Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blog Post By Tullian Tchividjin-What Establishes Your Identity?

Christians need the Gospel too: every single day! Christians need to meditate on the Gospel and all its implications constantly. The Gospel insights of this post by Tullian Tchividjin is exactly the kind of thing all of us Christians ought to "preach to ourselves" every day.

So, stop listening to that accusing voice inside your head that is telling you that you are not doing enough, that you are failing God, that God is displeased with you and that you need to do more. Your feelings are subjective and have nothing to do with your true standing in Christ.

Instead, talk to yourself  and constantly reflect on the objective Truth of the Gospel that liberates you from such legalistic thinking and bondage to an unbiblical mindset (which I myself suffer from all the time every day!). Here's an example of preaching the Gospel to yourself I made in a previous post.

["I am forgiven, not on account of my good deeds, service, and faithfulness, but because Christ paid the penalty I deserve. It is finished! He has given me His righteousness as a gift through faith. God did not save me because of my good works, therefore, I cannot ever lose my salvation because of my sin. I have been adopted into His family. All hostility between me and my Creator is forever  vanquished....

...His finished work 2000 years ago gives me liberty to glorify God in whatever situation I am in. My ministry does not mean that it must take place in the context of church. I can fulfill God's calling and  live a life that is pleasing to Him, even in the most boring, and mundane circumstances. I dare not trust my subjective feelings, but meditate on the objective Truth of what the Scriptures teach regarding my righteous standing before God. I need not be burdened with misplaced shame and guilt because I don't think I have done enough to please God. I can boldly declare that God will never look upon me disapprovingly, even when I keep committing the same besetting sins over and over again. In His sight I am perfect as Christ is perfect!"]    

If you are a Christian, you can stop "doing" to establish your identity because your identity has already been irrevocably established in Christ!

Here is Tullian Tchividjin's post on your identity in Christ and how that fact liberates Christians from slavish thinking and unjustified guilt.

Read and let it all sink in! God bless you, Casey

When most of us stop long enough to consider what establishes our identity, what really makes us who we are, many of us act as if the answer to this consideration is “our performance.” In Who Will Deliver Us, Paul Zahl expands on this:

If I can do enough of the right things, I will have established my worth. Identity is the sum of my achievements. Hence, if I can satisfy the boss, meet the needs of my spouse and children, and still do justice to my inner aspirations, then I will have proven my worth. There are infinite ways to prove our worth along these lines. The basic equation is this: I am what I do. It is a religious position in life because it tries to answer in practical terms the question, Who am I and what is my niche in the universe? On this reading, my niche is in proportion to my deeds. In Christian theology, such a position is called justification by works. It assumes that my worth is measured by my performance. Conversely, it conceals, thinly, a dark and ghastly fear: If I do not perform, I will be judged unworthy. To myself I will cease to exist.

The gospel frees us from this obsessive pressure to perform, this slavish demand to “become.” The gospel liberatingly declares that in Christ “we already are.” While the world, the flesh, and the Devil constantly tempt us to locate our identity in something or someone smaller than Jesus, the gospel liberates us by revealing that our true identity is locked in Christ. Our connection in and with Christ is the truest definition of who we are.

If you’re a Christian, here’s the good news: Who you really are has nothing to do with you—how much you can accomplish, who you can become, your behavior (good or bad), your strengths, your weaknesses, your sordid past, your family background, your education, your looks, and so on. 

Your identity is firmly anchored in Christ’s accomplishment, not yours; his strength, not yours; his performance, not yours; his victory, not yours. Your identity is steadfastly established in his substitution, not your sin. As my friend Justin Buzzard recently wrote, “The gospel doesn’t just free you from what other people think about you, it frees you from what you think about yourself.”
You’re free!

As I said in my previous post, now you can spend your life giving up your place for others instead of guarding it from others—because your identity is in Christ, not your place.

Now you can spend your life going to the back instead of getting to the front—because your identity is in Christ, not your position.

Now you can spend your life giving, not taking—because your identity is in Christ, not your possessions.

Paul speaks of our “having been buried with him [with Christ] in baptism,” in which we “were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). Our old identity—the things that previously “made us”—has been put to death. Our new identity is “in Christ.” We’ve been raised with Christ to walk “in newness of life”—no longer needing to depend on the “old things” to make us who we are.

All this is our new identity—all because of Christ’s finished work declared to us in the gospel.

When we truly see and understand all these aspects of what we’ve become in Jesus Christ, what more could we possibly ever want or need when it comes to our self-identity? Here in Christ we have worth and purpose and security and significance that makes utterly laughable all the transient things of this world that we’re so frequently tempted to identify ourselves by.

Excerpted from my forthcoming book Jesus + Nothing = Everything

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