The Old Testament is a progressive revelation of Who God is. But in the New Testament Jesus is the full expression of His Person (Heb. 1:3), Who has declared God to us (Jn. 1:18). Jesus said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (Jn. 14:9).
What is more, the term "In Christ" appears over 300 times in the New Testament. In other words, God has taken up residence on the inside of us, in Christ. Therefore, in Christ we have all of the characteristics of God on the inside of us. The revelation of this reality will change the way that we live.
Therefore Paul writes:
"To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory...to this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily." (Col. 1:27, 29)
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phi. 4:10)
"That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." (Philemon 1:6)
We effectively communicate our faith by acknowledging every good thing that is in us, that is in Christ. Our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. God is alive on the inside of us.
"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he..." (Prov. 23:7)
You need to start seeing the way God has made you in Christ.
This revelation of who you really are in Christ, will completely change how you live your life. How you think about yourself affects how you go out into the world. How you think about yourself affects what you will accomplish in life. How you view yourself affects how other people see and relate to you. How you view yourself affects how you relate to the devil.
You should not accept anyone's opinion of who you are except for God's.
How you view yourself will affect how you approach life from a position of defeat versus a position of victory.
In Numbers 13, we have the story of Moses sending 12 spies to spy out the land God had already given them (Num. 13:1-3). These spies were directed to see the people and see the land. But most importantly, Moses instructed them,
"Be of good courage!"
There is a general tendency of people to always focus on the negative. To focus on what is wrong.
Now when the spies came back they reported:
"The land is indeed flowing with milk and honey..."
Beloved friends, what God has provided us in Christ is rich, it is full. We have received the abundant life, an extravagant life.
"...BUT there are giants!"
10 out of 12 spies will always give an evil report. All they talk about is negative. Their refrain, sounds like so many defeated Christians who conclude: "It looks like we can't do what God has called us to do."
But Caleb's report was different:
"The land is good, God is good. Let's go get it!"
Why was his report so different? He was focused on what God said. Beloved friends, most people are not focused on who they are in Christ. Most people are not focused on: "I am righteous. I am redeemed. I am sanctified. I am wise. I am healed. I am blessed. I have the mind of Christ. I am forgiven."
Instead, most people are focused on their faults and failures. Most people are focused on their inadequacies. Most people are focused on being a victim of their problems. Most people are focused on what is wrong. Most people are focused on their giants. Most people are focused on the circumstances. Most people are focused on the enemy. Most people are focused on their sin. Most people are focused on the past. Most people are focused on their lack of resources. Most people are focused on their sickness.
But Caleb wanted to focus on the Truth: what God said.
Beloved friends, it does not matter what the world says to us. Be of good courage! Don't focus on the negative. 80% will. It is no different in the church today. Most people will have the same report as the world and the same results as the world.
We ought to be different
Most people are more focused on the world and their giant than they are on God. Most people are focused on the flesh than they are of the Spirit.
"For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Rom. 8:6)
If you want different results than the world, you have to feed on different information.
Please remember, these people had heard the Word of God. They heard what God wanted them to do. But they were not focused on what God said. They were focused on the challenges more than the answer. Negative reports will give you negative results.
"But the men who had gone up with him said, 'We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.' And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, 'The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.'" (Num. 13:31-32)
Now I really doubt everyone they saw was a giant. When you are thinking on the negative, your mind will take over. You will start going places you didn't want to go in your mind.
"There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Num. 13:33)
How do you see yourself?
How you see yourself affects how you relate to God, people the devil and your circumstances. It will also affect how others relate to you.
You may be disappointed in the way others see you. But how you see yourself will change how they see and relate to you. It will help you accomplish what God has called you to accomplish.
You need to be in your own sight a giant-killer.
Goliath fought in his natural strength. But like David we fight in the name of the Lord. So then, get your eyes off the giant(s) and get your eyes on Christ, Who is in you. You need to see things the way God sees they are. This revelation will change your circumstances
"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)," (Eph. 2:1-5)
The New Testament is written with the focus of who you are in Christ and this is what Paul is expounding on her in Ephesians 1-3. But here in the beginning of Ephesians 2, Paul is describing who we were.
Beloved friends, we are either in Christ or in sin. We are not in both. Nonetheless, most of the church see themselves as both and that is wrong. When sin presents itself, they present themselves as in sin. And when righteousness presents itself, they present themselves as in sin.
That is why the medical world says, "Religion will make you crazy." I agree, religion will make you crazy. But we are not talking about religion. We are talking about life. We are talking about a relationship with God, in Christ
We are talking about who you are in Christ.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:10)
Beloved friends, we were created for good works in Christ. Before we were born-again we lived like the rest of the world. We lived like the devil. But now that we are in Christ, I believe we have authority over all the works of the devil. But that is not my focus.
My focus is on who I am in Christ.
