Monday, March 17, 2008

Who do we think we are?




I would like to continue my thoughts on what it means to be “born again,” and on the change that resulted in our lives when we accepted Jesus as our savior.

The bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new, and all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ….” (2 Cor. 5:17-18)

Simply put, this is talking about a spiritual change that occurs in our “spiritual man” when we accept Jesus as our savior. All of the old is passed away; that is, the old sinful inner person that we were and all the works of that sinful person are gone, passed away… and all things are now become new and holy and Christ-like… all things are of God.

As I said in an earlier article, this change is an inner change and in order to get this inner change from the inside to the outside, we must begin to believe that this change is really so. That is, we need to believe that we are no longer the sinner we used to be but are now saints of God, having God’s very nature and made in his image. (This is called “living by faith;” or “walking in the spirit.” It is putting faith in what Jesus has done for us spiritually.) Paul teaches that this alone will bring the “outer” transformation we need to truly live a Christ-like life. (Rom. 7:18-19; 12:1-2)

It is good to note here that sinners are not sinners because they sin, and saints are not saints because they don’t sin. All human beings sin. Sinners are sinners because they have not accepted Jesus as savior and have not taken on the new nature that comes from being born again. They still have the nature of sin which all men inherited from Adam. (Rom. 5:12) Saints, on the other hand are saints because they have accepted Jesus as savior, and now have a new nature, the nature of Christ within them. This is the “new creature” that Paul talks about and is not based on what we do but on what we believe.

What I would like to do for a few moments is to look at this new nature, this “new creature” that we have been made, and see what we are really like on the inside after we have received Jesus as our savior. This will make all the difference in the world, because if we know how God has changed us and choose to believe that that is the way we are, it will affect the way we live… “For as he (a man) thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Pr.23:7 parenthesis mine)

The question is, “who do we think we are?”

If Christians think that they are sinners, if they think they are weak, if they think that they are afraid, sick, poor, problem filled or anything else un-Christ-like, that is the way they will be. But if we think that we are the righteousness of God, if we believe we are saints, if we believe we are strong, wise, free and Christ-like, “that” is the way we will be.

Even natural psychology understands this principle and the power of how we think about ourselves. They know that just thinking positively affects the way we feel and the way we act. The difference is, they are dealing with natural power and though profitable will gain only natural affects, and those affects will be limited. But when we put our faith in God’s word and in the change the word has produced within us, we will have the supernatural power of God’s word at our fingertips. And the word of God always has the power to bring itself to pass when believed in. (Isa. 55:11) That is how the “impossible” comes to pass.

So, let’s look at what the bible says about us as “born again” Christians. It says this… “as he is (talking about Jesus) so are we in this world." (1 Jn. 4:17 parenthesis mine) The bible says that we are just like Jesus is, only in this world. Now that is so big, it is hard to comprehend; and that is because there is no end to who the Lord is and what he is like, and yet the amazing thing is, we are just like he is! However, to keep this simple and practical, I’d like to first take a look at what Jesus was like when “he” was in this world. This will begin to give us an indication of what “we” are like in this world.

First of all, (at least in my mind), what I noticed about Jesus was that before he allowed evil men to take his life; there was no one, nor anything that could harm him. Though he was constantly under pressure of attacks of the devil and of evil men, Jesus had complete and total protection. No one and no thing could lay a finger on him. And then going beyond that, before Jesus allowed evil men to take his life, he was always healthy, and always whole; spirit, soul and body. He had all wisdom, compassion, love, patience and understanding. He had no need go unmet and was always in God’s perfect will. He had the correct answer for every problem that faced him and went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. He not only resisted evil successfully in his own life, but overturned it wherever he went. He had no faults, was perfect and righteous in all his ways, and never fell to any temptation of sin. All in all, he was just like God. And “we” are just like he is! Wow!

But wait; if that seems a lot to believe about ourselves, the bible stretches our thinking and our faith even more. The truth is; now that Jesus is in heaven, (after having spoiled principalities and powers) he holds a greater position than when he was on the earth. He now says, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Mt. 28:18) Wow again! Listen to what Paul prays for and wants us to realize: (A little long here but well worth it!)

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet…” (Eph. 1:18-22 NIV)

As Christians, we actually have the same power residing within us that raised Jesus from the dead! And we are seated with Christ in a place of authority over evil. (Eph. 2:6) Can you believe this about yourself? Yes you can! Because it is true, and Paul prays that we realize that. How else would we be able to do what Jesus said we’d do; (and that is, that we would do the same works “he” did and even greater), unless we were like him and seated with him? (Jn 14:12)

Imagine now what would occur if we ALL started believing this about ourselves. What would happen is that we would become just like that which we believe. Over the course of time, all of us, within our own calling and sphere of influence would be going about doing good, healing those oppressed by the devil, and destroying the works of evil everywhere in the wisdom and power of Jesus himself. Whew!

Too far fetched …? Listen to another scripture from Ephesians:

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4: 11-13)

We are ALL, (as individuals and as a whole) supposed to come unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. And it will only come when in unity we believe what the bible says about us. It will never come by trying harder.

So, let’s unite by believing God’s word together. Let us allow God’s word to rule and overrule our own thinking. Even if it is hard to believe or it doesn’t seem that it is so or could be possible, let’s… “Trust in the Lord with all our heart; and lean not unto our own understanding. In all our ways acknowledge him, (and what he says) and he shall direct our paths.” (Pr. 3:5 parenthesis and paraphrase mine)

When we comply with the New Testament by believing what it says about us, in time, we will be transformed and we will be able to do and say the same as Jesus when he said,

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Lk. 4:18-19)

It is just a matter of who we think we are.

Posted by John B. Agati
Author of : “Suffering, (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www. jbagati.com

1 comment:

Reginald said...
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