Looking through the Cross – Identity
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...
"Note: not just gave but gave up. In that act of giving himself up to shame, condemnation, scourging, the crown of thorns, mockery, crucifixion and abandonment by his Father, death and burial, the love of the Son of God for his people - "for me" - had become most gloriously manifest.”
(William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Galatians.p106)
“A new identity that emerges from identification with Jesus on the cross is one that places me in the same relation to others as the crucified Jesus has: called to offer myself for the good of others, to that same self-sacrificial love displayed on the cross.”
(Graham Tomlin, Looking through the Cross, p95)
Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.
“We are not defined by our past, but by the future. Defined not by what we have been but by what we have become: restored, redeemed, fully remade in Christ.”
(Graham Tomlin, Looking through the Cross, p101)
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Not just Israel but all the earth should shout for joy to the Lord. All the people, all the animals, all creation.
God is the great king over all the earth.
He is Lord of all, and all are bid to come before him and pay homage.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Who are the we?
Is it just the people of Israel, or is ‘all the earth’ still in view?
There is no clear indication that this has changed.
There is a sense in which all people belong to God, he made us and we are his.
Yet there is also a special identity as his people,
His flock who listen to his voice and are guided by him.
To be called his people, is a special honour.
It speaks to our identity.
Do you belong to God’s people?
Does this make a difference to how you view yourself, or how you act?
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
We are invited into God’s house.
His holy dwelling.
Come with thanksgiving.
The very fact God welcomes us into his Holy Sanctuary is reason enough to overflow with praise and thanks.
The psalmist presupposes lots more beside.
What reasons are there in your life to give thanks to God. Meditate on them.
For the Lord is good and his love endures for ever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
When we know God, when we see him clearly,
We begin to realise just how good it is to find our identity in him, as his people.
We begin to realise just how wonderful it is to be welcomed into his courts.
Although life can be hard, and bruising, physically and emotionally,
As we see God more clearly, understand how he works in the world,
See how he has been faithful to his people through all generations,
See his enduring love,
We begin to realise more and more just how much we have to be thankful for.
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
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