“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 NLT
So how exactly does truth set us free? Well, lots of ways, but here’s one truth we’re going to focus on today: our identity, specifically our new identity in Christ. Learning the truth about who we are, about who God says we are, and actually believing it has the potential to change everything about the way we live.
Ever think you aren’t enough? Smart enough, good-looking enough, spiritual enough, etc. Or maybe you let other people’s opinions of you have total control in your life? Ever make a decision based on what you thought someone else expected? Ever sinned and felt overwhelming shame afterwards? These things indicate that we have a sort of “spiritual identity crisis.” But there’s good news: knowing the truth about our identity sets us free from the lies that we and other people tell us. When we truly understand who God sees us as, that changes our entire perspective.
2 Corinthians says that we are a “new creation” in Christ; the old us is completely gone. No longer do our past mistakes or our even our current circumstances define us, only God defines us. And here’s what He has to say:
“You are beloved.”
Definition: “dearly loved”
God loves us perfectly, and we know that in our minds, but sometimes the depth of that love can be a little difficult to truly understand. Press into it though; seek God and ask Him to continue to show his love to you. Once it all clicks, you’ll be free from needing love or acceptance from other humans because you become confident in the Father’s love for you.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
Colossians 3:12 ESV
“You are forgiven.”
Definition: “given pardon”
Sin is anything we do that is against God: lying, cheating, gossip, murder, adultery, etc. The list goes on and on, and Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” Well that doesn’t sound very good… And what’s worse is it’s actually impossible for us to completely adhere to all of God’s commandments (Romans 3:23). But that’s sort of the point: His laws and our inability to follow them show us our need for a Savior. So, he sent Jesus to earth and through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, God has forgiven us of all of our sins. Every single one. So that shame we feel when we really mess up bad? Just let it all wash away, because you, friend, have been forgiven.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
“You are blessed.”
Definition: “made holy, sacred”
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
Genesis 12:2 ESV
In this verse in Genesis, God is talking to Abraham, saying that he will bless Abraham and his family in order for them to bless others. God does the same for us today when we follow Him. Pastor Jim has reminded us of this truth throughout our current sermon series , telling us not to believe the lie that we are blessed for our own sake, but remember that God has set us free to bless others. This can mean telling people about the incredible ways God has moved in our lives, or showing them love through material help. Either way, let’s just make it happen; pass on the blessings!
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
Allowing these truths about our identity in Christ to change how we live starts with us truly believing them. We must constantly be reminding ourselves of them, whether that’s post-it notes on our bathroom mirror, Bible verses we memorize, or reciting and praying these truths when we’re feeling like they can’t possibly be true. However it looks for you, make sure that you surround yourself with God’s truths, because, as Jesus told us, the truth really will set us free.