Transformed Identity - David Mitts

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Co 5:17)
The new creation reality is the most powerful truth of the Gospel.  Everything we are is based on our grasping that reality.  For most of us our struggles come from how well we walk in the reality of our new identity in Messiah.

Listen to "Transformed Identity"
Let’s use a parable or story to illustrate the point.  Let’s say a man has 2 sons.  One of them always does what is right.  The other never does what is right.  He constantly walks to a different drummer than the will of the father.
The father goes on a day trip and gives each son a set of tasks.  The first son completes his tasks as always.  The second son not only doesn’t do his tasks but ends up breaking a priceless vase that is the father’s most treasure possession.
When the father returns, he sees that the first son has done what was asked, perfectly as was his nature.  When the father looks at the second son, he not only sees the unfinished tasks but also the damaged priceless vase.  He is quite angry and decides he will severely punish the second son.
The first son, says to the father, “no father, I will take his punishment”.  Not only will I take his punishment but I want you to bless him with all that you would have blessed me with.
This is a picture of the salvation that Yeshua purchased for us with His blood.  He took our transgression penalty.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isa 53:5)
If that were all Yeshua did, though it wouldn’t be enough.  He didn’t just take the punishment for our sin. NO! He became our sin.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2Co 5:21)
In the above example, He not only took the penalty for the sin of the other brother, He became the other brother.  He became sin!  He exchanged His identity for the identity of sin!
The “sin-laden” brother then became the righteous one.  This is who we are in our salvation.  We are made righteous.  This means that our inner nature has been transformed by the cross.  
Now does this mean that we do not sin anymore?  No, it doesn’t!  It just means that we are NOT a sinner in our nature.  Yeshua became the sinner.  He became sin and exchanged His divine nature of being the righteous one for our sin-nature.
Now, our nature has gone from being a slave to being a true son!  Slaves serve out of bondage.  They yearn for freedom but their slavery keeps them in bondage to the slave-master.  Slaves perform because of fear of being punished.  This is what is called “works-based” righteousness.  The basic problem is that a slave can never be free.  He can only become a good slave.  This is what religion delivers, a scale of behaviors that detail what a “good slave” will do to avoid punishment, knowing all alone that the slave is a son who was never designed to be a slave.  Therefore, sons behaving as slaves never really succeed at it.
I realized this about myself.  God has removed the joy from self-directed accomplishments for me.  He has called me to live by the Spirit and whenever I try to do something in the flesh, or through works based righteousness, the death in it is magnified to me.  I don’t just feel that something is off, rather I feel dead in it.  All the joy is gone, even if I somehow through my sheer effort of slave-will get something to happen.  I feel the death on the inside of me through the lack of true joy or peace.  And worse if I do happen somehow through my determination to win accomplish something and then put God’s name on it, I lose a more precious commodity, my faith, my trust in Him. I have a form of godliness but no real power that would have been mine through faith.
There is an interesting verse that grabbed my attention a while back.  Turn with me to James 4:1
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.
This is a description of the war within us to try to achieve with our will and determination.  It produces striving in us and around us.  We become defensive and protective of our efforts. Most of our outer quarrels begin with inner quarrels and conflicts inside of us.  Have you ever been in argument and known you should have apologized or yielded but you decided to press the point and cause pain?  I have. Too many times.  Afterwards in a calmer moment you wonder, I wonder, “why did I do that?”.  That is an inner quarrel that became manifested as strife.  I believe all strife, wars, conflicts exist because the soul of man is in conflict.  I believe this is the core of our sin nature.  We NOT only are separated from God by sin but also from one another and WITHIN ourselves.
James tells us the source is a war of pleasures rooted in lust.  We crave success.  We crave to be deemed worthy.  We crave a life of significance, which is a good thing but where we look for significance, the opinions of others who are also craving it is a trap.  Instead, we need to look to Yeshua, who is both the author and completer of our faith. Let’s continue in James 4
