Who are we in Christ?

We were created by God in his own image to be his own child, to do what He wants, when, where and how He wants, in order to get the results He wants.

And He made us with free will to choose to be and do that, or not.

Since starting this study, almost every day the Holy Spirit brings me another scripture with another facet of our identity in Christ to add to my notes. The following is in sort of a haphazard order, despite my attempts to make a logical step-by-step list.

I’m sure there are other descriptions and scriptures that could be added so I’m not going to publish this as “all inclusive.” Now and then He tells me, “It will ALL be helpful, you’ll see,” so I keep listening, keep studying, keep praying, and typing.

(If you get bored with this long list, just quit reading, but please don’t quit thinking about this subject, or asking the Lord for yourself: WHO AM I? He’ll find a way to answer you.)

How we live our daily lives, how we share God’s word, how we witness, even how we pray and intercede, are all related to that one essential question:

Who are we in Christ?

  • “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
  • We are in Christ, everything else is derived from that truth. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:28, John 14:20
  • We are also inhabited by God: (1) by the Father, (2) by Jesus, and (3) by the Holy Spirit, John 14:17-23. All the Trinity make their home inside us.
  • We were created in God’s image, Genesis 1:27
  • Chosen, (1) He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, Ephesians 1:4; (2) God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, 2 Thessalonians 2:13; (3) you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9
  • Forgiven of all sins, Colossians 2:13-14
  • Free, not condemned, Romans 8:1-2
  • Saved by grace, God’s free gift to us, Ephesians 2:8
  • … through faith, also a gift from God, Ephesians 2:8
  • … faith that comes by hearing and believing God’s word, Romans 10:17
  • … his own faith was offered by Jesus to the disciples and to us, Mark 11:22
  • We are now the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Made an entirely new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Sons of God, adopted; also led by the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:14-16
  • Heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, Romans 8:17
  • Made one spirit with Him, I Corinthians Cor. 6:17
  • Friends of Jesus, John 15:13-15, also see 2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23
  • Taught by the Holy Spirit, who will also bring back to our remembrance whatever Jesus taught us; He will also show us the future, John 14:26
  • God’s workmanship, Ephesians 2:10, also see verse 8
  • Being changed (metamorphosized) from glory to glory, 2 Corinthians 3:18, also see Colossians 1:27
  • Unfinished; God began a good work in me and will continue to perform it, Philippians 1:6;
  • A life-long learner; I am continually learning and adding to what I have received and know, 2 Peter 1:3-8
  • God’s workers to do what he ordained for us beforehand, Ephesians 2:10
  • Co-laborers (co-workers) with God to do those things, 1 Corinthians 3:9; also see 2 Corinthians 6:1
  • As Jesus is, so are we in this world, I John 4:17
  • Imitators of God and of Christ, the word “followers” is literally translated imitators, Ephesians 5:1
  • Imitators of Paul as he imitates Christ, I Corinthians 4:16, 11:1
  • Seated with Christ in the heavenly places, Ephesians 2:6, also see 1:20-23
  • Spiritual warriors, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; in a war, whether we know it or not
  • Armed and armored, Ephesians 6:11-17
  • More than conquerors, Romans 8:37-39

What is our assignment?

  • Replenish planet earth, subdue it and have dominion over it, Genesis 1:26-28
  • Seek the kingdom of God, Matthew 6:33, Luke 12:31-32, which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” Romans 14:17
  • Because “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:31-32
  • Reign with him on earth now, in this lifetime, Romans 5:17, Revelation 5:10; 20:4-6; 22:5
  • Do what Jesus did, i.e make disciples, teach them to observe what he commanded the first disciples: (1) preach the kingdom, (2) heal the sick, (3) cleanse the lepers, (4) raise the dead, and (5) cast out demons; Matthew 28:18-20
  • Do even greater works, i.e. deeds, than Jesus did, John 14:12-13
  • Do the works ordained by God for us beforehand, Ephesians 2:10
  • Be co-workers with him, I Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:1
  • Be ambassadors for him, 2 Corinthians. 5:20
  • God is in us to will and to do his good pleasure; allow him to do that, Philippians 2:13
  • Do everything in love, I Corinthians 16:14 (agape, God-kind of love)
  • Walk (live, behave) in love, Ephesians 5:2
  • Give thanks in everything – no matter what happens around us, there are always things to be thankful for, I Thessalonians 5:18
  • Offer the sacrifice of praise, Hebrews 13:15
  • Pray without ceasing, I Thessalonians 5:17
  • Pray in the Spirit, Ephesians 6:18
  • Pray with all prayer and supplication, Ephesians 6:18
  • Pray God’s will and then we know we have what we requested, I John 5:14-15
  • Receive answers to prayer, thus receiving fullness of joy, John 15:11, 16:24
  • Note: many scriptures instruct believers to pray. None say pray for the sick, however, except for James 5:14: a sick person should call for the elders of the church who will anoint him with oil and then they pray over him. Jesus commanded disciples to heal the sick, not pray for the sick.

