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Who Are You?

It is easy to find problems within the Church. It does not matter what denomination, they all have some serious problems. The same problems exist no matter where you look. The same issues exist in liberal churches and in conservative ones.

The core problem is that we no longer know whom we are or what we are to be doing. We live in a fallen world. We live in a world where morality is thrown to the wind and where ethics are seen as anachronistic. Politics follow suit and display the base of human motives. Christians jump into the fracas. We offer our Biblical World View and we try to answer every moral question society poses. We lay down the law. We interpret what is good and bad around us and we make judgments. We are the people of the word, preservers of the faith, and keepers of the doctrine. We have right on our side. We are the people of God. We fight fire with HOLY FIRE. The result is frustratingly, dismally small.

Most of our mainline, large denominations are crumbling. Some are dividing themselves and eating their own. However, you say these are important issues. These are vital to keeping the church pure. We need to take a stand in society and push back against evil. I say indeed, amen and amen. I pick up my sword and I enter the battle and soon I am surrounded by darkness and evil that is beyond description. I soon find that my weapons are those of the world, not of God. I have no power except persuasion and a little of the truth and that has no impact on a deaf and sightless world.

God is light. Jesus is the light of the World. Jesus was born into a dark world. He brought light and men loved the darkness more than the light. It has been that way from the beginning of Christ’s ministry and it will be that way to the very end when he returns triumphant. We fight back against the evil in the world to no avail, with no effect. Why? We are attacking the symptoms not the cause. We are relying on human means to fight a spiritual battle. We have forgotten who we are.

We need to get something straight. We were not put here to create heaven on earth. Jesus promised that on this earth we would experience suffering. The City of Gold and the time for no more tears are closer than any other time in history, but they are not here yet.

I am not being morose. We do experience joy, but that has far more to do with who we are than with what the world can offer. Christians need a reality check. The more they know who they are the more the world will reject them. Praise God not all. By the grace of God, some will get it if we will simply wake up and realize who we are. We have lost contact with our ontology, our very being.

If you are not dying to know who you are by now, I have lost you. Who are you really? Let me ask it another way. What makes you a Christian? Is it correct answers to a long list of doctrinal question? Is it a properly understood belief system? Is it a set of morals diligently kept that makes you a Christian? Is it your discipline in reading the word and keeping God’s law? Perhaps your sacrificial love for others makes you a Christian.

I can hear someone screaming “Faith Alone” makes me a Christian, well yes in a way. We cannot become a Christian until we receive what God offers us in Jesus. We certainly live our Christian life by receiving day to day the grace God has for us. If your faith varies, does who you are, as a Christian vary? Does the degree to which you are Christian waver depending on your human ability to have faith? The answer to that is no. That answer is based on the knowledge of who you are.

We are in the world and that is the pits. We are not of the world a wonderful miracle God has provided. What happened in this fundamental transformation? The answer is our rebirth of course. The problem is that we do not realize the extent to which that miracle has touched our lives.

You see we are dependant beings. We are the branches not the vine. We are the vessel not the wine. We were created dependent on spirit, either God’s Holy Spirit or the spirit of the deceiver, Satan. That is a pretty harsh reality to know that most of the world is under the influence of evil including ourselves before we knew Christ. It is wonderful to be free of Satan’s direction. Notice what we are not in the above sentences. What is coming has been interpreted as pantheism, or panentheism. It is neither. The vessel does not become the wine or the wine the vessel even though they are united.

“…do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Cor. 13:5) Who are you? You are a Christ-One. You have within you the very presence of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So what you ask? What does that mean to have Christ in me? How does that change who I am? This is not just a nice verse to memorize. It is a dynamic that influences your every moment, every action, every thought, and every desire. You are a vessel in which Christ dwells. You have available if you receive it all you need to completely and effectively be who God wants you to be. You walk this earth under the influence of Christ himself accomplishing His design for your life, which is to Glorify Him. Paul in Galatians 2:20 expresses it this way: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” There is so much in this verse. Just note the use of “I” by Paul. I have died. Christ lives in me. I live by faith in the Son of God. I live in the flesh. Paul is describing a unity of being. His very being joined with God. Not absorbed into God or replaced by God. Paul is still Paul. Jesus is still Jesus, but they are one. Paul is a new creature in Christ. He has a new mind, a new heart and at the deepest part of his being, he is united with Christ. “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27)

The world seeks to glorify man. Christ seeks glory through the lives of those who would become Christ-Ones. Through those who would walk by receiving all He has for them day-by-day, hour-by-hour, moment-by-moment. Our salvation, our sanctification, our hope of glory rests in the living presence of Christ in us. Who then are we? We are people indwelt, empowered, sustained, directed, purified, sanctified, glorified, by the God of all creation who dares to join Himself with our very being. Please note that this is not a form of perfectionism. Paul makes it clear that he is united with Christ while still abiding in the flesh and all its old habits and tendencies.

We do not have a perfect belief system to offer the world. We do not have perfect understanding of the word. We do not have an answer for every ethical dilemma. We do not have the final word on doctrinal interpretation. We do not have every answer to every problem man faces.

What we have is Christ. What we offer the world is Christ in you the hope of glory. Who we are is what the world so desperately needs. The great commission does not say, “do evangelism,” it says “as you go be evangelists.” It is easy to be who Christ in us has created us to be. Our doing will be the fruit of who we are if we by faith embrace that reality and receive what Christ has for us.

Who are you? You are an indwelt one. You are a new creature united with Christ. Your very being is a testimony to God’s love, mercy, and power. The light of Christ shines through you simply because of who you are in Him. Let it shine. Much of the world and many in the Church will reject that presence in you. Let it shine. Some in the Church and some in the world will get it and in their discovery through you of who they are in Christ, Christ will be glorified.

Do you know who you are? I pray you do.

It is Christ in you the hope of glory. Our hope of glory does not rest in our proper beliefs, or how good we make ourselves, or how complete our doctrine, or how disciplined we can be, or ethical. Our enforcing the law on ourselves and on others will not produce the glory we seek. Only God can produce His character and His perfect obedience in us. Only in Christ can we find the wholeness that our churches, the world, and we seek.

Who are you?

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