You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"?
He, God, jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us!  Jealousy is an interesting emotional state.  I am only jealous about what I have made myself vulnerable over.  Once I have trusted and given myself, then my vulnerability makes me protective over that which I am invested in.  Now, I don’t pretend to fully comprehend God’s jealousy.   BUT I know that throughout the Bible, He shares openly the hurt He experiences when His people reject His goodness for other gods.  In this context James is talking about what he calls, “the world” as another god.
He also pinpoints the “asking” process.  You have not because you ask not or you ask God for something but you don’t receive. I don’t receive because I ask with wrong motive, to spend on my own pleasures.  These pleasures are the source of the conflicts, the quarrels. These are the motives of trying to secure my identity through my self-willed accomplishments and then attach God’s name to them.  I use circumstantial reality to either give credit to God or to blame the devil.
What do I mean by that?  If something turns out how I want it to, I say God did it.  If it turns out some other way, then I call it an attack of the devil.  I view my life through quarrels because I am trying to get what I want to feel important.  Then to add insult to injury, I call all this spiritual warfare.
BUT God, is desiring a more excellent way for us.  He is jealous for that way.  It is the way He sent His Son to die for and raised Him from the dead for.  It is the Way of the Spirit. Let’s continue in James 4:
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (Jas 4:1-8)
You see the key here is the greater grace.  James doesn’t deny the reality of the devil, but He gives us the reason for his presence in our lives, pride.  Pride causes us to strive.  You could say, pride and striving are the same.  The only possible method of pride is striving.  This is why the answer given here is to submit to God.
The word translated “submit” here, literally means to put oneself under the order and alignment of another.  It is a military term that means to honor the chain of command.  Another word might be to obey.  But the idea isn’t just to do what God’s Word has said but also to have a living authoritative relationship with Him.  He is constantly speaking and we have the possibility of living in that flow of life.
The word for “resist” with respect to the devil, means to stand against.  This is also positional.  It is a covenant concept.  When I align myself with God and His voice I automatically stand against the devil.  I listen the Voice of my God and the strangers voice I will not follow and as a result the devil flees.  Why does the devil flee? Because the Word of God has already defeated him and his whisperings and lies. The devil lives in mortal; danger of the truth!
Now we can do things with pure hands as we draw near to God, or I like the picture of inclining our ears to Him.  The word for drawing near is the picture of an embrace, a hug or a squeeze.  It is the picture of an open heart embracing the love of that heart. This yielding of our being to Him opens up the new creation reality of His plan and purpose for our lives.
In this place our hearts become purified.  A new liberty comes into our being. 2Cor 3:17-18:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2Co 3:17-18)
The veil is the flesh, the way of self will. When we willingly remove the veil, we become transparent to Him and to others. We live at risk. The risk of not hearing and the risk of surrender. This is the place of intimacy. Heb 10:19-20.
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, (Heb 10:19-20)
Yeshua became sin, He became the veil, He became our self-will, He became our pride, so we could become righteous.  This opens our eyes to see with fresh sight.  Our face, our representation to the world of our character becomes transparent to Him and He in us becomes transparent to others.  When people see us, they see Him in us!
Now, we can ask with Holy purpose, His purpose in a communion of heart.  Our hearts, the place of our thoughts become purified and we begin to see the manifestations of God in our lives.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Mat 5:8)
It is when we yield our heart to His voice that we see Him in all that we do and a flow of pure life becomes our reality!
Activation:
Let’s tune to spontaneity of His voice in us. Let’s begin by quieting ourselves and surrendering to Him.  Picture a place where you can meet with Him, maybe a nature scene or the ocean, or a quiet place in your house.  Invite Him into the picture and repent for listening to the voice of self-will.  Recommit to trust Him and His plan for you. See yourself aligning with Him as Lord.  As Him for your next instruction, what would you desire of me Lord. You can trust Him.

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