How can we do that?

  • Know God and Jesus, John 17:3
  • Be led by the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:14-16
  • Receive faith, Mark 11:22, Ephesians 2:8, Romans 10:17
  • Live by faith, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Galatians 2:20
  • Receive the baptism (and thus God’s power – dunamis) of the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:8
  • Be being filled with the Holy Spirit; this is a continuous verb, not a one-time event, Ephesians 5:18
  • Be a co-laborer with God, not a “lone ranger,” 1 Corinthians 3:9
  • Know who we are in Christ, know who God is and who the enemy is, John 10:10
  • Know our authority on the earth, Matthew 10:1, Luke 9:1, the same as the original disciples / apostles, Matthew 28:18-20
  • He gave them power and authority, Luke 9:1, 10:17-19, the 70 returned in joy; he gave them authority over all the power of the enemy; also applies to us
  • Fight the good fight of faith, 1 Timothy 6:12
  • Submit to God, then resist the devil, and he will flee from you, James 4:7
  • Resist the devil steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world, I Peter 5:9
  • Desire all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I Corinthians 12-14
  • Covet the best spiritual gifts (i.e. most appropriate for the need) I Corinthians 12:31; especially covet to prophesy, I Corinthians 14:39
  • Expect Jesus to manifest himself to us, John 14:21
  • Abide in him, allow his word to abide in us; then we can ask and it is done, John 15:7
  • Be transformed (metamorphosized) by the renewing, i.e. renovation of the mind (Greek word nous, way of thinking and understanding), Romans 12:2
  • We have the mind of Christ, his way of thinking and understanding as he is in us, 1 Corinthians 2:16
  • Take advantage of the information, training and equipment available in God’s word, 2 Peter 1:3-8
  • Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, Ephesians 6:10
  • Be spiritually armed and armored with the whole armor of God, Ephesians 6:11-17
  • Realize that we can do all things through Christ, Philippians 4:13
  • Allow the fruit of the spirit to grow and develop in our lives, Galatians 5:22-24
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, John 16:13
  • Live and walk (act, behave) in the spirit, Galatians 5:25
  • Continue living and acting by the spirit, not by keeping the law, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:1-3
  • Be patient after doing the will of God, Hebrews 10:36
  • Let patience do its perfect work so we will lack nothing, James 1:4
  • Be patient with joyfulness, Colossians 1:11
  • Be anxious for nothing, Philippians 4:6
  • Do not be troubled or afraid, John 14:27, 1 John 4:18
  • Let the peace of God rule in our heart, Colossians 3:15
  • Be humble, 1 Peter 5:5-6
  • Don’t think more highly of yourself than you should, Romans 12:3

Also see:

Paul’s prayers, good examples to pray for ourselves and others:

  • Be enriched in utterance and knowledge, 1 Corinthians 1:4-8
  • Have the spirit of wisdom and revelation, understanding the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints (Christians), Ephesians 1:16-19
  • Be strengthened… comprehend… filled with the fullness of God; read entire passage, Ephesians 3:14-19
  • Know and understand God’s will, Colossians 1:9,
  • Be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, Ephesians 5:17

God’s joy, my strength

FilledWithJoyWomanNoBirthdayMessageThe article below about Joy was originally posted on December 28, 2011.

2011 was a hard year for me. In January 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Most of that year was then spent undergoing chemotherapy, mastectomy, and radiation therapy.