"He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love," (Col. 1:13)
"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others." (Eph. 2:1-3)
When we were dead in sin this is how we thought, talked and acted. But now we are in Christ. Now we are born-again. Now we have been placed in Christ. We have been made alive in Christ (Eph. 2:5). We have been given a new life in Christ. In fact, we have been given the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead placed in our spirit.
"Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." (Eph. 2:11-12)
When we were in sin, we had no covenant promise. We were completely hopeless.
"BUT NOW IN CHRIST JESUS you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Eph. 2:13)
Many of us focus on the outward man versus the inward man. God changed the picture on the inside of us. Therefore, if we can change the inward picture that we see, the outward picture will change and become like the inward man.
Everyone has a picture on the inside of them that they are seeing. Who do you see? Because unconsciously you are going towards the picture you see on the inside of you. But if you can change that picture on the inside of you, you can change the picture on the outside of you. Unfortunately, most people are focused on the outward man versus the inward man.
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph. 1:1-2)
Paul opens his letter to the church in Ephesus, by addressing the church as saints and faithful in Christ. Paul continues:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ," (Eph. 1:3)
Beloved friends, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love," (Eph. 1:4)
My Father loves me and sees you as holy and blameless in Christ. God is not imputing sins to your account (2 Cor. 5:18-19; 1 Jn. 2:1-2). Your Father sees you as holy, blameless and unprovable.
Please understand, you don't get people out of sin by preaching sin. No, you get people out of sin by preaching righteousness.
Beloved friends, you have a new nature in Christ. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21)
Therefore, see yourself the way God sees you.
"Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will," (Eph. 1:5)
I am predestined to be a child of God. I am predestined to succeed. I am predestined to walk out the will of God in my life.
Beloved friends, get in the love of Jesus. Walk with Him everyday. Build a relationship with God. Get up and do what He shows you to do. Live everyday for the Lord.
"To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved." (Eph. 1:6)
Beloved friends, God sees you as the praise of the glory of His grace. In other words:
God sees you in your full potential in Christ.
How God sees you and deals with you as a believer is in your full potential in Christ. God does not see you as weak. God does not see you in sin.
God sees you in Christ.
"...by which He made us accepted in the Beloved." (Eph. 1:6)
God sees you in a fixed position in the Beloved rest of the grace of God. Beloved friends, it is in that position of rest that God sees you, in your full potential in Christ. He has made you accepted in the Beloved. Therefore, He looks at you in your full potential in Christ.
God causes you to rest in that and says, "Accepted...that's beautiful.... you are beautiful in My eyes."
Beloved friends, in Him, in Christ, in the Beloved we have redemption, we have been purchased by His Blood.
"in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." (Col. 1:14)
Forgiveness is part of our redemption. Christ paid for our redemption at the cross. Our redemption is already a finished work.
Now, when you sin, you can ask for forgiveness. I am not against that.
But your focus can't be on your sin. Your focus must be on His forgiveness.
Yes you need to keep a good conscience before God. I am not telling you not to.
But your focus needs to be on what Jesus has already done.
A lot of people, when they ask for forgiveness, their focus is more on their sin than His grace and mercy. Therefore, they have a hard time getting over their sin.
For instance, if they ask for one of His Promises to be manifest in their lives, their focus is on their sin, instead of what He has already provided by His grace.
Get your eyes off of your sin. Get your eyes on Jesus.
Change how you relate to God and you will be able to receive from Him. If Christ has already redeemed us. Then your forgiveness is already an accomplished fact in the mind of God, according to the riches of His grace.
Beloved friends, what sin have you committed that the Blood of Jesus hasn't already paid for? That His grace has not already covered? We are saints. We are faithful. We are blessed. We are chosen. We are predestined. We are accepted in the beloved. We are redeemed.
"In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will," (Eph. 1:11)
In Christ we have an inheritance.
God has invested something in you, in Christ.
"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise," (Eph. 1:13)
When you believed on Jesus, God placed His Spirit in your spirit, and sealed you. Therefore, your spirit is righteous, sanctified, pure and clean. There is not a problem with your spirit if you are born-again.
Continuing in Ephesians 2 Paul declares: You have been made alive together with Christ. You have been quickened together with Christ. You have been raised up together with Christ. You have been made to sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:10)
"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ...Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God...in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord" (Eph. 2:13, 19, 21)
Jesus took up residence in me!
I am a new creation in Christ Jesus! I am blessed. I am sanctified. I am healed. I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I have the mind of Christ. I am redeemed from every curse. I have an inheritance in Christ. God's Spirit lives in me and I will never be the same. I am more than a conqueror. I have been destined to succeed. I am accepted in the Beloved. I am member of the family of God. I have a covenant with my Father.
Therefore beloved friends, since we have come into a covenant relationship with our Father. What are we going to believe? What identity are we going to take? This will determine how we receive from God.