Understanding your identity is the foundation for a life of freedom.
God is good, Jesus has forgiven me, I am loved, and everything is possible. These are the most important truths in the universe and we want everyone to believe them. But why do they matter? These truths come from what we call the 3 Circles and these 3 Circles are the revelation that God has given us on the gospel.
And maybe you’ve heard the word gospel, and you believe that it’s a ticket to go to heaven someday. But the gospel means good news! And the good news is that the gospel is the life and victory of Jesus and it isn’t just so you and I can get to heaven someday, it’s so we can live an abundant, & free life today, a life defined by hope!
And it all starts with Circle 1. But before we get there, we need to understand why all of THIS, why the Gospel truly is good news!
One of the reasons it’s good news is because it reminds us of why Jesus came , He came to restore what was lost.. so let’s talk about it for a minute…
To see what we have gained in Jesus, we have to first realize what we lost in Adam. In the book of Genesis, God created the earth for us, a perfect place to live a perfect life with the perfect God. We were to live as beloved sons and daughters walking with God living a life of purpose, to rule and reign with God over all creation. There was only one thing—just one thing—that we were told not to do. God told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and if they did, they would die. And what did they do? They ate the fruit from that tree. Like c’mon Adam!!!! You had one job LOL !! And in only three chapters, the course of humanity was changed forever. In that moment, we lost our identity, our relationship with God & each other, and we lost our purpose. We all became broken and lost.
As a result we started to live in shame and fear. We tried to fix what we broke. We tried to save what had been lost. We tried to earn a relationship with God, to earn forgiveness for our failures. But our striving didn’t bring back what God created, instead it created religion: a man-made philosophy of striving and trying harder. Religion is man’s search for God. The Good News is that Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He doesn’t make us go looking for hope, Jesus came to bring hope to us!
It’s also Good News because God already had a plan to restore everything that was lost in Adam! This is where we jump into the 3 Circles.
Circle 1 is all about our identity because it’s all about receiving His Grace. When we receive His grace, our identity changes. Because of Adam’s failure, we were born in a prison of sin. (Romans 5:19a) “Through the disobedience of the one man (Adam), the many were made sinners.” Adam’s failure totally wrecked our identity. Now we are born as sinners, that is our identity at birth. You are not a sinner because you sin, you sin because you are a sinner. Let me say that again – because it needs to soak in: You are not a sinner because you sin – you sin because you ARE a sinner. It’s completely an identity issue.
Circle 1 – Identity
No matter how hard we try to change our behavior, we will fail without Jesus. Our attempts always end in failure. Why do we fail? Because we’re trying to change our behavior when what needs to change is our identity. Jesus is the only one who changes our identity. Our attempts to try harder will never accomplish what God has already accomplished through Him.
God gave us Jesus to get us out of the prison of sin and adopt us into His family. John 1:12 says, “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Jesus gave us identity and a position of righteousness. We see this in Romans 5:19 “For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man (Jesus), the many will be made righteous.” Without Jesus, we were sinners trapped in a prison and just like there was nothing good we could do to get out of that prison of sin, there’s nothing bad we can do to get out of the position of righteousness in Jesus. Righteousness sounds like a big churchy word, but it just means being in right standing with God.
Think about a relationship where things aren’t exactly right. Maybe after a disagreement with a friend or maybe with your parents. That relationship is strained, there is tension, maybe you avoid contact with each other, and avoid conversations. It’s awkward right? Now think about a relationship where everything is great – maybe after you’ve worked through the disagreement and forgiven each other. That relationship is comfortable, it feels warm, you enjoy conversations and spending time together. The right standing we have with God, because of Jesus, enables us to experience that type of relationship with Him. Our identity isn’t changed by our behavior, it’s changed by our belief. When we believe and receive the grace of Jesus, our identity is completely changed.
The problem was that back in the garden, Adam made the choice to sin against God and we lost our identity, we lost all hope as a result. Our only option was death, but Jesus came to give us life by offering His grace. Romans 6:23 tells us “the penalty of our sins is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus.” There are three big church words we hear often when we talk about the forgiveness of sins through the death of Jesus: judgment, mercy, and grace.
Imagine you stole a car, like an older Honda, but when the police arrest you, not only does the owner of that car decide not to press charges or send you to jail, and then he not only lets you keep that old car, but then he gives you a new LAMBO!!!! That’s grace! Not only does he cancel your debt, but he credited your account. Not only did you NOT get what you deserved, but you GOT something good you didn’t deserve.. that’s just like Jesus…
See, Judgment is: you get what you do deserve – Going to jail for stealing a car
Mercy is: you don’t get something bad you do deserve – Get out of going to jail for a crime you actually committed
Grace is: you get something good you didn’t deserve – You get a new Lambo in the process
Mercy is canceling the debt and grace is crediting the account. This is exactly what we get when Jesus cancels the debt we owe for our sin and credits our account with His righteousness. Grace is the undeserved favor of God, supernatural empowerment, and the life of Jesus flowing through us. His grace is not just the forgiveness of our sins, it is the complete transformation of our identity. I John 4:17 says, “As He is, so we are.” Because we are now completely transformed by the grace of Jesus, we have a new identity. It means Jesus is no longer a picture of who we can become, He is a mirror of who we now are. Talk about HOPE!!!! I know this can be difficult to wrap your mind around.. but it’s true! Check this out…
In Matthew 3:17, Jesus comes up out of the waters of baptism to hear God declare over Him, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This was before Jesus had even begun His ministry, before He had performed a single miracle. God declares this truth over you too! Before you do anything right, and even after you do everything wrong, in Jesus, the Father says, you are His beloved son, you are His beloved daughter, in whom He is well pleased. You don’t have to spend your life trying to get people to love you or be pleased with you because your Father already loves you and is pleased with you.
AND HERE’S THE THING,
We can’t have a dual identity. We can’t be both an orphan and a beloved son/daughter. We can’t be both a sinner and a righteous person. We are not sinners saved by grace. We were sinners with no hope, no family, no future … but now in Jesus we are righteous, we have a new identity, we have been adopted into a family, we are not just going to heaven someday, we are able to live an abundant life today. We have to decide if we’re going to receive this truth; we have to decide if we are going to have more faith in what God has said or in how we feel.
It is by grace through faith that we have been saved, not by works. (Ephesians 2:8) It is through Jesus and what He has done that we are saved. We are completely transformed, and we are in right standing with God. We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus not because we live righteously – but because of Jesus.
God gives us a physical picture of this spiritual truth. Think about a butterfly – the perfect example of transformed identity, of metamorphosis. Before it was a butterfly it was a caterpillar. There is nothing it can do now to go back to be a caterpillar, it has a totally new identity – just like us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” In Jesus that’s absolutely true of you too!
Circle 1 – identity – this is literally the most important thing. Romans 10:17 says that “faith comes by hearing”, so the more you hear about this, the more you’re actually going to start believing it for yourself. And It takes a while to actually start to believe this and live this, but if you can start to get this it will change your life. That’s the journey you’re on with Jesus, a journey of freedom! One that’s full of hope!
When we started this conversation we told you there are 3 circles. Circle 1, Identity, receiving his grace is where it all begins, but there is so much more… When we start to receive His grace in our lives and our identity has been restored, we move into Circle 2. Be sure to check that out in the next video.