I had serious side effects to all of those, including pretty bad radiation burns that cut short the number of those sessions. I published a personal diary of those adventures at the time, and some since then. (www.BettesJournal.wordpress.com)

The Lord told me clearly at the beginning of these adventures to “put the unbelievers out of the room.” He meant, for me not to talk about the diagnosis to everyone, only to Christians who truly believed God’s word – who truly  believed what Jesus said in John 10:10. I have an enemy out to kill me, who wants to steal my health and destroy my faith. But Jesus has come to give me life! Abundant life!

And so I didn’t tell many folks about the diagnosis or that blog, only several like-minded Christian friends who knew how to intercede according to the scriptures. No wishy-washy, 50-50 chance, fearful, doubtful, uncertain prayers were wanted. I got some of that kind nevertheless, but I also got many life-filled, love-filled, faith-confirming intercessory prayers too. Those were worth their weight in gold, believe me.

2011 was spent in a lot of Bible study, reading, and watching hundreds of miracle videos, preaching and teaching from evangelists, pastors, revivalists. It was spent filling my mind and soul and spirit with God. With his creative power, his life, his healing.

I didn’t publish many blog posts that year and ended the year with the post that follows: God’s joy, my strength. It was true then, it’s true now.

December 28, 2011

James 1:2 says “Consider it pure joy, my brethren, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (NIV)

That verse doesn’t say that whatever is going on will feel joyful. Trials don’t feel joyful but despite that, we should act as though they did. It will strengthen our faith (and will certainly drive the enemy crazy too!)

Well, I know by my own experience that that’s easier said than done. This lesson is for me.

John 14:1 – Jesus said “Let not your heart be troubled.” If Jesus said for us to do it, then we can do it. It is our job to prevent our heart from worrying.

Here’s one way: consider whatever is troubling us in the light of his power. His power, not ours. With the Holy Spirit living in us we can do it. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)

John 15:11 – Jesus said “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Can you imagine Jesus being joyful? Obviously he was. Luke 10:21 tells us that Jesus “rejoiced in the Spirit,” because he had sent out the seventy to minister in his name and they had returned successful.

What had he told the disciples? Here are some of those things:

  • John 15:7 – “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.”
  • John 16:24, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
  • John 16:23 – “My father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
  • John 8:31-32, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Set you free in the Greek means to ‘free you’, make you delivered, at liberty, free from bondage. Many people misquote those verses by leaving out the first sentence. But it’s a prerequisite for the second sentence — only if you are really a disciple of Jesus, holding to his teachings, will you know the truth and be made free.

Nehemiah 8:10 says “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Not your joy, God’s joy. They could be strong now because God was joyful over them. He wanted them to be joyful too!

The people had returned from years of captivity in Babylon. On this day they were assembled in Jerusalem to hear God’s word read for the first time in a long time, and as they heard and understood it they began to weep.

But Ezra and Nehemiah told them not to weep, not to mourn but to celebrate. This was a sacred day! They were being given back their lineage, their family tree and the temple itself. They were moving back into and living in the city of Jerusalem as their home. They could once again worship in God’s temple. God was joyful about that!

Zephaniah 3:19 says, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (KJV)

Some of these words have interesting definitions in the original language:

Save:  Deliver, defend, rescue, avenge; to be open, wide, free, safe.
Rejoice:  To be bright, cheerful, glad; make mirth.
Joy (noun):  Glee, mirth, pleasure, gladness.
Joy (verb):  To spin around, rejoice.
Rest: To keep silent (secrecy); to let alone. God’s love keeps our sins hidden. What a wonderful thought!
Love:  Affection.
Singing:  Shout, cry, a creaking or shrill sound, triumph. This isn’t a sweet harmonious melody, this is the shout of the warrior, the triumphant battle cry.

Can you imagine Father God being full of this kind of joy? Twirling around and shouting in triumph over his people? He did, and he still does.

In John 17:13, as Jesus faced his arrest and crucifixion, he prayed this for the disciples: “… that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus, “for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross.” That was some kind of joy!

Despite the ordeal facing him, that wasn’t a prayer born out of grief but triumph! God’s joy is triumphant, a mirth-filled celebration of victory no matter what the circumstances look like.

That’s God’s joy; Jesus’ joy!

I certainly need it. We all need it and we can have it — it’s one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!

And is there joy?

RejoicingJesusWars. Rumors of wars.

