Your True Identity:
Jul 03, 2006 Dr. Stephen E Jones
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 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.
God is the ultimate Reality, and structure is His creation-servant.
When we identify ourselves with our spiritual man inside, we are identifying with Love. That is who we really are. Anything else is a “straw man” that inaccurately represents us. A “straw man” derives its existence from Reality purely by one’s consent, for it has no authority other than what we give it. It is you only if you agree that it is you (or that it represents you).
A straw man is not actually you, but it can be legally you, if you make it your representative. It is not even harmful, if it remains your servant, and if you are able to command it properly. But the problem with straw men is that most of them end up ruling us, because we lose our sense of being and begin to identify ourselves with it, instead of the other way around.
Structures are God’s creation and were pronounced “very good” in the beginning. In a very real sense, Adam was God’s own straw man, for he was called to be God’s representative in the earth, to rule it with Love even as God Himself would rule it.
The fall of man, however, put the servant in revolt against the Master. Not only did Adam disobey and rebel against the express command of God, but also on a personal level, Adam’s own soul rebelled against his spirit. The soul, being finite, attempted to understand the universe by creating opposites, for the purpose of comparison and analysis, in order to comprehend all things. Then it judged one side as “evil,” in order to establish control and domination.
The soul, that is, the carnal mind, thus broke the unity of all things and began the age-abiding project of recreating Reality in its own image. This is the core of the Babylonian mindset that is now coming to its predestined Identity Crisis. The structure of divine government in Adam created a straw man, which has been recreating Reality and then charging an exorbitant fee for its service. We have all become its debtors.
But we are now approaching a great Sabbath millennium, in which God is about to set Creation free from the bondage of the straw man.
Christians must be careful to understand the nature of straw men and structure. Christians must know who they really are in their core being–their spiritual man, their Most Holy Place. That spiritual man is Christ–the offspring of God and man. It is the perfect New Man. There is nothing that a believer can do to make that Man more perfect than it already is. The carnal mind will tell you that you must do this or do that, sacrifice this or that, discipline yourself, fast and pray, in order to become more acceptable to God so that He will hear your prayers. But this is all an illusion. Just be who you already are, and do not allow the carnal mind to recreate Reality in its own finite likeness.
Likewise, structures such as Church denominations, which ought to serve God by setting men free, eventually become self-serving and self-perpetuating. I have seen and heard many reports from people who were bludgeoned weekly, and told how they were great sinners (long after their sins were covered by the blood of Jesus), for the purpose of putting them into bondage to the denomination. Denominations often rule by fear and guilt, and they succeed in gathering more servants by assuming the role of protector and sin-forgiver.
Men cannot be manipulated if they have no fear or guilt. If they know who they are in Christ, they cannot be manipulated by threats of excommunication. If they know the truth, they cannot be frightened by the prospect of being caught by Satan or by a “cult” if they were to leave the organization. If they know they are forgiven of their sins, they cannot be tricked into endlessly purchasing forgiveness by giving “indulgences” to the Church organization. If they live in abundance mode, they cannot be swindled by prophets of greed who preach fear of scarcity in the name of prosperity.
For this reason, many in the ministry have gone the way of Balaam, selling prophecies and the gifts of the Spirit for profit or position. It is common nowadays for people to buy tickets to a Christian meeting. It is common nowadays for sick people to have to pay money to stand in line for prayer. It is common nowadays for people seeking a word from God to be required to pay for such a word–under the threat that if he does not pay, then the good things being prophesied will not come to pass in his life.
Some of the most well-known television evangelists are among those who do such things. I do not blame the people for being vulnerable to such racketeering, for they are taught fear and guilt much of the time whenever they hear preaching. How many of them are taught who they really are in Christ? How many know that they are Love? How many know that they can have a direct relationship with God and do not need any mortal structure to act as their straw man or their priest?
My voice may be small, and it may be a voice crying in the wilderness, but woe is me if I do not preach the gospel, the Good News! The message of freedom in Christ will never trap many sheep in my corral–especially since the doors are always open. Teaching people how to grow up into Christ will not keep the people forever dependent upon me as a spiritual father. Teaching people how to live in abundance mode rather than in scarcity mode will never make me a millionaire. But I guarantee that I will sleep well at night with a clear conscience before God, and He will supply my needs according to His abundance.
I know this, because even before God called me back into the ministry in 1991, I was already tested on these principles in the crucible of need. Time after time, I saw the miraculous power of God manifested at the last minute, just before potential disaster. I have more stories of God’s provision than I could possibly tell you. We even shared our monetary needs with our children, so that they could participate in the joy of answered prayer. Faith became a way of life for them, not a cloak to put on in preparation for going to Church.
We learned to forgive God for His discipline and training exercises. Yes, you heard me. Half the world is angry with God, and the other half does not know Him at all. No one is exempt from hard experiences in life, but only those who can forgive and let go of all bitterness and anger will actually progress spiritually. Learning requires forgiveness, and when we learn to forgive, then we have the right not to have to go through that experience again.
All of these experiences are designed to reveal the Love that is our core being and to extend it to all structure, beginning with the soul itself. From there it can radiate through the body in a smile, a word of encouragement, an act of kindness, or even a loving correction that will assist another in finding the right path to the joy of the Lord.
Thus, to conclude this study of Your True Identity, the choice is set before us. We can go through life in the pursuit of advantage over others, or we can follow Jesus’ example as servants of mankind. We can live in a self-serving manner as God’s privileged people, or we can radiate the Love of God as His people, chosen to manifest His character. We can identify with structure, such as organizations and genealogy, or we can identify with Reality and Love as the children of God.
These are the alternatives in life. Follow which ever path you believe will lead to God.
Your True Identity by Dr. Stephen E Jones