How do you see yourself? For the purpose of this blog, I am going to write to followers of Christ. We have a strange habit of defining ourselves as who we were before we were in Christ. No question we still sin and still struggle with sin, so please do not take anything I write herein as contradicting that. If you take that view, I agree with you.
Noah Laying on a rock formation with Chapman’s peak in the distance.
So here’s the point. So many of us sort of camp out in Romans 6 and 7 and ignore Romans 8. Romans 6 and 7 talks about a person who is not yet in Christ and describes that person as a “slave to sin” and as one who “does the things they do not want to do.” But Paul goes on and completes the thought in Romans 8 “There is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Noah and Asher with our little town Fish Hoek below and behind them in the distance.
Why is that? Our very identity has been changed. This means we go from sinners who sin to saints who sin. You may think this is a small thing, but it isn’t at all! If you believe you are a sinner whose very identity is wrapped up in being a sinner, you will continue to live out of that reality.
Noah and Asher with Chapman’s peak and the Atlantic Ocean in the background
But in the midst of Paul’s writing (not to mention John’s, Peter’s, and others) we see something else at work. Almost every epistle is written to “saints.”
Daniel, Asher and Noah on top of Elsie’s peak.
This may not seem significant if you think of “saints” as people who live up to certain standards developed later by the Roman Catholic church and accepted by other major expressions of the faith, but the Biblical definition of a “saint” is one who has been called “holy” because of Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross. In other words, it isn’t based on what YOU have done, but on what Christ has done. Yes, if you are in Christ, YOU are a saint. This isn’t arrogance, it is just what the God says about you.
The boys atop Elsie’s Peak with False Bay (major inlet) behind them
So what else does the God say about you? Well, that’s quite an interesting question and I appreciate you asking. He says that you have “the mind of Christ.” He says that you are “a royal priesthood.” He says that all those things you used to do are what you “once were.” He also says that you are the “righteousness of Christ.” God declares that you are “the light of the world.” (if you don’t believe me, do a google search!)Asher with Glencairn and Simons Town behind and below him
But isn’t it safer if we keep calling ourselves “wretches” and “sinners?” We don’t want to get arrogant right? To quote C.S. Lewis: “True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” The essence of humility would be to accept what God has said about you and live accordingly. If you think God is still calling you a “sinner” and a “wretch” then you are far more inclined to act accordingly. If you believe that God in Christ has accepted you into His family and given you the “Spirit that cries out “Abba Father”” then you might start living your life according to THAT truth.
A fairly large red and black grasshopper I photographed on our hike up Elsie’s Peak.
A picture of our little town taken on the way home out of my window.
Please hear me on this. I am not at all saying you should run around like a rooster with his chest stuck out. These things are very tender and very precious, let’s treat them as such. But letting the Word of God wash over you and convince you of your identity in Christ is a powerful way to step into the reality of who you now are. A Rockefeller can choose to live in the gutter, but that doesn’t stop them from being a Rockefeller. A saint can choose to live like a sinner, but that doesn’t change their identity.
If you will start your day by letting your Heavenly Daddy tell you what He thinks about you, you may find yourself living like a person with the “Mind of Christ” rather than something else. I heard Steve Hawthorne say many years ago that in Christ “we are not sinners struggling to be saints, we are saints who struggle with sin.” What if that is true? How does that change today for you?
Hanging out with our friends Fouad, Waqar, Nadia and Rehanna. Happy Birthday Waqar!!
“No temptation has seized you except that which is common to man, but God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear, but when you are tempted, He will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
Selah and Noah hanging out with Waqar in his cell phone shop on Fish Hoek main road.
I hope this is helpful! Please respond. It is always encouraging to have people let me know what they think! I am fine with disagreement too, just do it respectfully, especially if you are disagreeing with another commenter (you don’t need to be as careful with me!).
Fish Hoek as the sun is going down Fish Hoek in the early light of morning…