There is an identity theft going on in this world today that is much more insidious and destructive than losing what it says about you in your wallet.
What I am talking about is an illusion of separation created by empty religious doctrines that have robbed us of our identity in Christ. This is actually tragic. A fraudulent crime perpetrated against God’s beloved children. A travesty of justice.
One thing about our current version of evangelical Christianity that is just dumbfounding to me is this understanding of our identity…or should I say, lack thereof. Here’s what I mean. While we all readily identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for our salvation, and rightfully see Him exalted at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, my experience has been that very few Christians seem to be able to identify themselves as dead, buried, and resurrected with Him. Very few actually see themselves now seated with Him, far above all principalities and powers (Eph.1:18-2:6). We see Christ but we don’t see ourselves in Him.
Now, I realize that most will nod their head in agreement on theological, or perhaps, theoretical grounds about who we are in Christ. The fact is, in practice, too many live their everyday lives as if this were not true. What they believe is actually keeping them from their identity and from the freedom Christ paid for. After all, Paul seemed to think we died with Christ, and now our life is His life (Col.3:3). The “normal” Christian is a crucified Christian, who has no past, and who now lives Jesus’ resurrected life (2 Cor.5:17). As He is, so are we in this world. Why do we keep wanting to believe something else? Why do we let others talk us out of this glorious inheritance?
This is my point. Are you a follower of Christ? Did you receive Him by grace through faith? (Eph.2:8). Then if your life, and mine, is actually Christ’s life (Gal.2:20; Col.3:3), which it is, why would we act like powerless victims in this world, living purposeless, defeated, and hopeless lives? Why do we live like religious orphans rather than sons and daughters of our heavenly Father, as co-heirs of His Kingdom, acting as if we are ever separated from Him in any way? Why be like the elder brother in the Prodigal Son story, who has to be told we always have our Father with us and that all that He has is ours? Why do we think that waiting to go to heaven when we die is acceptable Christianity when heaven lives in us right now (Eph.2:6)? After all, you are the hope of the world. Hope lives in you (Col.1:27). To think otherwise is to have had your identity stolen from you. It means that you have been lied to and taught to believe something else. You have been robbed. Do you know this?
We’ve managed to turn these precious promises into something else…powerless religious gobbledygook. The living Word becomes nothing more than a history book with some inspirational phrases that we can put on plaques to cheer us up and keep us from losing our mind.
Not that what passes as the Christian life is all bad; it’s just all talk and powerless. Quite the opposite of Paul’s gospel (1 Cor.2:4-5).
For years I was an “unbelieving believer.” I agreed with the Word of God, but in practice I was only faithfully parroting what I was taught. I agreed that it was all inspired by God, blah, blah, blah…but I didn’t actually believe it…especially, what it said about me. I was talked out of my freedom by clever religious lies that are designed to keep me unchanged, releasing me from my responsibility to be courageous and walk by faith, which is a life that requires living outside of my current experience and comfort zone. Faith becomes nothing more than dumbing God’s Word down to human experience and our current understanding instead of contending for what it actually says, though unrealized.
I am not even really saying that these things were done on purpose to deceive us. I think people sincerely believe these things, and that they sincerely love God. But Jesus was right, the blind can only lead the blind into the proverbial ditch. I just won’t be led there anymore.
As Curry Blake (John G. Lake Ministries) has said so well…”Both heaven and hell know who you are; they just want to know if you know who you are.”
We really do need to make a choice. It’s a choice that takes great courage in the face of all the absurd things taught about what it means to be a Christian. But it’s also a choice that brings the promise of freedom (Jn,8:31-32).
Beloved of God, get your identity back. Be a “normal” Christian (Gal.2:20). The world is really wanting to see the real thing.