Greetings of grace to you Mighty Men and Women of God!
SkyFall is now in the theaters and last summer we got to see The Borne Legacy, but my favorite spy themed trilogy remains Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum. These three blockbusters followed Jason Borne as he tried to unravel his covert past and rediscover his true identity. Do you remember who he was before he was molded into the prototype covert assassin through Operation Treadstone?
You may not have been subjected to sleep deprivation and washboarding by the CIA, but I dare say you may be as unaware of your true identity today as David Webb was when he was pulled from the Mediterranean off southern France! But in contrast to Jason Bourne, you most likely remember your former identity so well, you don’t recognize who you now are as a result of the new birth. The truth is, you are no longer who you were, you’re totally new!
For some of you this may remind you of a question I have asked you to consider before—what is the extent of the New Covenant? In the words of the subtitle to the book Birthright, Christian—do you know who you are? Unfortunately, in proclaiming “the truth of the Gospel” we have not been particularly adept at explaining the death of our old-self and the newness of our life in Jesus, but it is a near constant theme of the enthusiastic Apostles. Not only Paul (e.g., Romans 6:4-11, II Cor. 5:17, Gal. 2:20 & 6:14, 15), but also Peter (e.g., Acts 15:8 &9; I Pet. 1:2-4) and John (e.g., I Jn. 3:2) each marvel at this amazing truth. It is also revealed in the repeated description of followers of Jesus as saints—holy ones, set apart to God for his purposes. I cringed a bit again this morning as a dear brother repeated Satan’s lie to a group of believers gathered around, “I am no saint” he said. Like so many other still-blinded believers I meet, this brother allows occasional sin to rob him of his lofty place in Christ! As one preacher of old often declared, We are not saints because we live saintly; we live saintly because we are saints. And—this is of greatest importance—who you are determines how you live! Or, it will if you remember who you are! But you can’t remember what you haven’t first heard; as Paul asked the Romans, Or don’t you know?
Do you know who you are? Does being addressed as A Mighty Woman of God or A Mighty Man of God shock your spirit (as it did for Gideon when the angel addressed him with those words [or Valiant Warrior] while Gideon cowered from the Midianites, secretly thrashing wheat in the wine press [Judges 11:7ff])? Do you still think of yourself as “only human” or “not a saint,” or have you begun to embrace your true identity—a “born one” of God, created new in righteousness and holiness of the truth, a vessel of clay chosen by God as the dwelling place of the Spirit of the One who created the world, raised Jesus from the dead, and empowered by His Spirit to live in newness of life! Stated in words some of you will recall hearing from me before—You are a dearly beloved, blood bought, child of The King. If you struggle with this, I encourage you to talk with Papa about it! Prayerfully read some of the Scriptures set out above (and others to which the Spirit leads you) and perhaps some books like Birthight (Needham), Waking the Dead (Eldridge), or Authentic Christianity (Stedman). Maybe give me a call or drop me a line.
In every event, I pray that you will both recognize who you really are, be willing to say it to one another (I am a saint. You are a saint.), and by means of His Spirit live accordingly—you have a new-born identity!