I was reading the Gospel of Luke and had arrived at Chapter 21.

I looked up from the page, thinking how closely today’s news lines up with those verses.

Jesus spoke those words to his disciples, warning them about the tragedy that would befall the people of Jerusalem in a few years (AD 70).

But he was also prophesying about the tragedy that was going to befall peoples of many nations in the following centuries.

The Holy Spirit’s voice interrupted my thoughts. It’s really dark out there, he said. Yes, it is, I agreed.

“Gloom, despair and agony on me?” he added. I nodded yes, recalling the old Hee Haw skit. (https://youtu.be/ZAAKPJEq1Ew)

He went on. Depression. Worry. Anxiety. Fear. Hopelessness. Agony of soul and body. There is such gross violence covering the earth.

Yes, I said, there is. This conversation was getting really negative. Where was it going? I wondered. There was a brief pause, before he added –

And is there Joy?

Joy?! I wondered. Other scripture passages began to roll through my mind.

There is joy in the presence of the angels when a sinner repents. “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10 NIV)

Count it all joy when you face various temptations. (Temptations to be depressed, anxious, fearful, perhaps). “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3 NIV)

Ask and receive answers to your prayers, that His joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:24)

A man has joy by the response of his lips. “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth.” (Prov. 15:23)

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10)

God rejoices! “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17 KJV)

Jesus rejoiced. “Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” (Luke 10:21 KJV)

Rejoice! Dance, twirl around in glee and happiness, laugh, clap, shout in delight. That’s what that word means, in the original languages. That’s what Jesus did in his spirit, when he rejoiced.

I could suddenly see him doing that. And he said he only did what he saw his Father doing — “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing…” (John 5:19) So, Father God was doing all that also. Rejoicing. Amazing!

The Holy Spirit continued his comments. Thousands upon thousands are coming into the kingdom, being metamorphosed, changed from darkness to light, spiritual death to life, transformed as they believe my word and are born again. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Cor. 5:17 KJV)

And There Is Joy!

Don’t just see with human eyes. See with Jesus eyes.

God sings.

God sings. Imagine that. No, really… imagine that…

Zeph317“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17, KJV)

I learned this verse as a scripture chorus set to music many years ago. Other versions include these two:

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (NIV) Mighty Warrior! Sometimes I really need that warrior.

“The LORD your God among you is powerful— he will save and he will take joyful delight in you. In his love he will renew you with his love; he will celebrate with singing because of you.” (International Standard Version) I especially like this one, He will “renew” us with his love. (My strength needs to be renewed as the eagle regularly.)

Joy, rejoice – the original language means to twirl, jump, leap for sheer joy; to dance. Like a lamb playing in a meadow, run, leap, jump, twirl around and have a good time just for the fun of it. Could you do that silently? I doubt it. No, sing and shout while you’re jumping and twirling, words of praise, thanksgiving, adoration, exultation and victory.

Singing is from the Hebrew word rinnah, defined as a ringing cry of entreaty or supplication, or in proclamation of joy or praise. The KJV translates it several ways: cry (12x), singing (9x), rejoicing (3x), joy (3x), gladness (1x), proclamation (1x), shouting (1x), sing (1x), songs (1x), triumph (1x).

When your football team scores a touchdown, you make noise, don’t you? The whole crowd makes noise.

Last night I asked the Lord for a dream. A selfish request, maybe, but my recent dreams have been random, making no real sense. I wanted one that did. Early this morning I woke up from a dream that was obviously His answer.

A young woman was seated in a chair and I was kneeling beside her, speaking a prophetic prayer.

The Lord will sing songs to you of power, stamina and strength, His undergirding energy for endurance in the coming day.

The Lord will sing songs to you of warrior warfare, armor, weaponry and tactics, His strategy for victory in the coming fight.

The Lord will sing songs to you of wisdom, knowledge and understanding, His ability for success no matter what you face ahead.

Although I didn’t recognize the woman as someone from my past or present, I believe she is a real person somewhere. The Lord was using me to pray for her even as I slept. One phrase struck me powerfully, although the entire prayer was powerful —

“The Lord will sing songs to you…”

Meditating on the dream today, I realized that whoever that woman is, I myself am included in that promise. God is singing to me, providing with joy everything needed for what lies ahead. Such an incredible answer!