Yesterday I wrote about our potential to be ineffective and unfruitful. When I forget who I am in Christ, I quit pursuing what belongs to me in Christ. I'll seek meaning and purpose in horizontal things, because I'm not getting my identity vertically. When I'm not pursuing Christ as the only source of my identity, I won't be producing as much fruit as I should.
So what does it mean to be getting our identity from Christ? I'm afraid we throw around phrases like that without knowing what they really mean, so I want to take today and explain what I think that means. Here's what Peter says: "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3). Another way of saying this is, "God has already given me everything I need for life and godliness."
Now I want to nitpick over the two words 'life and godliness.' If Peter had only written, "God has given me everything I need for life," we would tend to add in the word 'eternal' and say, "Of course I know this. God has given me everything I need so that someday I'll have eternal life." But that's not what Peter is talking about. Peter is talking about the 'here and now', which is why he uses the term 'godliness.'
What is godliness? It's a God-honoring life between the time I come to Christ and the time I go home to be with Him. And Christ has already given me everything I need for it! Yes, we face the harsh realities of life in a fallen world, and yes, we still struggle with indwelling sin. But because of my relationship with Christ, I have been given a Warrior Spirit that lives inside of me. He fights on my behalf and enables me to produce good fruit: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7).
This passage is describing the 'here and now' benefits of our salvation. Listen, it's not enough for us to believe in life after death - we need to start believing in life before death. If we understand our identity that we've been given in Christ, we can live filled with hope and courage. Christ has not just forgiven you. He has completely and fundamentally changed who you are, and because of that, you can live in a very new and different way.
If you remember that in your marriage, if you remember that in your job, if you remember that as you face the situations and relationships of life, it will make a tremendous difference in the way that you live. You'll begin to produce new and surprising fruit, and you'll be used by God to help others remember their identity.