If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one. The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.
Jesus has given us a new identity. The amazing thing about this new identity is that it is so much bigger than we would have thought possible. It is not something that traps us, but something that is so big we can spend our whole lives growing into the implications of it!
When people ask us, Who are you? Your answer will point to the identity you think you have. That identity can make us feel good or bad about ourselves; it can box us in to certain courses of action; sometimes limiting us by expectations, sometimes demanding more of us. Having received a new identity from God, we need to understand and live out this new identity in order to be the people God intended us to be.
This overview points to the main teaching on the subject in the Bible. To understand more, there is a web page on each subject.
Jesus’ disciples bear fruit. This fruit is the outworking of God being at work in us.
John 15: 1 "I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father
Our identity is how we think of ourselves. The good news is that Jesus brings us an entirely new identity as His new creation. Our old identity brought struggles; a feeling we could never change. Others could impose an identity on us that would not allow change. In this imposition one finds the source of racism, elitism, genderism, ... Yet in Christ God gives us a new identity that brings freedom to live a life of love. It is not one imposed by others, or one we cling to in insecurity.
2 Corinthians 5:16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
There are two senses in which we are God’s children. First - physical. All are created by God, so He is Father to all. He loves and cares for all. This is a vital reality, for God our Father does not appreciate the way we mistreat His children. However evil His children, He loves them and He loves us. Second - spiritual. God is Spirit and when we are born spiritually we become His children spiritually. This is a more intimate level of becoming His children than physical. There is in the spiritual realm a far greater opportunity to interact as a child should interact with its Father.
Being His children gives us value; Not for what we do or achieve, but that God, the source of the universe created and loves us so we are His children.
John 1:11 [Jesus] came to his own people, and even they rejected him.12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
We start out as God’s enemies because we do what we want and are in independence of His kingship and His Fatherhood. The outcome of this life is stark, but the way to a right relationship with God has been cleared by Jesus who gave up His life, for us. If we accept His offer of salvation we move from death to life.
Romans 5:6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.9 And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation.
Jesus has paid the price to redeem us from everything that holds us captive, and so in Him we have true freedom. Freedom is an aspirations of our age, yet few ask the key questions - Freedom from what? What is the cost of Freedom? If we don’t understand what holds us captive it is difficult to gain freedom, or understand the price for freedom.
Galatians 4:3-5 And that's the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles* of this world.
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.
God calls us to a Holy Life, a life set apart for God from anything that is against Him. This can seem unattainable. He has taken the first step and cleansed us Himself. (The word Sanctified is used in the NIV, cleaned in the NLT.) The Bible explains how God does this from different angles, each contributing to the picture.
Titus3:3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. 4 But—"When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love,5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.*6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life."
People of one country often don’t understand the people of another. An ambassador, who understands both can explain one to another. In the spiritual realm, those who do not know God cannot understand the things of God. As there is a difference between knowing about someone and knowing the person, so there is a difference between knowing about a religion and knowing God One of the great challenges for those who know God, is that they are His ambassadors.
2 Corinthians 5:19-21 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.20 So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!"21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,* so that we could be made right with God through Christ.