I AM ACCEPTED
Who Am I? Seeing Your True Identity Through God’s Eyes ❧ Part 10
Today we’re going to wrap up our series on our identity in Christ. Three months ago I shared with you that one of the greatest spiritual disabilities many believers struggle with is they don’t know who they really are or why they are here. They are suffering from a serious condition of what I labeled: A.C.I.D. (Acute Crisis of Identity Disorder). Those who suffer from this disorder are stuck in spiritual quicksand. They may look put together on the outside, but on the inside, they’re coming apart. Their inner walk with God is marked by emptiness and frustration. Something is missing.
For many believers the Christian life is little more than an exhausting self-improvement plan. We’re repeatedly challenged to be committed, to change, to do better, to do more. And when we don’t, we’re made to feel guilty and ashamed. We tried but failed. We didn’t measure up. Determined to try harder, we muster our willpower, pick ourselves up, and try again only to find ourselves right back to where we started. We neither seeing lasting changes or compelling satisfaction in our walk with Christ. We are left feeling unchanged on the inside. Something is missing.
Jesus said He came to give us life and give it abundantly (John 10:10). The abundant life Jesus came to give us is found in having a true knowledge Who God is and who we are as His children. My prayer for you over the past number of months is that God has been showing you who you really are as His child and as a result God has shown you what is missing.
This morning we’re going to wrap up our journey of coming to grips with what is missing: our identity in Christ. This final message is entitled: I am accepted. What It Means to Be Accepted in Christ: 1) I am secure, and 2) I am victorious.
I. I am secure. Many believers wrestle with God’s complete acceptance of them. They are unsure whether or not God fully accepts them. The problem is they don’t understand the basis of God’s acceptance. God want you to know His acceptance of you is based entirely on Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will (Ephesians 1:5). Every believer, regardless of where you come from or what you’ve done, is accepted by God because of Jesus Christ. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). God want us to be secure in His acceptance. Are you secure?
Let me ask the same question this way: Are you a monkey Christian or are you a cat Christian? This really is an important question. Have you ever noticed how a mother cat carries her young – by the knap of the neck? The baby kitten’s security rests completely on her mother’s ability to carry her. The baby monkey grasps its mother’s neck with its tiny paws – and hangs on for dear life! So, let ask you again, are you a monkey Christian or a cat Christian? Does the security of your relationship with God rest your ability to hang on to God or does it depend on God’s ability to hold on to you? Important question, isn’t it? Does God accept you based on your works, your effort to hang on to Him – a monkey Christian? Or, by God’s grace of holding on to you through Christ – a cat Christian? Amazingly, many Christians have confused grace and effort. God’s acceptance of you does not depend on you. It depends completely on Christ. Let me give you two more truths to strengthen your security in Christ’s hold of your life.
A. I have the promise of Jesus. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day (John 6:39). Jesus assures us that not one person God has given Him will be lost. Once you’ve sincerely turned from your sin and placed your trust in Christ, Jesus guarantees your eternal destiny is secure in Him. We’re not secure because of our effort to hold on to Jesus, but His effort to hold on to us! Elsewhere, Jesus says, Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life (John 5:24). Jesus speaks of our salvation as past tense, we’ve already passed out of death into life.
I know there are some who believe we can reject our salvation once we have it, that is remove God’s hold of us. We’re wading into the subject of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Charles Spurgeon probably had the best response. When a church member asked him how he reconciled God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, he replied, “I never try to reconcile friends.” That’s a topic for another message.
I believe what God begins; He completes (Phil. 1:6). Several chapters later Jesus affirms this same promise: My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand (John 10:27–29). Jesus makes an amazing promise – His sheep (genuine believers) cannot and will not perish. He promises that nothing can snatch them out of His hand. If this were true, then His promise of eternal life would not be eternal. By definition eternal life cannot be conditional and eternal at the same time.
B. I have the presence of the Holy Spirit. In Him, you also, after listening to the message
of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:13-14). Paul says after hearing and believing the gospel of our salvation, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. This seal is the seal of God’s ownership. Paul is using a picture his readers would immediately understand. When a king wrote a letter, he would pour wax on the closed letter and stamp it with his official seal verifying the integrity and authority of the letter. Paul is saying we are sealed by the authority and integrity of God guaranteeing our redemption; our arrival one day in Heaven.
God’s acceptance means we can be secure. We don’t need to live in fear wondering if our grip on God will last until we get to Heaven.
II. I am victorious.
A. My victory is certain. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him
who loved us (Romans 8:37). I love the amazing truth this verse tells us! There are two important truths I want us to see. First, it says God does not give us just enough power to squeak out a victory. It says He gives us overwhelming power! Not just enough, but more than enough! The word overwhelmingly is the word ὑπερνικάω. We get the word Nike from it which means victory. But this word is even stronger (ὑπερ – above and νικάω – to conquer). It means to be more than victorious: to be completely and overwhelmingly victorious. Because Christ has made us more than conquerors, we do not need to fear life or death, things present or things to come. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
Second, this verse tells us we are not striving for victory, but from victory. We are already overwhelming conquerors in Christ! There are no conditions attached – If you do this, God will do that. Our victory is already secure. All that’s left is for us to believe it. This leads to the second point: our victory is now. We don’t have to wait for it.
B. My victory is now. But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and
manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place (2 Corinthians 2:14). This means nothing can keep you from living out your new identity in Christ, nothing that is except one thing – you. The only thing that can stand in the way of you being free from condemnation, free from the past, free from fear is you. The flip side of this is equally true. The only thing that can make your new identity a reality is you. You can choose to believe and accept it or not. Either way, it is up to you.
Testimony: Heather Keiser
I wonder though, how many of us will step into Heaven and realize too late the victory that was already ours while we were here on earth? Much like the generation of Israelites who refused to enter the promise land only to realize after they died it was theirs for the taking.