As I write this, there is something in my heart that shouts for joy as realizations of a long hunt for truth are beginning to become apparent. It has been quite the journey. In order to find the truth, one must be able to accept the fact that their current thoughts, beliefs, and state of mind may not be correct. One easily cringes reading that statement. However, I can assure you the price to be paid for the truth is one we ought to gladly pay. What do we have to lose, really?
Identity. n. pl. i·den·ti·ties
In the scriptures, we are told we receive a new identity through salvation. Born again. Washed by the blood. Redeemed. Fresh start. Son, what are you talking about? All of this churchese jargon has begun to pollute my mind, as I realize it appears to be complete nonsense to those who have never stepped foot in a church, and especially confusing to those who have. Many christians do not understand the idea of a blood covenant that was used for the salvation of sin, in either its Old Testament or New Testament form. That’s another blog for another time. Do your homework.
“New identity” has been the topic on my mind as of late. “The heart cannot accept what the mind rejects” is a favorite quote of mine. I believe the opposite is quite true. The mind cannot accept what the heart does not experience. If we are to truly experience a new identity in our lives, through salvation, why have our thoughts, actions, and lives not changed one bit? What I fear salvation has become is simply a catchphrase to be repeated on Sunday mornings.
I have heard on countless occasions from the mouths of individuals who gloriously recount how they were “saved” from their past. Friends, this is not salvation. If you simply believe being “saved” is no longer doing what you used to, I fear you have made the grave misconception of denying sin its rightful death sentence upon your life. To explain this in easier terms: the grave mistake of modern-day christianity is the idea that our ‘past’ lives were the punishment we were saved from, rather than the impending doom we were headed to.
Now, this idea of a new identity…
There are many scriptures in the Bible that make very clear-cut statements that we, who have experienced salvation, are to turn away from all prior lifestyles of sin, as well as repeated violations of these acts. “Be ye perfect, even as I am perfect” said Christ. Paul writes about following the perfect law of liberty. King David writes of finding salvation through following the perfect Law. James, brother of Christ, writes “Concerning sin….dear bretheren, do not err.” Make no mistake. If we claim to believe in what is written in the Bible, we ought to start living like it. “But salvation is all about grace!” Mistake #1. Don’t make your god (lowercase is intentional) limited only to providing grace for his ( ” ” ) followers. Do not grant Him the authority to forgive you and repeatedly grant you grace, while stripping Him of His rightful place to give us orders, commandments, and rules (gasp!) to follow. Salvation is an undeserved gift. Yes! However, the fact that we are also given a strict guideline to follow, straight from the mouth of God, is also undeserved! Think about it…we essentially have a ‘cheat sheet’ manual for how to live our lives. It is quite simple.
“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” II Corinthians 2:10
In this verse, the word “repentance” means to literally “turn away”. Friends, turn away! Do not look back! Will there be temptations in this life? Absolutely! However, you do not have to drag your past lifestyle with you. What would it mean if you were to turn away from your sin? First, you must accept that it is, in fact, possible to turn away. Football players do not enter the field expecting to lose. No, that is not how champions play. Warriors enter their fight with the expectation they will have victory. If they lost, they would die. Repeat that. Is our faith much different?
When Christ walked the earth, He was quite clear in clarifying that His purpose was not to get rid of the current religious system of laws. In fact, He proposed that He was there to fulfill the laws. He was aware that many were many who, at that time, had made a good practice of following the letter of the law, but not the spirit; they would obey the rules, but still accomplish sinful acts that were not specifically outlined. For example, the law prevents adultery, but does not state anything about thinking lustful thoughts. Christ clarified this. If you think about it, He actually made it much more difficult to follow the laws, because it required strict action and also intent of heart.
For those of you unfamiliar with the “law” Christ referred to, please read them: 613 Mitzvot
Before posting this, I took time to read every single one. I would advise you do the same.
If we are to turn away from our old lifestyle, what is it that we turn to? Do we delight to do the will of the LORD, or do we treat it as a chore?
More on this topic later….