My identity in Christ.
I told my husband before I began writing this… it’s so boring, the same old same old… yet it’s my truth, this is my identity in Christ. It courses through my being … its all about Jesus
I am a Protestant. A Charismatic. A Molinist. An egalitarian. Non-denominational and a Conditionalist.
None of that means anything…. over 30 years ago I asked Christ into my heart and I began a journey into eternity. What I believed about scripture along the way has little to do with who I am in Christ Jesus. My identity changed when I stopped trying to be correct and started trusting in Christ’s righteousness and not my own.
As I read Christian blogs and see people arguing over “how to pray” or which translation of the Bible is the most correct. I just want to reach inside of every one of them and ask, “are you more saved then that one”? Does what you believe in theory change who you are in Christ? Am I more saved today then I was the first day? Does knowledge elevate our status in Christ? I know I walk in more joy and I am more effective through knowing Christ more intimately but I am not more saved. That work was finished on the cross at Calvary.
In 1983 I was an atheist. I really disliked religion and Christianity was the religion I saw around me. I thought, those Christians, always trying to shove their beliefs down everyone else’s throats yet look at them. That bunch of hypocrites! There are people starving and all they care about are their church buildings. Those stained glass windows could feed a few hungry people. The more public the Christian right became the more I hated Christianity. Then in a moment, it all changed and I became what I hated. Not only was I a Christian but I was a Christian who wanted to be right. I wanted the correct doctrine, the correct church and I wanted to be a ‘good’ Christian. UGH.
In the midst of my struggles, the Lord in His wonderful grace would give me a word or a vision. Like road signs through a desert, one day at a time, one struggle at a time, until I realized I was not able to do this Christian life and I admitted to myself and to God, that I would have to go to hell. I just couldn’t be a Christian. As I explained to the Lord, that I understood why. His word read, no drunkard, liar, thief… 1 Cor 6:9 Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. I knew somewhere in that list I belonged but I was going to be the only one there, in hell, who still loved Him…. I vividly remember that vision. I was standing in a dark pit and Christ looked at me and put His arms very gently out to me and said “but “I” won’t let you”. In one moment I realized, it didn’t matter if I was unworthy. As my vision expanded, I saw all around me, prostitutes and drug addicts, homeless people in dirty clothes and He was speaking to all of us, “I won’t let you”. I didn’t know how but I knew it wasn’t about my righteousness but it was all about Jesus. Today I ask people, “how big is the cross”? How much work was done on that cross? I think of Christ speaking and the universe was formed. How big would His dying be? I am a mere human, finite and mortal, with a mind ill equipped to fathom infinity. I cannot wrap my brain around God. He never asked me to understand Him, He only asked me to love Him and my neighbors. I still have work to do in that area. When I get the love God with all your heart, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself down pat, I’ll move on to bigger issues but until then; I am just trusting Jesus.
I am a child of God, a citizen of heaven. I follow Christ because He first loved me and I am a part of His kingdom because of what He has done and not because of anything I have done. It is the righteousness of Christ that I trust. Because “Sweet Jesus” I know I am not righteous because of my own behavior. The Lord judges the heart and if you could read what goes on in mine, you would see a battle raging. I don’t have to tell you about my battles, we all have them. We walk in fear, while we try to love. We walk in hate because we fear. This carnal body, who is able to save me from sin and death… only Jesus. I read Romans 7 and 8 aloud this morning, its wonderful. Rom 7: 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
For this reason only do I identify with Christ because He is my righteousness and I am eternally grateful. There are no words to express the gratitude I have within me for His great love for me, this most unworthy being. Jesus saved me while I was still a mess, an atheist who mocked and ridiculed His church, His followers, His word and His cross. Until the day, I learned He loved me anyway. Not because I was worthy but because I was NOT worthy, I was angry, needy and hurting. It seems the qualifications to be a Christian are very low. I am quite sure you meet them. The only people Jesus turned away were those that were so religious, they condemned others to hell while exalting themselves.
God bless, andrea