Who Are You? (from Galatians 3:26-4:7)

To read the other posts in the Galatians series, click here. (They appear in reverse order.)

I remember going to church with a friend once when I was young. All I remember about the sermon that morning were the preacher’s opening words, stated very slowly and emphatically: “Who are you?” In my youthfulness, I replied in my head laughingly with my actual name. And that was about all that I remember or took away from the service that morning!

However, it is a good question. Who are you? Do you know who you are and what you have?

Before you read on, think about it. How do you first identify yourself?

Do you think, “I am so and so (insert name). I go such and such school. I work at x job. I have lots of friends. I go to church and have a small group. I drive a red car. I live in such and such town. I am a student making good grades. I am rich, or I am poor, or I am somewhere in between. I am a traveler. I am a sports player. I am a writer. I serve the needy. I give to such and such.”

You get the idea. When I ask, “Who are you?” those might be some things that come to mind, right?

Well, as I was all set to move into the next section of Galatians, I was re-reading some of what I’ve already studied, and it struck me how often Paul was saying, “you are” and “you were” and “you have.” He is giving them their identity in these verses in Galatians 3:26-4:7. And it’s also our identity as believers in Christ.

We live out of our identity, so we need to know who we really are. This is a most important question.

So listen to what Paul says:

Galatians 3:26: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Our faith in Christ has made us God’s child. Soak up that truth. When we believe by faith in Christ, we are a child of God. This speaks of intimacy and love. He knows us as His child, not a distant relationship. No longer enemies of God in our sin, we have become sons of God through Christ.

Galatians 3:27: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

Then as those baptized into Christ by faith, we have put on Christ. The NIV says they have “clothed” themselves with Christ. So now as a child of God, we have been baptized into him and literally put on Christ and are clothed with him.

Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew not Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

You are a child of God, baptized into him, putting on Christ, and you are one in Christ.

So as we read who we are, we see that each of these things come to us through Christ!

Galatians 3:29: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

These verses just keep building with more and more good news about our identity. If Christ’s, then Abraham’s seed and heirs to the promise. My notes say, “All people equally can become God’s heirs and recipients of His eternal promises.”

We who were once in bondage (Gal. 4:3) have been redeemed and adopted as sons (4:5).

Galatians 4:6: “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!'”

Also as children of God, we have God’s Spirit in our hearts! Can you even comprehend this wonderful truth?

Galatians 4:7: “Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

You are a son and heir, again, through Christ!

When someone wants to know who your are, consider thinking in this way, even if you don’t necessarily say it:

“By faith in Christ, I am a child of God. I have been baptized into Christ, and I have put on Christ. I am one in Christ. I am Christ’s. I am Abraham’s seed and an heir to the promise. I have been redeemed and adopted. I have the Spirit of God living in me. I am not a slave in bondage, but a son who is free and has an eternal inheritance.”

If you know then who you are, really know it in your heart and believe it in your mind, you will live differently, because we live out of who we think we are.

If we think we are just all the things that we do or that we are defined by what people think or say we are, then we will live trying to get people to think a certain way about us or trying to do more and more to prove our worth.

But when we know it is already established in Christ, we are free to live for him, undefined by the world and other people, living to please the One who has made us all these things.

Give praise and glory to His wonderful name, Jesus Christ, our Creator, Savior, King, Father, Redeemer, and Lord.

PRAYER: Lord, help us to know who we are in Christ, not just intellectually, but in the fibers of our being. Let these truths take hold because they truly define us and give us truth about you and ourselves out of which we can live. Free us from sin and bondage, from wrong thinking, from living to be defined by what we do and what people think of us, and deliver us into freedom in Christ, filled by your Spirit, by the power of your holy name. In Jesus name, Amen.

Verses for the Day: Galatians 4:1-7

Note: To find out about the verses for the day, click here. And to read the other posts in the Galatians series, click here. (They appear in reverse order.)

We’re halfway through Galatians!There are three crucial things in life that are all described in this passage today.

The first is the gospel by which we are saved.

We’ve seen in Galatians that there is one true gospel, the gospel of grace. It is not by the law. It is not of works. It is not according to man. Nothing should be added to it or removed from it. The simple gospel message is what Paul wrote in Galatians 1:4, “who [the Lord Jesus Christ] gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” The gospel is freedom from our sins through faith in Jesus Christ who gave His life for us. It brings deliverance and new life in Him.

A second key thing to understand in life is our identity.

