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Who Am I?: Identity in Christ Paperback – February 28, 2012
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"Jerry Bridges' gift for simple but deep spiritual communication is fully displayed in this warm-hearted, Biblical spelling out of the Christian's true identity in Christ." -- J.I. Packer "www.cruciformpress.com"
"I know of no one better prepared than Jerry Bridges to write Who Am I? He is a man who knows who he is in Christ and he helps us to see succinctly and clearly who we are to be. Thank you for another gift to the Church of your wisdom and insight in this book." -- R.C. Sproul "www.cruciformpress.com" --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From the Inside Flap
"Should be a book that pastors look at giving all new Christians"
I received a paperback of Who Am I? while attending Together for the Gospel and have been sitting on it since. I'm going to start with my only complaint. The mannequin on the cover freaks me out. It reminds of one of those faceless robots from that cheesy Will Smith movie iRobot. Otherwise, I have no substantial critiques.
He starts by discussing our common identity with humanity in creation. Foundationally we are creatures but then he zeros in on the Christian's unique identity in Christ asjustified, adopted sons of God, new creations, saints, servants of Christ, and not yet perfect.
He also handles deftly the differences between initial sanctification and justification versus progressive sanctification and our effort.
Each of these topics could take over the party but they are clearly and accurately explained. His writing is approachable yet profound (the topics demand it).
Who Am I? should be a book that pastors look at giving all new Christians they minister to. The topics addressed are so foundational to Christian living and our understanding of salvation. The format lends itself to discussion and discipleship. Each chapter handles one of these topics carefully and accurately. They each build on each other and the entire book exudes a sense of hope and longing for the finality of our salvation.
-Mathew Sims, Grace for Sinners --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Bridges covers the following concerning our identity in Christ:
I Am a Creature
I Am in Christ
I Am Justified
I Am an Adopted Son of God
I Am a New Creation
I Am a Saint
I Am a Servant of Christ
I Am Not Yet Perfect
The chapters that especially stood out to me were:
"I Am Justified" - Bridges does an outstanding job of explaining what it is to be "justified" by God. Great use of scripture and fleshed out in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. This chapter is perfect for someone trying to understand what it is to become a Christian.
"I Am a New Creation" - I found this chapter to be incredibly encouraging and so full of hope. His use of Ezekiel 36:26-27 was outstanding and set the tone for the rest of the chapter. He also gives a list of uncomfortably honest questions for self examination on whether or not we are displaying evidence of being a new creation.
"I Am a Saint" - I was curious as to how he would unpack this part of our identity and this turned out to be one of my favorite chapters. Bridges does a great job demystifying the word "saint" and makes it very understandable. This chapter was very heavy on the subject of holiness and sanctification.
This really is a powerful little book that reads quick, but carries a lot of weight. Reading the book felt like you were sitting across a coffee table listening to a seasoned pastor share from the depths of his knowledge and experience. I would definitely recommend this book for studying the subject of our identity in Christ.
The first book is Who am I? by Jerry Bridges. It's a book that I read as I prepped for our new series starting tomorrow at Revolution Church called Image is Everything.
Besides the creepy looking mannequin on the front cover, it was a great book that looked at what Scripture says about you as a follower of Jesus.
For many people, our identities are really broken. They are found in our past sins and hurts. They are found in what our family has said about us, what teachers have said about us, they are found in the broken promises of parents, broken marriages and bad decisions. What this leads to is trying to prove ourselves to God, believing that God believes the same broken things about us that we believe.
Bridges lays out very clearly what it means to be a follower of Jesus, in a short 95 pages. He covers how and why it matters that we are a creature, in Christ, justified, adopted, a new creation, a saint, a servant of Christ and not yet perfect.
Here are a few things I highlighted:
-Christians, our identity is to be found in our relationship with Christ, not in our subjective and often negative life experiences.
-While being made in God's image puts us on an entirely different plane from any of the animals, we are still creatures. This makes us both dependent upon God and accountable to God.
-Dependent creatures we are also spiritually vulnerable. We have three enemies: the world, the devil and our own sinful flesh. The world--the totality of humanity that is set in opposition to God--is constantly seeking to conform us to its own standards and values. The devil comes to us disguising himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), seeking to sow doubt in our minds as to the love and faithfulness of God toward us. And then, worst of all, we have our sinful flesh which constantly strives against the Spirit who resides in us.
