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The Real You
The Believer’s True Identity 

INTRODUCTION:

This series was taught at the Mountain View Bible Church, LaVerkin, Utah, adult Sunday School during February and March 2013.

The series consisted of two lessons on basic foundational truths and five lessons on the born again believer’s true identity in Christ.

This doctrine was core teaching in the Christian church for about 150 years until the mid 20th century. Since then the emphais has largely shifted to the responsibility of the Christian to live the Christian life without understanding the basis for spiritual growth. This series was intended to correct this deficiency.

While all born again believers understand that we are justified by faith alone in Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, many don’t realize that living for Christ is also by faith alone apart from works.

Christ paid the penalty for our sins through His substitutionary death and shed blood on the cross. But He has also delivered us from the power of our sin nature and from the rule of the law by this same death.

This deliverance is through our identification with Him as described in Romans chapters 6 to 8 and elsewhere in the Pauline Church Epistles. We, that is our old self, our old nature of sin, was crucified with Christ, was buried, was raised to new life, and we are now positionally seated with Christ in Heaven. We first of all must know this truth, must believe it, and then we must hand ourselves over to the Lord as our owner. We then live the Christian life only by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit as we allow Him to live His life in and through us.

A key principle is stated in Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinks so he is” . Jesus stated it this way “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. Any true spiritual growth and service for the Lord must come from a true understanding of exactly how God sees us and how He empowers us for service.

These truths are set forth in the following sections. An appendix includes summary handouts and the power point files that formed the basis of the teaching.

 

Lesson 1
The Image of God
Foundation #1

 Part 1

 Illustration:
95a2ce14f78ff900250f6a70670039c0 Candida Gutierez, a 32 year old schoolteacher from Houston had her identity stolen. She went to the bank to obtain a loan and found that she had a terrible credit rating. Investigation revealed that two years prior a woman had stolen her social security number and obtained two credit cards in her name. The crook ran these to the limit and made no payments. She used the stolen identity to get a job, a driver’s license, a mortgage, food stamps, and medical care for the birth of her two children. When confronted, the crook claimed she was the real person and that the school teacher had stolen her identity.
The only thing that could not be stolen was her citizenship. The teacher was greatly hampered in living her life and getting her identity recovered.

Background:

The Christian’s true identity in many if not most cases has been stolen. Stolen by many factors including false teaching, failure to teach this truth, failure or refusal to understand the teaching, etc.

Historical:

As one early 20th century Bible teacher noted, “The 1st reformation freed believers from bondage to Rome, but left them in bondage to law.” [Barnhouse] This has atrophied the spiritual life of countless believers since then.

The 2nd reformation beginning in the early 19th century saw a return to the Bible and amongst other things a return to identification teaching. This teaching of the born again believer’s true identity in Christ was understood and taught for ~150 years until the middle of the 20th century.

Since then, a number of factors have led to the theft of the believer’s identity. Some of these have been: false teaching, failure to teach these truths, failure or refusal to understand this teaching. Higher education undoubtedly played a role with the exaltation of human reason and skepticism. Mass evangelism with its emphasis on emotionalism left many born again believers without solid teaching.

The Real You:

Over the next few weeks we will seek to recover your true identity in Christ. We will start with some background foundational material.

Aliens:

If you are an alien your identity cannot be stolen – you don’t yet have one. So to be clear I am addressing those who have an identity: those who have been born again; those who have believed in Jesus; those who have a heavenly citizenship.

Key Verse:

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; … God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”” Genesis 1:26,27 NASB

THE IMAGE OF GOD
In order to know how man is made in the image of God we need to know what God is like. The first verse in the Bible informs us a lot about the nature of God.

Image of God Revealed:
First WordThis Hebrew word implies an ending as well as a beginning. This is like saying the 1st day of the week with the implication that there is a last day.

Second WordGod created everything from nothing. This is beyond human understanding.

 

Third wordThis is the plural form for God.  Subsequent verses speak of the Spirit of God and Word of God.

fourth wordGod created the heavens (plural) and the earth. This is the entire universe – the space, time, matter universe.

 

Image of God Restated:Triune
God is eternal – before the beginning – outside of time
God is all powerful – made the entire universe from nothing
God is a triune God (One God three persons)

  • This is the universal declaration of Scripture
  • Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  • Elohim – the plural name of God
  • The Spirit of God (verse 2), the Word of God (God said – verses 3, 6, etc.)

THE IMAGE OF MAN
Life:

       PlantsPicture1

  • Body only: God made the seasons (Genesis 1:14)
  • Plants have a body with biological life.

       AnimalsPicture2

  • Body and soul (Hebrew ‘Nephesh’ Genesis 1:20, 21, 24)
  • God gave the animals instinct (Jeremiah 8:7)
  • Animals have a body and soul, the ‘Nephesh’ (Hebrew) or Psyche (Greek),but their soul is neither eternal nor as complex as a human soul.

       Man  Picture3

  • Body, soul and spirit: (Genesis 2:7; 1 Thessalonians  5:23)
  • Man has a body, soul, and spirit made in the image of God.

 

MindWillEmotMind, Will, Emotions:

  •  Mind to know God, Will to choose God, Emotions to love God
  • Like God knows man (2 Tim.2:19), chooses man (Eph.1:3), and loves the world (Jn.3:16)

Triune2Triune:

  •  Three parts (body, soul, spirit) yet one being
  • Eternal but only into the future (eternal life or eternal death)

GodMan

“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” Genesis 2:7

 “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, …” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

circles1

 

Man as Created:

  • Man was created as male and female.
  • Adam and Eve were created perfect.
  • God, who is spirit, communicated with their spirit.
  • Their spirit then directed their soul and thence their body which interacted with the world.
  • They were given only two tasks – to reproduce and to rule over God’s creation

orange1

As created, man’s spirit was the strong man directing his entire being.

 

 

 

 

What happened?

  • Today – Foundation #1 – Man a Perfect Creation
  • What happened to change this picture?
  • Next week – Foundation #2 – we will see what happened

The Ruin

  • Man separated from the life of God

The Remedy

  • God wants to turn you Inside Out
  • Better than Eden

 

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