King's Church Warrington

Topic: Identity

The Real You – Accepted in the Beloved

The Real You – Accepted in the Beloved


1 Corinthians 15:3-4 – Knowing and believing the truth about God and what He does sets us free to be the real version of who we are, and then we get to live in the good of that. Being a disciple of Jesus is the process of moving from unbelief to faith in every area of life. The Bible tells us what God says about
us. It tells us is that we are accepted in Jesus, as Ephesians puts it : “… to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV)


How do you know that God loves you? Romans 8:37, John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10, Romans 5:5
How does the Spirit give us confidence in our hearts that we are accepted in the Beloved? He opens our understanding to our need of a Saviour. (Romans 5:6-7)

The cross is the demonstration of the love of God for us. When did He die for us? When we were powerless and ungodly – He loved us at our worst and so there is now nothing that could happen that will separate us from His love. There is nothing that could make God stop loving you – we are ‘accepted in the Beloved’.

Love in action

The cross is more than a demonstration of the love of God: it is the love of God doing something to bring about real and eternal change on our behalf (Romans 3:25-26).

We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. Our nature produces fruit. God’s justice demands perfection and our nature can’t deliver that. But God’s love makes a way. Jesus – God the Son – the only perfect person ever becomes our sacrifice. God Himself meets His own standards on our behalf (Romans 8:1-4).

We are united with Jesus – In Christ – so His death becomes my death, His life becomes my life, His righteousness becomes my righteousness, His victory becomes my victory. Now we get to live differently.

Power to live differently

Ephesians 1:18-21 – Death is the one force that no one can escape or overcome. But on that first Easter Sunday Jesus overcame the power of death for us. Ephesians 1 talks about His incomparably great power. If the cross is the demonstration of God’s great love for us then the resurrection is the demonstration of God’s great power that is for us.

The power of the resurrection brings freedom. Because we are united with Jesus in His death we are also united with Him in His resurrection. In His death our inbuilt bias to sin also dies – we do not become sinless but we are given freedom to live under a new power. Because we are united with Jesus in His resurrection His life is now in us and we are set free to obey God. We are set free and empowered to live differently. Because we are accepted in the beloved we are free to obey God and we get to live His way.

Some people misunderstand this freedom that the resurrection brings and think that what we are saying is that because God has forgiven us, we are free to do as we please and sin does not really matter (Romans 6:1-4). We have been set free to obey, not to sin. Once we were dominated by the power or
bias towards sin in our lives, but when we became followers of Jesus we died to that. God raised us to new resurrection life and placed in us His righteousness, so now we have a bias to obey. We are accepted in the Beloved and we get to live differently now.

‘Get to’ or ‘Got to’

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). When you believe the truth about who God is and what God does then you are set free to become the real you.

  • God is good so I don’t have to look elsewhere for my satisfaction
  • God is gracious so I don’t have to prove myself (to God, myself or others)
  • God is great so I don’t have to be in control
  • God is glorious so I don’t have to fear others

This is all the fruit of knowing that we are accepted in the Beloved. We get to move from unbelief to faith in every area of life. We get to believe the truth of what God says about us instead of the lies that we believe about ourselves.


“The revolutionary new world that begun in the resurrection of Jesus, the world where Jesus reigns as Lord having won the victory over sin and death, has it’s front-line outpost in those who in baptism have shared in the death and resurrection of Jesus.” (Tom Wright )

The Real You – Freedom to follow

From distorted to true image…

“Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24)

The idea of putting on, like clothing that covers our nakedness bringing a protection and a warmth. The word for new is Kainos – it means something that is unfamiliar or not used to, but of a different form, a different nature from what was existing before. A new person after the character of Jesus.

The story of Gideon shows us how God comes and challenges our self-image, Gideon’s view of himself is ‘I am the least in my family’.

Jesus comes along and re-shapes our self-image, and our self-esteem. One of the ways He does that is to get us to look into the Bible where we can be reminded what it means to have an image reflected or imprinted by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Bible is meant to be that to you. Where you can see what and who you really are ‘in Christ’ so that what were previously your reference points for your self-image and self-esteem – human relationships, negative or positive circumstances, your upbringing, learned behaviours – now bow the knee to what Jesus says about you.

