“But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God”
It was during some praise and worship in my early quiet time with God one morning when I heard the popular Hillsong Christian tune, “Who you say I am” come over the internet radio. The lyrics emphatically declare the truth about who we are as Christ followers – we are children of God, we are chosen by Him, we are assured that He will never forsake us, He is for us, not against us – we are the Person that He says we are!
While I listened to the words of the song echoing in my mind, I marinated in these truths. The Holy Spirit began stirring in my mind, and gradually, a new and deeper understanding of my identity in Christ emerged into focus. I began to perceive a profound awareness of our greater existence in Christ than simply a “Who” (Though living as a “Who” in Christ is gloriously awesome!). But even more, as a child of a supremely infinite God, our spiritual identity likewise interfaces with boundless realms most of us can only comprehend as “dimensions” given our constrained carnal intellect.
God, on the other hand, is outside of such dimensions. He is not bound by restrictions as we, His created human beings are. And as such, while we Christians are finite in the flesh, the “Who” in us is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3) – that is, in the Spirit. Therefore, even though we are mortal mankind, we are also spirit-beings; and consequently, co-inheritors with Christ of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places today (Ephesians 1:3, Romans 8:16,17). If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are in Christ and with Christ in the heavenly realm, even as you read this, because “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6 NIV). Notice the words “raised” and “seated” are past tense! Thus, you are not only who He says you are…as a child of God you are also where, when, how, and why He says you are!
In this series, we will discover that in Christ, Who we are is our Person, Where we are is our Position, When we are is our Presence, How we are is our Power, and Why we are is our Purpose.
In this inaugural five-part blog-launching series, let’s first review, or perhaps examine for the first time, this first realm of “who” we are in Christ as the song, Who you say I am affirms. Knowing our identity in Christ is a critical beginning topic as we seek to further our understanding of the greater existential picture of our spiritual embodiment with Christ in this precept-upon-precept sequence of articles entitled, You Say I Am.
I am a Child of God – John 1:12 ( AMP) But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the right [the authority, the privilege] to become children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name—
I am Chosen – John 15:16 (AMP) You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.
I am Not Forsaken – John 15:16 (ESV) Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
God is For Me, Not Against Me – Romans 8:31 (AMP) What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us?
In My Father’s House There’s a Place for Me– John 14:3 (ESV) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.
The above verses support the song lyrics and paint such a beautiful picture of our heavenly Father’s love for His children! He chose us as His sons and daughters before we could ever choose Him. Despite our rebellious and wicked hearts, He chose to love us by sending His only Son to die for our sins and reconcile us back to Himself (John 3:16), forever sealing the chasm between our fallen humanity and his supreme holiness. He is forever for us and is never against us! Then, as a good, good Father, He prepares a place for us to join Him for all eternity when our days on this earth are completed. If we could only grasp how deep and everlasting the Father’s love is for us, just imagine how life-changing it would be!
God’s love for you is so great, He not only wants you to be with Him, He desires for you to be so intimately connected to Him now that you are truly one with Him! Jesus’ prayer below is for His disciples of all the ages, which includes you and me! These verses capture the essence of His desire for intimate relationship with all His children of all time who believe in Him and put their trust in Him without any doubts.
I do not pray for these alone [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for [all] those who [will ever] believe and trust in Me through their message, that they all may be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe [without any doubt] that You sent Me.
I am adopted into Sonship with the Father – Romans 8:15-17 (NIV) The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
What does this mean for us? First, let’s look at the meaning of sonship. Merriam-Webster describes sonship as: “The relationship of son to father.” In Jesus’ day, sons were valued as much more than simply oxen-drivers and field-hands. They were ambassadors of the family name and legacy-bearers of the patriarch. What the father represented, so did the son. As was the father, then became the son. Sons carried forward the family name (The descendants of Jacob, AKA Israel, became known as the nation of Israel), the family vocation (Jesus became a carpenter as was his earthly father, Joseph), and they perdured the family customs and traditions.
And second, when we consider the “relationship of son to [the] father,” as Spirit- adopted sons, sonship is replication of the son as from the father. Observe that the MW definition is, “son to father,” not, “father to son.” Understanding our spiritual inheritance is a crucial piece for the Christ follower because it denotes a flowing down, or pouring out, of the father’s DNA to the son – not the other way around. The phrase, “Like father, like son” is most accurately expressed in biblical sonship. Therefore, when we were adopted as sons of the Most High God through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we received God’s Spirit…God’s DNA…God’s nature.
Dear reader, as a child of God, you can celebrate your identity in Christ Jesus as His beloved son or daughter, chosen by Him personally! You can rest in full assurance that who He says you are in His word is the absolute, irrevocable truth. So, when the world comes against you with accusations – or even facts – about who you were before coming to Christ, you have the power and authority of the Most High God to remind yourself and the world of the truth of who you are, and to whom you belong! You are not hopeless, you are not a mistake, you are not an addict, you are not worthless, you are not flawed; you are who God says you are: beloved, cherished, and chosen by the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and kept by Him for eternity.
My friend, you have an enemy, the devil, who is after one thing: to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He is crafty, and will employ every low-life tactic he can come up with to get into your mind to convince you of a false identity that is contrary to all we’ve discussed in this article. He will stop at nothing to manipulate your mind with character-smearing tactics in an attempt to corrupt the truth of who you are in Christ. If we don’t believe we are who God says we are, the only alternative is to believe we are who the world says we are. Keep these verses (and all of God’s word) treasured in your mind and heart at all times and be ready to combat even the slightest attack against the knowledge you now have at your fingertips, the truth of WHO you are in Christ Jesus! Then read the next installments in this You Say I Am series to learn WHERE, WHEN, HOW, and WHY God says you are!