From the archives of my memory comes a TV game show from the late 1950’s. It was called, “To Tell the Truth.” After quizzing some family and friends, I tracked down a description of the British version of this vintage program. Four celebrities come to play by asking questions of three protagonists. One of the protagonists has a secret which they would like to reveal to the world. The two actors [imitating the real identified guest] also know that secret except they don’t disclose it and the celebs try to work out who the real one is.  What I recall was the line the game’s host said to the three contestants at the end of the show. If the genuine guest’s name was–for example–Jane Doe, he would say, “Will the REAL Jane Doe please stand up?!” After a suspenseful pause, the real Jane would rise from her chair and the celebrities would have their guess corrected or confirmed.
This bit of trivia reminds me of the issue of a person’s true identity. In the Christian life, seeking to understand your real spiritual identity is anything but a trivial pursuit.
The Crucial Question
Consider the example of Christ’s dialogue with His disciples. In Matthew 16:13-17, He asked them what they thought of His identity: “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’ ”
The disciples’ answers indicate three possible sources on which you can base your identity.
First, your view of identity may be based on what other people have said about you. In the example of Christ’s identity, some had thought He was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or another prophet resurrected to a new ministry. Similarly, you might be basing your identity on what others have said about you. If you’ve been surrounded by family and friends who have been cheerleaders, your perception of identity is probably positive, maybe self-sufficient. On the other hand, if others have made you feel like an emotional dart board, you probably have a very negative perception of your identity.
The second source for an identity message is what you say about yourself. Christ was interested, not only in what others were saying, but what his twelve disciples believed–(“Who do you say that I am?”). Likewise, you have an opinion regarding your personal identity based on your life-programming. Your identity perception may be conscious or sub-conscious, negative or positive, realistic or unrealistic. Whatever the case, your sense of personal identity will have a significant influence on your attitudes, words, and actions.
The third possible source of an identity message is what God says about you. Peter’s correct assessment of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah was based on divine revelation. Christ responded to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Similarly, believers in Christ need to set aside their false identity (conditioned by what others have said and what their own mind and emotions have concluded) and discover what God has declared in His Word. 
It is vital to discern that your personal identity is based, not on your physical dimension (the body), nor your psychological dimension (the soul), but on your spiritual dimension (the human spirit).  We were born spiritually dead (separated from the life of God) but when we received Christ, we were regenerated: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, … 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 [in the spirit] together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph 2:1-5). Since the Holy Spirit is the One who gave us new birth, we have become partakers of the divine nature (John 3:3-6; 2 Pet 1:4; 1 John 3:9; Cf. 1 Thess 5:23-24).
God has created living things to reproduce after their kind (Gen 1:11-12,21-28). So, identity is based not on behavior, but on BIRTH! This new nature is then manifested in a new quality of life–a life that grows in faith, hope, and love (1 Cor 13:13; Eph 2:10).
Consider this list of biblical identity truths. Since they are conditional on being IN CHRIST, they do not cause pride, but rather grateful dependence on our Saviour.
The Biblical Testimony
The Word of God declares that if I am in Christ…
1. I am God’s child for I am born of the incorruptible seed of the Word Of God which lives and abides forever. 1 Pet. 1:23
2. I am forgiven of all my sins and washed in the Blood. Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:14; Col. 1:14; 1 John 2:12, 1:9
3. I am a new creature. II Cor. 5:17
4. I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 6:19
5. I am delivered from the power of darkness and translated into God’s kingdom. Col. 1:13
6. I am redeemed from the curse of the law. 1 Pet. 1:18, 10; Gal. 3:13
7. I am blessed. Deut. 28:1-14; Gal. 3:9
8. I am a saint. Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; Phil. 1:1
9. I am holy and without blame before Him in love. 1 Pet. 1:16; Eph. 1:4; 1 Cor. 1:8
10. I am elect. Col. 3:12; Rom. 8:33
11. I am established to the end. 1 Cor. 1:8
12. I am made near by the Blood of Christ. Eph. 2:13
13. I am victorious. Rev. 21:7
14. I am set free. Jn. 8:31-33
15. I am dead to Sin. Rom 6:2, 11; 1 Pet. 2:24; 11 Cor. 5:14
16. I am more than a conqueror. Rom. 8:37
17. I am joint heirs with Christ. Rom. 8:17
18. I am sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise. Eph. 1:13
19. I am accepted in the Beloved. Eph. 1:6
20. I am complete in Him. Col. 2:10
21. I am crucified with Christ. Gal. 2:20
22. I am alive with Christ. Eph. 2:5
23. I am free from condemnation. Rom. 8:1
24. I am reconciled to God. II Cor. 5:18; Rom. 5:10
25. I am qualified to share in His Inheritance. Col. 1:12
26. I am firmly rooted, built up, established in my faith. Col. 2:7
27. I am circumcised with the circumcision made without hands Col. 2:11
28. I am a fellow citizen with the saints and of the household of God. Eph. 2:19
29. I am built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone. Eph. 2:20
30. I am In the world as He is. 1 Jn. 4:17
31. I am born of God and the Evil one does not touch me. 1 Jn.5:18
32. I am his faithful follower. Rev. 17:14b; Eph. 5:1
33. I am overtaken with blessings. Deut. 28:2; Eph. 1:3
34. I am His disciple because I have love for others. John 13:34-35
35. I am the light of the world. Matt. 5:14
36. I am the salt of the earth. Matt. 5:13
37. I am the righteousness of God. II Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24
38. I am a partaker of His divine nature. II Pet. 1:4
39. I am called of God. II Tim. 1:9
40. I am the firstfruits among His creation. James 1:18
41. I am chosen. 1 Thes. 1:4; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 2:9
42. I am an ambassador for Christ. II Cor. 5:20
43. I am God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works Eph. 2:10
44. I am the apple of my Father’s eye. Deut. 32:10; Ps. 17:8
45. I am healed by the stripes of Jesus. 1 Pet. 2:24; Is. 53:5
46. I am being changed into His image. II Cor. 3:18; Phil. 1:6
47. I am raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places. Col. 2:12; Eph. 2:6
48. I am beloved of God. Col. 3:12; Rom 1:7; 1 Thes. 1:4
49. I am one in Christ! Hallelujah! John 17:21 – 23
When believers in Christ renew their mind with these facts, they base their personal, spiritual, essential identity on God’s revelation.
Since we are to walk by faith, we must take God’s Word on it! As we do, the Holy Spirit will increasingly direct our conduct to reflect who we really are in Christ.
Now, are you ready for the question: “Will the real [your name__________] please stand up?!” It’s not a case of pretending. Tell yourself the truth; stand by faith and live according to your real identity in Christ!
 www.qwertyuiop.co.uk/gs (tv game show trivia)
 This exposition of Mathew 16 based on Charles Solomon’s notes in Grace Fellowship International’s Exchanged Life Conference.
 For a detailed presentation and defense of man as spirit, soul, and body, visit the author’s blog site: BiblicalPsychology.net
Copyright by John Woodward, 2001. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Please credit Grace Fellowship International. Scripture quotations (unless indicated otherwise) are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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