  • ‘I am the true vine’ (John 15:1-5)
  • ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ (John 11:25)
  • ‘I am the good shepherd’ (John 10:11-14)
  • ‘I am the gate’ (John 10:7)
  • ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:12, 9:5)
  • ‘I am the bread of life’ (John 6: 35-48)

Truth reveals (Ephesians 5:8-14)

The truth of God’s word and the revealing of the Holy Spirit brings to us an awareness of ourselves, that goes deeper than anything else, bringing us true freedom.

The ability to shift from negative emotion to positive emotion is a part of our ‘putting on’ our new self. You might say, well how can you control your emotions? One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. Negative mind-sets and frameworks don’t help us. Richard Wurmbrand when in prison for his faith ‘danced’ for joy in the presence of God. Our emotions don’t need to be tied to our circumstances – they are a part of ‘being renewed’.

The Real You in community

We model growth as people see us struggling with sin and turning in faith to God. Our different experiences of God’s grace become part of the rich counsel that we in the church have for one another. Our church is not a collection of random people. Paul says that Jesus makes His body fit together perfectly, Jesus has specially selected each one to create a perfect fit. You may not have chosen other people but Jesus selected those people in your life to help you to change.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)

These behaviours all involve other people and sinful desires. One of the great things about living in community is that people walk all over your idols. God is using the contrasting personalities in your church to change your heart. He places you together so you can rub off each other’s rough edges.

As a community of people of faith, each of us can contribute to each other’s growth. That means that we can help each other lean into the truth about who we are in Christ. Each of us are on a journey of becoming free, a greater freedom to live in the way God has designed us to be.

We meet together to encourage one another, to proclaim the worth of God to one another, to remind each other of the greatness and goodness of God.

“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘today’ so that none of you may be hardened by sins deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:12-13)

You can’t do daily one day a week: it has to be in shared lives or family on mission. The real you can emerge in community when we have a community of grace. It means being honest, open and transparent about our struggles. We see one another as ‘sinners saved by grace’ – that means we portray ourselves as a sinner who constantly receives grace from Christ.

The Real You – Freedom to follow

The Real You – Who do you think you are?

Identity crisis

Who do you think you are? There are two ways that question can come across.

One suggests you’re out of place. Who do you think you are: acting like that, dressing like that, being here, talking to me? Maybe you ask it of yourself. Who do I think I’m kidding trying to do this? Who do I think is going to like me dressed like this?

The other way that question comes across is who do YOU think YOU are? You choose, you decide, you define your identity. The problem with that is, what if it’s not good enough? What if it changes? There is no solid foundation to it.

We’re pressed in on both sides by these two questions. One says ‘be whoever you want to be’, the other says ‘that’s not good enough’.

ALWAYS answer, with who people CAN be, who GOD says they are.


In Luke 5:1-11 we see Jesus calling his first disciples. They hadn’t made it in the Jewish religious education system, they weren’t the best or the brightest and their society had told them exactly who they were and where they belonged. So much so that when Jesus comes they say ‘Get away from me!’ They believed what the world said about them, but Jesus saw something different, just like He does when He looks at you.

In all of creation it was for you God saved his own image (Genesis 1:27). You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14). He sees what you can be, because of who made you. Jesus doesn’t look at past failings and mistakes. He says ‘Don’t be afraid’ because He makes a way through all of that at the cross.

Jesus sees you where you are. Notice He tells those first disciples they will still be fisherman but now they will fish for people! He makes the same offer to you. He takes you where you are and is ready to use you for His kingdom. He KNEW who He was looking for. He calls them, not despite who they are, but because of it, and it’s the same for you.

Step out

What is stopping you being who Jesus says you are, from leaving the nets behind and following Him? It is vital we answer this question and claim the identity He has for us. The world needs it – it needs us to know who Jesus says we are. Show others that same truth because that’s how the world is changed: one person, one family at a time. Disciples making disciples.

YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made in Father’s image. You are worthy of Son’s sacrifice and redeemed by it. You are empowered by Holy Spirit to change the world.

The Real You – Who do you think you are?