Ask a group of believers how they see themselves and you will likely receive many different answers… Ranging from “I’m just a dirty rotten sinner saved by Grace.”, “I’m just a sheep following the Shepherd, to “I’m just a servant”. While all of these things have a certain element of truth, they all fall short of what the Bible says is our true identity in Christ, and it is this realization of this identity that can enable us to operate in the victory and authority which Christ has given to us.
If we are not sure of our identity, we can never truly live with authority. A Police officer who is not aware of his identity will never make use of his authority to arrest criminals – even though the power has been given to him. Likewise, we as believers have been given authority from God Himself, but if we are not sure of our identity, we will never be able to make use of that power. So this is what we will be studying today.
Let’s begin our study by reading John 1:12-13:
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
We have become sons of God. Even you women, spiritually speaking you are a son, because with sonship comes privilege.
The word “power” in verse 12, in the Greek text means privilege and delegated influence. We can also see from these verses that this is not for the seventy only but for as many as received Him (Jesus), and even to them that believe on His name. No matter which way you slice it, it is referring to us today.
We see something else from verse 13 as well. Many people (including Christians) are uncomfortable with the term “born again” today, feeling as though it is archaic and outdated. However the word born was quite deliberately chosen by the Holy Spirit to be used in the scriptures – God knows exactly what He is doing – and being born again carries with it a wonderful promise and rights within the kingdom and family of God in Christ Jesus.
Notice in verse 13 that we are not born of blood, or the will of the flesh, or the will of man, but of God. This is true to form that nothing can be accomplished without Him. (John 15:5) This principle may be controversial, it may even be offensive and off-putting to many traditional Christians, but it is an essential truth taught in scripture… that we are not called to “serve Jesus”, nor are we called to “live for Him”, but we are called to totally surrender and “die to self” which has been misunderstood to mean stop sinning, but what dying to self actually means is to stop trying to do things under your own power or effort and completely surrender to God and allow Him to live through you. Meaning that you no longer live in yourself but Christ lives through and empowers every single area of your life. (Galatians 2:20)
The Bible says in 1st John 4:8 that God is love. It says in 1st John 1:5 that God is light. And in 1st John 5:11-12 we see that God is life. And we are called to manifest these three attributes of God: Love, light and life. We do this through the realization of our identity in Him; not by our own efforts or strength. Turn with me to Genesis 1:26-27:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Now, likeness means your physical appearance – the way that you look. Image, means the divine nature of God, this love, light and life that we have been studying. We were not only made in God’s likeness, but also His image, His divine nature. We were made to manifest the characteristics and nature of God’s love, light and life. But when man fell and sin entered, man was cut-off from this nature, his spirit was separated from God, and his flesh nature was awakened and instead of manifesting God’s divine love, light and life, we became in need of these things since our source was cut-off, and today we have people searching for love, light and life in all of the wrong places. Looking for people to love us, looking to all manner of things and people to replace the divine source that only God can give – and what we should be manifesting through Him rather than desperately and hopelessly seeking it from others.
This can not be said any more clear than Jesus’ own words in John 17:18-23:
“As you have sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.
And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me.”
Everything that Jesus did was for our benefit. This is another aspect of His divine perfect love. In verse 20, we see that Jesus’ divine prayer was not just for His disciples then, but it also includes us, and I thank God for that. And in verse 21, we see the identity and unity that we have with God in Christ. He says we may be one in Jesus and the Father even as They are one in Each-other. Keep in-mind that this is Jesus praying this prayer, and He never prays a prayer that is not granted. So this must be true.
Now is this only for when we get to Heaven? No, because the next part of verse 21 says that this one-ness, this unity with God is so that the world may believe that Jesus was sent by the Father. So this identity in Christ must be for now, with outward benefits, because it serves as a testimony to the world.
In verse 22, we see that we have the very glory on us that Jesus received from the Father – another amazing benefit that our human mind can not even fully grasp. And in verse 23, we see that in Christ, we are made perfect (complete) and that we have the Divine love of God on us – the same love as Jesus has from the Father.
So in-essence, Jesus has completely restored to us the Divine nature of God that Adam originally had before the fall. The source of God’s nature: love, light and life, that was severed by sin has been completely restored to us in Christ Jesus. 1St John 4:17 says it like this:
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”
Do you see it? As Jesus is, so are we in this world. As He is right now glorified up in Heaven seated at the right-hand of God the Father, far above all principalities and powers, above all enemies, so are we. When? Sometime later when we get to Heaven? No, now! In this world!
My friends, this is our identity in Christ. This is the authority and power that we have in Him.
The last scripture we are going to look at today is Luke 10:19-20:
“Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
Jesus says here, Behold, which means Look and see! There are many believers today who are waiting for things to happen instead of seeing that they are already done. And what does Jesus want us to see here? That He has given us power over all of the enemy forces. Notice that He says that He has given us power to tread on them. In Ephesians 6:15 we are told that the shoes we are to put on are the Gospel of Peace. The enemy has only one tactic by which to subjugate us, and that is by troubling our heart and stealing our peace. (1st Peter 5:7-8). But as we remain in the peace of God in Christ Jesus, the enemy will never be able to steal anything from us.
Notice also that by treading on the enemy as Jesus says, we are not standing toe-to-toe and face-to-face with the enemy. We are stepping on and over him! This is not a narrow victory after a hard-fought battle, but a total domination. It’s only difficult and hard if we try to fight, but as we remain in our identity in Christ, He has already won the battles for us, and we are just doing the treading with His boots of Peace.
This is your identity in Christ, and we see from verse 20, that indeed the spirits are subject to us in Christ Jesus. Yet the most valuable benefit we have from Him is not even that, but guaranteed salvation purchased by His blood, as His body was crushed for us.
I encourage you today, don’t live another second below your means. Don’t neglect your authority and identity in Christ for one more moment. Embrace what He has paid to give you. It’s already yours, just reach out and receive it. This is who you really are in Jesus Christ.