OUR IDENTITY IN MESSIAH

alternate textCS Lewis once said, “We are what we believe we are.” It sounds a little bit like a new age slogan, similar to other modern-day slogans, like “I am great”, “I am here to be admired” and “I am the captain of my own ship”. But I believe this is not what CS Lewis meant. He probably wanted to make the point that if one has a low self esteem, it will reflect negatively in one’s way of life and if one has a healthy self esteem, on the other hand, it will reflect positively in how one experiences life. There is, however, something deeper and, indeed, very important that transpires from this quote by CS Lewis. What we believe we are, is not always the truth. No matter how much I believe that I am the king of England, I will never become the king of England, to use a simple example. So how then is it possible to be, or to become, that which we believe? The answer is quite simple. It happens when we believe the truth about ourselves. And the truth is not always what other people tell us about ourselves. Other people may be mistaken. Their intentions may not be pure. And therefore they may try to make us believe things about ourselves that are not true. Even the things that we tell ourselves, the thoughts about ourselves, may sometimes not be entirely true. There is something like self-deception and false belief about ourselves, that we should be avoiding at all costs. “Do not deceive yourselves”, the prophet said in YermeYahu 37:9 and in OvadYah 3:1 it is written, “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” So, if it is possible to be deceived by other people and even by ourselves, where may we find the truth about ourselves, so that we may believe that truth and eventually, as CS Lewis said, truly become what we believe?

Without any doubt, the collection of the words of Yahweh, or the Scriptures, is the best place to find the truth about ourselves and our identity as a people who belong to Yahweh and believe in Y’shua. In the Scriptures we do not only find the true answer to the question, Who is Yahweh? – it also provides us with the true answer to the question, Who are we? And being a bunch of human beings, who are gullible and emotional and easily led astray, we need the solid perspective of the Word of Yahweh. We need to find our identity by listening to what Yahweh is saying about us. What He says about us, is true and trustworthy. It may not show in our lives right now, but if we start believing it, we will become what we believe we are. So let us begin straight away by listening to 24 things that Yahweh is telling us directly (“You are …”) about our true identity – something that no-one can take away from us.

Deut 7:6 “You are a set-apart people to Yahweh your Elohim.
Deut 14:1 “You are the children of Yahweh your Elohim.
Ps 115:15 “You are blessed by Yahweh who made the heavens and earth.”
Isa 30:15 “You are saved in returning and in rest … and you are strong in stillness and in trust.”
Isa 43:1 “You are mine … I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name.”
Isa 43:10 “You are My witnesses and you are my servants.”
Isa 51:16 “You are my people and I am covering you with the shade of my hand.”
Isa 62:12 “You are the redeemed ones of Yahweh … you are called a City Not Forsaken.”
Isa 66:13 “You are comforted by Me, as those comforted by their mother.”
Ezek 34:31 “You are my sheep, whom I will rescue from the hands of false shepherds.”
Zeph 2:3 “You are the meek ones of the earth and will be hidden in the day of wrath.”
Mat 5:13-14 “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”
Mat 10:31 “You are worth more than many sparrows and have no need to fear.”
Joh 15:19 “You are not of the world … I chose you … therefore the world hates you.”
Rom 8:9 “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, because the Spirit of Elohim dwells in you.”
1 Cor 1:30 “You are now in Messiah Y’shua, because of Elohim.”
1 Cor 3:16 “You are a Dwelling Place of Elohim and the Spirit of Elohim dwells in you.”
1 Cor 12:27 “You are a body of Messiah, and members individually.”
Gal 4:7 “You are no longer a slave but a son … an heir of Elohim through Messiah.”
Eph 2:19 “You are no longer foreigners, but fellow citizens of the household of Elohim.”
Eph 5:8 “You are light in the Master and no longer darkness.”
Heb 12:5 “You are under the discipline of Yahweh and should not despise his correction.”
1 Pet 2:9 “You are a royal priesthood, called to proclaim his praises.”
1 Pet 4:14 “You are blessed, because the Spirit of esteem and of Elohim rests upon you.”

I have noticed that in the essays and articles and books about our identity as believers, the focus is often almost entirely on Y’shua, the Messiah – who we are in Messiah. Even the verses quoted in support of the idea of the believer’s identity are mostly coming from the New Testament, very seldom from the Tanak or Old Testament. We all know about the view among many Biblical believers that Y’shua fulfilled the Torah and the Prophets in such a way that we do not really need the Old Testament any longer. This, of course, is NOT what Y’shua meant when He said that he came to fulfil the Torah and the Prophets. That is a topic for another day.

However, those who say that our identity as believers is an identity in Messiah, are not entirely wrong. The view of the apostles was clearly that everything was created in Messiah and unto Messiah – even though Y’shua of Nazareth was not physically present at the time of creation. Colossians 1:16 states that in Y’shua “all that are in the heavens and that are on earth”, were created. Hebrews 1:2 says that Elohim appointed Y’shua “heir of all” and Ephesians 1:22 says of Y’shua that Elohim “put all under His feet and made Him head of all.” We can therefore say with certainty that the entire creation, including ourselves, find true meaning and purpose, only in Y’shua the Messiah. The meaning and purpose that we find in Y’shua the Messiah, cannot be separated from our identity as believers. Or, to turn the statement around: Our identity as believers cannot be separated from Y’shua. It is in his name that we came to belief and in his name that we were baptized. It is through him that we were restored and reconnected with Yahweh, our Father. It was even because of him that Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov acted like men who were able to see what others could not see. Their hope and expectation was focused entirely upon the promised Seed through whom the blessings of Yahweh would reach the ends of the earth. So, what should we believe about ourselves? Let us start with the list of 24. We should believe that it is possible to be a set-apart people because Y’shua was set-apart. We should believe that we are children of Yahweh our Elohim, because Y’shua, the Son of Elohim, calls us his brothers and his sisters. We should believe that we are blessed by Yahweh who made the heavens and earth, because the creation of the heavens and the earth was not just something that happened without a reason, but something that pointed towards Y’shua. And so it is possible to bring each one of the 24 verses above in connection with Y’shua the Messiah. In Him we were chosen (Eph 1:4); in Him we are rooted and built up (Col 2:7); in Him we are completed (Col 2:10) and in Him we want to be found on the day of our resurrection (Phil 3:9).

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