We’ve also looked at this in Galatians already in our last passage. Galatians 3:26: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ.” When we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, then we are adopted as His child. This is our identity. We are made in His image and now children of God. Knowing our identity will shape what we believe about ourselves and who we let define us (God, not others) and how we live our lives. When we truly understand our identity as a child of God, as an heir, as adopted as His, it changes how we view everything.

A third key thing is knowing that our lives in Christ are lived by the power of the Holy Spirit given to us.

God doesn’t save us by grace and then leave us to just work hard and do our best, returning to law. We don’t have to live this life by our own strength, but in His. We don’t have to strive in our own power; He enables and helps us by His Spirit, given to us. It changes everything. Even if our actions look the same sometimes, the motivations and source of strength are altogether different and frees us to depend on Him and live a Spirit-filled life.

Much more could be said about each of these three things, but I point them out because today’s verses in Galatians 4:1-7 talk about all of these important truths of gospel, identity, and the gift of the Holy Spirit:

Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

We were in bondage, but verses 4-5: “When the fulness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” This is gospel truth — God sending forth His Son to redeem us — and our identity – being adopted as sons.

And as His sons, God has sent forth His Spirit into our hearts crying “Abba, Father!” God’s Spirit in our hearts as His child – what an incredible thought!

We are no longer a slave but a son, and as a son, an heir of God through Christ (verse 7).

Prayer: Praise you Lord Jesus for our redemption, our deliverance, our salvation, our adoption, and the gift of your Spirit in us when we are saved. By your sacrifice and love for us, through your death on the cross and resurrection, we become dead to our sins and alive to Christ, filled with your Spirit, able to live life in your strength, identified as heir and child of God. What wondrous things! Praise you and thank you! Let us remember that we are yours and let these truths seep into the deepest parts of our hearts so that we understand them and grasp more and more the massive truth of how much we are loved by you, how you have created us, saved us, and have plans for our lives. Let these words of truth become living realities in us all so that we grasp the wonder of what you have done for us and how you have made the way for us to be free and know you. In fact, you haven’t just made the way; you are the Way! We give you praise. We love you so. Thank you, Jesus. In your name, Amen.

Verse for the Day – Ephesians 2:10

The “verse for the day” project started through a series of daily emails I was sending my children. I began to then post them on my blog to keep a record and help me in doing this daily. Today, I relived for my children some of my high school experiences and introduced them to “my 9th grade self.” I thought they’d enjoy hearing about those transformational years and some of the key concepts I learned like finding my identity in Christ, not the opinions of peers, and the joy of following God and being who He designed me to be, not trying to be something I wasn’t.

Having our identity securely in Christ, we’re able to look outward to others and care for them and point them to Jesus, too. I love Ephesians 1 which tells us all that we have and are in Christ. I’ve written a little bit about those verses before here.

These memories brought me today to Ephesians 2:10:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)

“For we are His workmanship…”

This word means the result of labor and skill – can you picture that God used His skill to make you? He thought about you when He made you and designed you in a unique and wonderful way!

“…created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

We were created in Christ by His skill for good works that we should walk in them.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you that we are Yours, created by You with care and thought, made in Your image, with purpose. May we today walk in the good works that you prepared in advance for us to do. And may we know who we are in You, so they we aren’t shifted and shaken by the world, but we are standing on the Rock, stable and secure because of what You have done in and us for us in Christ. We love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Calling: Knowing Our Identity in Christ

I’m starting a series on “calling,” and today is the first post. 

Isaiah 43:1b, 7 (NKJV):

“I have called you by your name; You are Mine….

Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”

The first thought that comes to mind when I think of “calling” is “identity.” I like the verses above from Isaiah 43 where the LORD tells Israel that He called them by their name, and they are His. In the passage, we see that He created them, redeemed them, and formed them for His glory. He called them by His name, and they are His. This is their identity.

Ephesians 1 tells us that God does the same thing for us who are in Christ. In Christ, He has blessed us (v.3), chosen us (v.4), predestined us (v.5, v.11), adopted us (v.5), accepted us (v.6), redeemed us (v.7), forgiven us (v.7), made the riches of His grace abound toward us (v.8, 2:7), given us an inheritance (v.11), sealed us with the Holy Spirit (v.13), called us (v.18), loved us (2:4), created us for good works (2:10), and brought us near by the blood of Christ (2:13). And this is not even the full list!

The calling that God has for me and all those in Him will stem from our identity in Christ – the One who made us, saved us, and has given us life; we are His.

We must know our identity before we know our calling.

psalm 100 3