Gardendale Nazarene

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New Identity | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

New Identity

Yesterday, our denomination wrapped up General Assembly. General Assembly happens every four years. It is a great time of celebration, but it is also an opportunity to handle polity issues. These issues range from the way the church is run to theological issues.

What amazes me as I watched online this year, was the importance of identity.

Through all of the issues addressed, the issue at the heart of most theological issues was the importance of who we are as Nazarenes in 2017 (and the next four-years). We are a global church dealing with global issues. This does result in some headaches, but the sense of purpose and identity shined through the debates.

Identity was a central issue for Paul in Romans 6-8. Last Sunday, we looked at how Paul draws his thought from the Exodus. Paul is reminding the people of God, that God delivered His people from the slavery of Egypt to create a new people in Him. In the same way, God has delivered us from the slavery of sin to create a new people.

The beauty of this argument comes in a subtle shift of language from chapters 3-5 to chapters 6-8. Let's look at two verses as an example of this shift:
  • 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
  • 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Look at the first example. In this passage, Christ died for the ungodly (read- you and me!). He died for our sins.

Now, look at the second verse. Who died? We did! When He died, you died. When He arose, you arose.

What is Paul saying here? We identify with Christ and now my identity is found in Him.

You now have a new identity. You are no longer living for yourself, but for Christ!

We can see how this new identity changes our lives as Paul writes in Colossians 3:1-3, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

What do we do with this new identity?

We seek the things that are above.
We set our minds on things that are above.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Pastor John