This is a follow-up to my post yesterday.
IDENTITY DETERMINES ACTIVITY
by Dr. Jay Jackson
"Who we are determines how we behave in life.
Identity determines activity.
For example, if you saw a bird about to be pounced on by a cat and the bird starts barking like a dog, what would you think? Would you say, 'that critter is a dog,' or 'that there bird sure is acting weird'?
If we allow the world, other people, or even our own performance to "tell" us who we are then we might not ever act as the Bible describes for a believer.
PAUL CALLS THE CORINTHIANS "SAINTS!" I Corinthians 1:2 states, "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, CALLED SAINTS . ." (KJV). The amazing thing here is that this declaration of "sainthood" applies to the worst acting Christians in the entire New Testament! The Corinthian Church engaged in rank immorality (5:1-2), had pride over their spiritual gifts (12:1-13:13), and broke into fleshly divisions over who was the greatest Christian leader -- Paul, Apollos, Peter or Jesus (1:10-17). Some even participated in the Lord's Supper drunk (11:17-22). Yet Paul doesn't hesitate to call them "saints," a word which means "holy ones!"
How can anyone be called "holy ones" who sins as this church?? Should not Paul open with, "you dirty rotten sinners in Corinth?" No, because salvation involves a change of IDENTITY. When we were physically born into this world we came connected to Adam and were sinners, spiritually dead, and condemned before God. Salvation means death to our old identity (Romans 5:12-6:6) because we have been born again into union with Christ. We have spiritual life, forgiveness and acceptance with God, and He calls us "saints."
Being united with Christ changes us from a "sinner" to a "saint." According to the New Testament, my identity as a sinner is a thing of the past. The one who possesses the Holy Spirit has indeed been made a new creature and that is who we really are. We must no longer think of ourselves as sinners, but as saints.
Paul's challenge for the Corinthians -- "You are SAINTS who act weird! Start behaving according to your true identity in Christ! You are SAINTS, now act like it!"
Remember the story of the ugly duckling? This poor creature thought he was weird and ugly because all the "other" ducks kept telling him so. However, when he discovered who he really was, a beautiful swan, he began acting like a swan.
Unfortunately, most Christians today know nothing of their true identity in Christ. One man struggled for years with his alcohol problem because at every support group meeting he would declare, "My name is Joe and I am a drunk!" After many rehabs and meetings, he attended a conference where someone taught on this truth of our identity in Christ. God used that to set him free. He saw that God calls him a saint, not a drunk (I Corinthians 6:11: "And such WERE some of you, but ye ARE washed, ye ARE sanctified . . ." The root word of "sanctified" is hagios; the word translated "saint" or "holy one" in the New Testament!). It was when he started believing this truth that this brother finally experienced freedom from alcohol.
Today, if you know Christ as Savior, you are a SAINT. Believing you are a saint impacts how you behave. If you believe you are a dirty rotten sinner, then your behavior will reflect that. As a saint, or holy one, you can live out the truth of who you are in Christ. God calls us SAINTS in Christ. So start believing the Truth and behaving according to who you are!"