Daily Devotional: Day 29
“But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints” (Ephesians 5:3, RSV).
Your Christian life takes on a completely different meaning when you realize that Jesus has made you a saint and you’re no longer possess a sinner identity. The difference between a saint and a sinner is significant. The former is saved, washed by the blood of Jesus, made righteous, sanctified, set apart for God, and walks in light. The latter is lost, lacks eternal life, walks in darkness, and needs to be born again. In today’s Scripture, Paul exhorts the Christians in Ephesus to live a life that is “fitting among saints.” Notice that the Bible addresses Christians as saints, and it’s not the first time. The name saint isn’t just a technical term. It describes your ontological status before God after you become his child by grace through faith in Christ. In other words, your very being has been made pure and holy like God, your Father. And because you’re holy, the Bible urges you to live accordingly. This is the point Paul makes in today’s Scripture and elsewhere in the New Testament.
The name saint describes your permanent identity before God. God is holy. And God is your Father. What does that make you? Holy, of course! Remember that how you understand your identity has implications for your behavior. If you accept the truth that you’re a saint, then you’ll be motivated and empowered to live like a saint. If, on the other hand, you convince yourself, after you’re born again, that your identity is that of a sinner, you’ll look for false consolation in your mistaken sinner identity. After all, what do sinners do? They sin. It’s who they are, and it’s what they do, until Jesus sets them free from the bondage of sin.
You need to own your God-given saint identity and become comfortable in that identity, because a shaky identity is the breeding ground for sin. Let me give an analogy from the world of animals. Let’s take an eagle, for example. An eagle is wired to fly. Eagle is his identity. And with this identity comes the inherent capacity to live the life of an eagle. But the eagle must own this identity, if it’s going to act like an eagle. Occasionally, an eagle might spend brief moments on the ground. If the eagle begins, as a result of these brief moments on the ground, to entertain the thought that it has two identities, eagle and cat identities, it’ll have a very limited experience of an eagle’s life. Identity drives behavior, and behavior reinforces identity. A double identity will create a false dual personality, resulting in double-mindedness. A further consequence is that your behavior will be inconsistent. This means, you can’t live consistently saintly. You’ll go back and forth between sin and holiness. But this is not God’s will or plan for you (Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8). Part of correcting the problem begins with correcting your identity. Your identity must be single and consistent.
As God’s holy child , it’s important that you operate with one mindset – the mindset of a saint, just like an eagle must operate with the mindset of an eagle. If an eagle operates with the mindset of a cat, sooner or later, it’ll live like a cat and hang out with cats. A sinner mindset will only lead to an endless cycle of sinning. But, when you got born again, Jesus wired you for holiness. Therefore, you have in you the God-given inherent capacity to live like Jesus. This is your identity and calling. You have no other identity or calling. Your ID = Saint; your Calling = live holy. If you operate with two competing identities or two opposing mindsets – sinner plus saint – the cycle of sinning will continue. The Bible says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). For a saint, committing sin is the exception, not a habit or the norm (Read 1 John 2:1-6; 3:1-9).
Summing up, don’t wait to be pronounced a saint by people who have neither the power nor the resources to determine the truth in your heart. And don’t hope to become a saint; you are a saint, according to the Word of God. What you must do, is live out your saint-identity. It’s possible for a saint to sin. But if you do sin, repent and stick to your only identity and your only calling (Read 1 John 2:1-2). Go be the saint Jesus has made you, and you’ll notice the fruit of righteousness manifest in your behavior.
My Dad is holy. And so am I, by his grace. I know that Jesus has taken away sinner-identity and has given me a saint-identity. Therefore, a sinful life is not for me. Sin shall have no dominion over me. I yield my body to my Father as an instrument of righteousness. I am a saint, and through the power of the Holy Spirit in me, my behavior shall line up accordingly. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
For further study: Ephesians 4:17-32