BUT WHO ARE YOU
We can spend our lives advancing into our real selves or in the spiritual doldrums of a misguided reality. Reality is Christ and this reality is the Christ of God, Jesus of Nazareth and the Christ of the apostles and their doctrine.
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3,4 NIV. We shine in the glory of our true identity when our life is not diluted by additions and alterations to Him.
THE JESUS LENS
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life personified. We see Jesus through the lens of Himself. To see the Real Christ and not some distortion is to be among the pure – undivided in heart – who see God.
A PERICHORETIC UNION
Dr Gary Deddo writes, “The spiritual union [of ourselves with Jesus’] establishes our true individual personal identity, which is able to enter into real dynamic personal relationship with God, who is the source and measure of all personhood. The hypostatic and spiritual unions [union with God] thus do not eliminate human personhood. Instead, through the ministry of the Son and Spirit, both human nature and human personhood are confirmed and perfected.” Both the reality of God and the authenticity of you are confirmed in Christ.
We can have a pure, undivided and robust identity in Jesus. We can have a diffuse and confused identity when there are multiply hubs in our life, such as loyalty to inherited ideas, loyalty to a church and loyalty to Jesus. But as James says, we can have only one real master as a servant of Christ.
Father always meant us to be His daughters and sons. We initially rejoiced as Adam and Eve in union with God and as the living expression of His Fatherhood. Yet we were deceived into compromising our identity; seduced into making an addition to our identity where none was required. As a result we diffused ourselves into many identities and depleted ourselves – a kind of multiply personality disorder. The fissure that occurred as the fall did not end our sonship - just diluted it for a while. During the age of Adam, we were not cut-off from God. God mediated Himself through Godly men and women and particularly through Israel.
But humanity did become the playthings of its own idols - the entities that we erected and placed before our gaze to help us construct alternative identities outside the borders of sonship. Israel vacillated between loyalty to God and loyalty to Baal, a god of carnality and flesh. By the time Jesus was born segments of Judaism has made an idol of their religion. One of the reasons for hostility to Jesus was that it diverted attention from those who marketed the Jewish religion.
FALSE SELF/REAL SELF
Our identities in Adam are the effigies of our false self. Our real self is who we are in relationship to Jesus.
In the fullness of time God sent His Son and our life in union with God began anew with the resurrection of Jesus and the indwelling of God in human beings that we call the incarnation.
Here in this new status, this inter-woveness of being conceived before the world began, we received what Jesus already had: We and Father became one. Became one because in Jesus human beings were joined to God in His Person. Now all who chose could enjoy the same degree of intimacy that each member of the trinity has with each other. This incredible oneness and communion is ours as the sons and daughters of God. So, who are you? You are a son/daughter of the Most High God.
Given this, it is incredible that we should covet lesser identities and construct religious and denominational identities as if we are still naked and as though they add something to us. They do have an effect but only of the kind of a man wearing fancy dress on a work day. Adam and Eve did try to clothe their nakedness with skins as soon as it was seen that their identity was undermined. Yet they were clothed in the moment by the kindness of Father and in the fullness of time with the person of Jesus Himself. He is our identity. Jesus is our clothing and our life.
ONE IDENTITY OR NONE
Let’s be clear. Jesus is our identity and He is our exclusive identity. John Calvin wrote, “True wisdom consists in two things: Knowledge of God and Knowledge of Self.” Self is known when Christ is our life.
Jesus said the eternal (infinite) life is to know God and Jesus Christ whom God has sent. The issue with Father, Jesus and ourselves is always identity. ‘Who do they say I am?’ Similarly, the deep issue of your life is you and your identity. ‘Who do you say you are?’ Let’s be clear. If Jesus is not our exclusive identity, our identity is blurred and compromised, our soul is mouldy and our eyes can scarcely see.
Paul talks of our being ‘hidden in Christ’ with the implication that by being hidden in Him we are known as ourselves and revealed as sons and daughters. Again, Paul declares our identity in Christ with the uncompromising words, ‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV. We are talking the issue of life and the source of our being. Here at the root of our nature there are no dual identities. You are either a son in Father or a pseudo son and a tare.
YOUR GLORY IS CHRIST
On the issue of who and what we are - identity - Stephen Crosby writes, “In John 17:22 the Lord makes a remarkable statement associated with the believer's union with Him. He said that He had given (Gr.: perfect indicative active) His disciples His glory: not will give, not might give, but given. Christ shares His glory with the believer … Christ has the same prerogative with the believer and has made a predetermination to share His glory. It (the indwelling Spirit) is the earthly reflection of Christ's exaltation in heaven; the participation He gives to friends of the glory He now has with the Father. The glorifying of Jesus and the streaming forth of His Spirit are intimately connected; in vital organic union the two are inseparably linked.
The nature of the glory the believer shares is not the essence of raw deity, but rather it is the glory we share in privilege of the inhabitation and the indwelling of the Father, in the spirit of sonship. It is the glory of identical oneness that Christ had with the Father. It is the visible glory seen on Christ in John chapter one: the glory of inhabitation, union, a Father-Son relationship full of grace and truth. All that He had, the glory of it, is given to the church: not earned, not merited, given.” (1)
The pure in heart ‘see God’. Not only that, but they see themselves and know who they are. They know themselves in spirit and in truth.
(1) Crosby, Stephen. The New Testament Prophet: Understanding the Mind, Temperament, and Calling (Kindle Locations 1297-1310). . Kindle Edition.