As adopted children of God, we have an elevated identity in Christ and should be like Christ — an incredible goal to aspire to in 2020. But what does ‘like Christ’ mean? When we make mistakes and sin every day, it’s easy to become discouraged and to give up even trying to be like Christ. Yet 1 John 3:3 teaches everyone with their identity in Christ purifies themselves as Christ is pure. What does this mean? First, if you’re a believer, we can live in daily confidence. We’re forgiven. The penalty of our sins has been paid!
Second, we can live in victory. While our flesh is weak, the Spirit is empowering. When we lean on God’s strength, we can live out God’s will — God’s way. Understanding our identity in Christ, living empowered by His strength and being grateful to God our loving Father is what enables us to be like Christ and impact the world for Him.
The entire chapter of 1 John 3 offers valuable insights into our identity as God’s children. Understanding our position in Christ will strengthen our faith and witness. If we know Jesus Christ as Savior, God made us part of His adopted family. He’s promised an inheritance, an eternal home in heaven and joint-heir relationship with Jesus Christ Himself. Not employees, contractors or slaves, we’re beloved sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. And as only God our Father can do, He loves unconditionally. We can do nothing to make Him love us more or to love us less. May this understanding of our identity in Christ prompt us to love others unconditionally, express gratefulness to God, and model for a world in need of His love and the only hope that truly satisfies.
What if we lived our lives fully grasping the power of our identity in Christ as His children and accessed the power of His Spirit in our lives? It’s been said a person can live 30 days without food, three days without water but only three seconds without hope. Hope is the internal drive that leads us to believe there’s something better in the future. As children of God we have an exalted identity in Christ. We’re empowered by the Greatest Power through Christ. We’re also driven by the greatest hope, knowing we have eternity with God our Father the Lord of Heaven and Earth.
Let’s not permit ourselves to become discouraged, distracted or deceived into believing there is no hope. 1 John 3:3 reminds us our hope is in the Lord. Our strength may fade, but His strength remains. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us and the Source of Hope seen in us.
Once they’ve established a true identity in Christ, experienced purity through Christ and possess hope in Christ, true believers are then known by their purpose in Christ. Winston Churchill once said, “It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something.” One of our deepest longings in life is to have purpose. Many seek temporal meaning pursuing work, money or relationships, but God’s purpose for us has eternal meaning accompanied by physical evidence.
1 John 3:10 presents God’s purpose for us: live biblically and obediently and love our brothers and sisters in Christ. The greatest purpose in life is fulfilling our purpose in Christ, which arises from our identity in Christ. When our purpose is to live righteously and be like Christ, to love the family of God and others like God has loved us, the world will be changed. Is your purpose in life aligned with God’s purpose for us in life?
For all true believers, the greatest decision in life is believing in Jesus Christ and gaining a new identity as a child of God. Having assurance that this exalted relationship in Christ and hope of an eternal home with God our Father will not change is essential for impactful Christian living.
The Apostle John in 1 John 3:19 anticipated this need for assurance so he said that we can know we’re a child of God, be assured that God’s our Father and our Hope’s secure if we obey God’s Word, our walk matches our talk, and our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ is sincere and evident.
If these things are true, John said, you can be confident in your identity and powerfully live a Godly witness before the world. Some will reject, but others will see and desire the same assurance and purpose.
The Hon. Sam Rohrer is president of the American Pastors Network, a national network of pastors with constitutional and biblical teachings that discusses today’s pressing issues. He was a Pennsylvania lawmaker for 18 years and hosts the daily “Stand in the Gap Today” national radio program on more than 400 stations and Host of the “Stand in the Gap” national television program.