corporate identities. This is the meaning behind the word "church." This word comes from the Greek word "ekklesia" and means "called-out ones.” This calling-out refers to purified identity in Christ at the expense of every earth-bound identity. It is described by the celestial elders who surround God's throne:
"For you were slain and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe, and, language, and people, and nation; And have made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." Rev. 5:9-10
Notice what the elders are saying. They are declaring their purity of identity. They declare themselves to no longer be identified by the earth-based identities listed. All those have been subsumed under new identity in Christ for them.
In place of these earthbound identities, the elders say they are made unto God kings and priests. This is new identity purified. Some of these elders may have once been women, others men. Some may have been Americans, others Saxons, others aboriginal Australians, others ancient Jews. But no longer.
written from Pleasant Valley, Prince Edward Island, Canada
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
Page created June 19, 2015