I recently discovered that someone has put videos of one of my favorite speakers on YouTube. So, watching YouTube for a short while on Saturday morning has become part of my devotions. One of the things this person seems to do is generate “sound bites.” That is, he says one or two sentences that stick in your brain. One that I have been thinking about recently is: “God does not relate to us according to our behavior; God relates to us according to our identity.”
Why is this important?
If God relates to us according to our behavior, the burden rests with us. And, therefore, no one would be saved, because we continue to fail. At best, we would need to continually choose to follow Jesus. But, with God, whose standards are perfection, we would never know.
If God relates to us according to our identity, before we choose allegiance to Jesus, we are sinners, enemies of God, and rebellious. We have broken his law and deserve condemnation. After we choose to follow Jesus, our identity changes. Even though we still sin, we are not who we once were. We are “in Christ,” children of God, citizens of his kingdom, priests of God Most High … to name a few. And the burden rests with him.
(I have a list of 67 items that comprise our identity, once we are in Christ. I don’t know if I will post all 67 items. But I have decided that I ought to think about all 67. If these things comprise my identity, then understanding them gives me greater understanding of how god views me, and what my life should be like.)
Our identity changes from something God hates to something God loves. Our identity changes from something God finds worthless to something God finds valuable.
Knowing God views me through the lens of my identity – an identity given to me when I gave Jesus my allegiance, an identity that was designed by God in eternity past, and forged on the cross – and not my behavior, gives me tremendous confidence in my relationship with God. My relationship does not stand on what I do, because I am not big enough, nor holy enough, to stand on my own. The burden rests with him. My relationship, my destiny, stands on what Jesus did and how God views my position with Jesus. And my position is “in Christ.” My identity is bound to him.