-Everything good in me or around me, whether spiritual or material, is a gift from God.
-I am a creature, created in the image of God, fully dependent on him and fully accountable to him.
-The term "in Christ" is the apostle Paul's shorthand expression for being united to Christ.
-What Paul is getting at in these two verses is that in God's way of dealing with humanity there are only two men, Adam and Christ. All the rest of us are represented before God by one or the other of these two men. Behind Adam stands all of humanity representatively united to him. We all come into this world "in Adam." Because of that, Paul's descriptive words in Ephesians 2:1-3 are true of every one of us before we trust Christ. Here is what he wrote: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Paul's description of our dismal condition can be summed up in three expressions: * Spiritually dead * Slaves (to the world, the devil, and our sinful passions) * Objects of God's wrath Think of that! As one "in Adam" you came into the world an object of God's wrath. It doesn't matter whether we were born of Christian parents or pagan parents. We are all born "in Adam" and so an object of God's wrath. All because Adam sinned. Not only all of humanity, but creation itself suffered the consequences of Adam's sin. Though in Genesis 3:17-19, God refers specifically to cursing the ground, Paul in Romans 8:19-22, speaks of the futility of all creation. So we all come into the world spiritually dead, objects of God's wrath, and into a natural environment that is under the curse of God. That is what it means to be "in Adam."
-To be "in Christ" is the most basic identity of a Christian, so much so that all other answers to the question, "Who am I?", are based on, or drawn from, that identity:
-We are justified, not by works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ. Justified is an evaluative term based on one's obedience to a law. It is a legal or courtroom evaluation. To be justified means that one has been declared "right" according to the appropriate law.
-To be justified means to be declared righteous by God with respect to his law. It also means to be accepted and treated by God as such
-Justification secures our legal relationship with God as judge. In justification God declares that we are righteous in Christ. * Adoption secures our family relationship with God. Through adoption God makes us his children.
-Adoption takes our relationship with God to a higher level.
-By adopting him he has become personally responsible for both his welfare and his behavior.
-We have been adopted by Father God, and that fact has completely changed our future.
-God loves us, not because we are loveable, but because we are in Christ, and the love which the Father has for his Son flows over to us because we are in him.
-In our adoption, we gain an inheritance, and we gain a relationship with God as our Father.
-God promised two things: to radically change our hearts and to actually put his Holy Spirit within us to prompt us and enable us to obey God.
Here are some questions to help us examine ourselves:
* What is my attitude toward God? Do I gladly acknowledge my dependence on him and my accountability to him?
* What is my attitude toward my sin? Am I concerned or indifferent about it? * What is my attitude toward Jesus Christ? Do I trust in him as the one who died for my sin on the cross?
* What is my attitude toward the Bible? Do I truly want to grow in my understanding and application of it in my life?
* What is my attitude toward prayer? Do I also want to grow in this area of my life, or am I quite content to see prayer as an occasional call out to God for help?
* What is my attitude toward other Christians? Do I appreciate being with them and learning from them, or do I actually prefer the company and lifestyle of my non-Christian friends?
Don't let the small size of this book fool you. It's packed with rich truth about the grace and love of God and our identity and Christ; the Gospel pours forth from its pages.
Whether you're a new believer or a mature Christian this book has something for you. This book brings us back to the fundamental truths of Christianity: who we are, who Jesus is, and our relationship with Him. The foundation of this book is two truths: we are created beings and we are in Christ (both positionally and relationally). The rest of the book explores what this means.
We can never get past the foundational truths in this book. Another well-known author describes playing golf with a well-known professional golfer; he kept looking for something special about the pro's swing or some other aspect of his game. His conclusion: mostly the pro was really committed to the basics. This book helps us maintain a Gospel focus.
I particularly like the chapters on "I am not yet perfect," "I am a created being" and "I am in Christ." Each of those chapters alone would make this book worth the price.
I recently read "Transforming Grace" by the same author and these books are a great compliment to each other. What Bridges shows us in both is that our relationship with God and identity in Him is based on His grace, not our effort.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. I plan on re-reading this book regularly.