Your True Identity: Part 1
Jul 03, 2006
The Bible often tells us how people receive new names. Jacob became Israel, Joshua became Jehoshua, Jedidiah became Solomon, and so on. Names given by God identify the relationship with Him described by the meaning of the name.
The name Israel, for instance, was the name God gave to Jacob after his relationship with God was upgraded from being a usurper to one who recognized that God Commands. Jacob was not an Israelite until he was 98 years old, because it took that long for him to recognize that God really was sovereign--even over Esau and Laban.
Jacob came face to face with Peniel, the face of God, in Gen. 32:24-30; and thus, the next day, empowered by that revelation, he was able to say to Esau, "therefore I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God" (Gen. 33:10). In other words, Jacob became an Israelite when he could see God's face in Esau. He understood that God was in all things, working out every circumstance for his good.
Likewise it is for us. No mere descendant of the man called Israel can claim that Israel is the name of his relationship with God. Not by virtue of his genealogy. Each person must grow into that knowledge and faith. It matters little what men call themselves or others. The only ultimate reality is what God calls us. Only overcomers are true Israelites in the eyes of God.
But let us probe deeper into this matter of Identity to go beyond the name of our relationship (covenant) with God. Let us get down to who we actually ARE.
The carnal mind identifies with Adam by right of genealogy. The spiritual mind, however, identifies with the Last Adam, Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:45). In Romans 7 Paul portrays the inner conflict between these two identities. The spiritual mind serves the law of God, while the flesh serves the law of sin (Rom. 7:25).
Both the carnal mind and the spiritual mind have conscious awareness. Each has a will. Likewise, the body has a physical mind called the "brain."
We are temples of God in which God's presence resides (1 Cor. 3:16). Like the tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon, we are a single person divided into three parts: Spirit, Soul, and Body. Adam's original sin disrupted and inverted the natural order of authority, putting the soul into revolt against the spirit. This caused us to identify ourselves with the rebellious (carnal) soul, rather than with the spirit.
But as we submit the soul to the authority and leading of the spirit, and as we come back into proper divine order, the true identities of spirit, soul, and body emerge. The true identity of the spirit is Love. The true identity of the soul is Faith. The true identity of the body is Hope. These three are all us, but the greatest of these is Love.
Love is who you are--as you were created to be. Love commands Faith (the soul), because Faith comes by hearing/obeying (Rom. 10:17). To hear and to obey are the same word in the biblical languages. That is the role of the soul that is submitted to the spirit. That is the role of Faith submitted to Love.
The body is Hope, because it is third in line of authority and must wait with patience for redemption (Rom. 8:23, 24).
The soul and the body are structures derived from Love's command. All structure is derivative and is therefore not capable of ruling. The soul and body were created as servants to the spirit, and as long as that divine order is maintained, one can never make a mistake. True Love always fulfills the whole law.
There is, of course, much imitation love in the world that is the rebellious soul's feeble attempt to correct what it sees as a flawed Love of the spirit. Because the soul cannot comprehend the Love of God shining forth from the spirit, it revolts against it and attempts to replace it with something lesser that it can understand. But all such imitations are dualistic manifestations that pit love against hate or against fear or against some other soulish emotional flaw. In reality, Love has no opposites, only alternatives.
In the world of theology, men discuss the opposing concepts of God's sovereignty vs. free will. Man's soulish mind automatically interprets dualistically, as if these concepts are opposites. The spirit, however, has a singular perspective, for it is not double minded and needs no opposites to comprehend anything. In reality, only Love (the spirit) has free will for it is your link with God.
Both the soul and the body are servants and must do as they are told. The soul has become a carnal "freedom fighter," attempting to achieve independence, but the more it succeeds, the more it finds itself mired in bondage. The soul and body can only find freedom in the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Their freedom is derived from the spirit, for they are derivative by nature.
Your spirit is the residence of the presence of God, just as the presence of God formerly resided in the Most Holy Place in the old temple. In Col. 1:27, Paul speaks of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." When Christ entered your temple, even as the glory at one time entered Solomon's temple, this New Man began to rule in Love. Even as the sperm enters the egg to create a new being, so also the Holy Spirit (Ark of the Covenant) entered your human spirit (Most Holy Place) to create a New Man.
This New Man was conceived by a Virgin Birth and grows outward to fill the soul and to redeem the body. This is like a pregnancy. Hence, 1 John 3:9 says (literally): "Whoever is begotten of God does not commit sin; for His seed abides in him, and he cannot sin, because he [this New Man] has been begotten of God."
That holy seed within your spirit cannot sin, because it is Christ in you. Like Jesus Himself, this New Man has a heavenly Father (God) and an earthly mother (you). It is the offspring of both God and you. That is how we "become the sons of God" (John 1:12). Your spirit is already, even now, the son of God (1 John 3:2), through the same spiritual process that Jesus Himself became the Son of God. Your soul is becoming the earthly expression of the spirit, while the body is the expression of the soul.
This New Man is your true Identity. It is incapable of sinning, no matter how much your body or soul may fall into sin. The true Christian life is a matter of putting to death the old man (Adamic identity) and submitting to the will of Love. This involves seeing the world through a whole new mindset through the eyes of the New Man.
Yet beware of the great counterfeit called Wishful Thinking, also known as Positive Thinking. This is the soulish mind's attempt to be independently spiritual in its own right, as an alternative to truly submitting to the spirit as the Source of true spirituality. The Spirit sees the world with innocent perception as it really is, warts and all. It is not helpful to ignore the fact that the soul is in revolt against the spirit. The soul's "alternate reality" is actually another form of ignorance, for it ignores the problem. The spirit simply Loves in spite of the problem, for it knows that ultimately, all things will go back into God,
"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things, to whom be glory for ever. Amen."(Rom. 11:36)
As members of the New Gideon's Army, we are being trained by God to command by Love and to recognize the imitation leadership that the carnal mind sets forth as a substitute for the real. To know the difference, understand first that "God is Love" (1 John 4:16). Everything else is just details.
This is the first part of a series titled "Your True Identity." To view all parts, click the link below.