Many times we overlook the introduction to the books of the Bible as the writer introduces to whom he is writing. We have a tendency to think that it is not important to us because it was written to a people in a different time period and place. But there is a lot of valuable information in the introduction of the book that will give us a better understanding of how we should view ourselves in relation to our status as children of God.
The Bible is God’s love letter to His people, so all of it, even the “Greeting” is written, not only to the ones that it was addressing in that day and age, but also to us. Paul starts a lot of his writings “to the saints” in the church. He doesn’t remind the people that they were once sinners, but he addresses them as who they are in Christ Jesus, because they “were” sinners, but they are now “saints”. Do you see yourself as an old sinner saved by grace, or a saint who occasionally sins? Well, you were a sinner and if you’ve invited Jesus into your heart you are now a saint, but God is not in the business of reminding people of how bad they were in the past. He encourages people to be who they are in Christ Jesus and to see themselves as that “saint” that they have now become. Here are some of the New Testament “Greetings”:
1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
2 Corinthians 1:1 PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:
Ephesians 1:1 PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
Philippians 1:1 PAUL and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Colossians 1:1, 2 PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse:
Romans 1:7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:
Paul even identifies himself as what God has made him to be, an apostle, not what he used to be as a persecutor of the church of Jesus Christ. He knew that he was a new creation in Christ Jesus, and as such, he identified himself as what he was as that new person, not what he had been. It is important for us to see ourselves as the person that God has made us and not the sinner that we used to be. If we constantly see ourselves as an old sinner saved by grace we will live with a defeatist attitude.
If you have been born again through the blood of Jesus and received Him as your Savior and Lord, then you are beloved of God, called to be saints just as much as the Romans were, or the people of Philippi or Colosse or Ephesus or Corinth! We all have to go through the blood of Jesus to become a saint of God! It is true that we have not been perfected, but God has begun a good work in each of us and He will bring it to completion at the day of Christ’s return. (Philippians 1:6)
Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Have you ever thought about the fact that God chose you before the foundation of the world to be His and that through the shed blood of His Son you have been placed and accepted into the Beloved; His family? Do you understand that you are a child of the King; a royal priesthood, a holy people? And that He has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places through your relationship with Christ Jesus? You are a VIP, very important person!
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
You are God’s own special person! He has a plan for your life, to proclaim His praises! He has delivered you out of darkness and into His marvelous light and you are now a part of His family; His own people. He has given you mercy when you didn’t have it before. He has a good plan for your life!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
God has a plan for your life that is full of hope, peace and goodness! It is as we see ourselves the way that God sees us that we will live up to the standards that He has placed before us. We strive to be what is expected of us. If you have a child that is constantly belittled and criticized he will grow up with a negative attitude thinking he can’t do anything right. But if you constantly praise and encourage that same child he will grow up with a positive attitude thinking he can conquer the world! We are the same way in our spiritual journeys. We live up to what we are told about ourselves. Our spirits need spiritual truth to flourish and grow. Our emotions and actions will follow what comes out of our spirits. It is important to feed your spirit man daily on the word of God to assure proper spiritual nourishment for growth.
In my younger years I suffered from low self-esteem that stemmed from an emotionally abusive past. As a part of my deliverance God had me create a list of positive confessions from His word that I used to counter the negative thoughts that would come against me. They are powerful confessions for practical living. I would like to share them with you because I feel there are others that may be suffering from that same “spiritual illness”. Please feel free to take them as you would any prescription medication; with regularity! It will help if you read them out loud to yourself so your eyes see the words and your hears hear them. That multiplies the effectiveness of the confessions.
Father, I thank You for Your word that brings life into my spirit! I ask You, Father, to open the eyes of the blind and those who are oppressed to see the freedom that they have in Christ Jesus! Father, bring them out of darkness, whatever it might be. Deliver them from the evil one and set their spirits aflame with Your love and desire. Father, I ask You to deliver them from the oppression of low self-esteem and show them who they are in Christ Jesus! Bring them out of darkness into the light of Your word! Increase their desire to be free and give them the ability and courage to speak Your word over their lives every day until their spirit man is built up and nourished! Thank You, Father, for setting them free! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
I am a new creation in Christ, old things have passed away and all things have become new. 2 Cor. 5:17
God made Jesus to be sin for me that I might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor. 5:21
I am working out my own salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who works in me both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Phil. 2:12, 13
I am confident of this very thing, that God has begun a good work in me and He will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6
I have the mind of Christ and He has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 1 Cor. 1:16; 2 Tim. 1:7
I have an anointing from the Holy One and I know all things. And the anointing which I have received from Him abides in me, and teaches me all things that are true and not a lie. 1 John 2:20, 27
The Holy Spirit is my teacher and He guides me into all truth; He does not speak on His own authority but whatever He hears He speaks to me and tells me things to come. John 16:13
Jesus is the good shepherd and I am His sheep. he speaks and I hear His voice and the voice of another I will not follow. John 10:6, 14, 27
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want or lack for any good thing. Ps. 23:1
The Word of God is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path. Ps. 119:105
God’s Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against Him. Ps. 119:11
I delight myself in the Lord and He gives me the desires of my heart. Ps. 37:4
My steps are ordered of God because I am a good woman and the Lord delights in my way. Though I may fall, I shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds me with His hand. Ps. 37:23, 24
The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. It pierces my heart and divides between my soul and my spirit. It judges my thoughts and intentions and brings change into my life. Heb. 4:12
I can take authority over the thoughts that come into my mind because my weapons are not carnal but mighty in God to the pulling down of strongholds and God has given me authority over all the power of the enemy and He cannot harm me. 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Luke 10:19
God has delivered me from the power of darkness and conveyed me into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Col. 1:13
I can submit myself to God and resist the Devil and he must flee from me. Jas. 4:7
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13
I thank God because He always leads me to triumph in Christ. 2 Cor. 2:14
I am the healed of the Lord because by His stripes I was healed. 1 Pet. 2:24
My God is my healer. He has sent His word and healed me and delivered me from all my destruction. Ex. 15:26; Ps. 107:20
I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. Ps. 118:17
No weapon formed against me shall prosper and every tongue that raises up against me in judgment I shall condemn for this is my heritage as a servant of the LORD and He is my righteousness and vindication! Is. 54:17
All my children shall be taught of the LORD and great shall be their peace [their undisturbed composure]. Is. 54:13
My afflictions may be many, but the Lord delivers me out of them all. Ps. 34:19
Because I dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty, I can say of the LORD, “you are my refuge and my fortress. You are my God and it’s in You that I trust. Ps. 91:1,2
Because I have made the LORD my refuge and my dwelling place, no evil shall befall me and no plague shall come near my dwelling. And He gives His angels charge over me to keep me in all my ways. They hold me in their hands so I won’t stumble and fall on the rocks of life. Ps. 91:9-12
Because I have set my love upon God, He will deliver me. He sets me on high because I have known His name; I know Him personally and understand His character and nature. I call upon Him and He answers me. He is with me in trouble. He delivers me and honors me and satisfies me with long life. And He shows me His salvation. Ps. 91:14-16
When I am afraid, I trust in my God; I praise His word and trust in Him. I will not fear because my God is for me. When I cry out to Him my enemies turn back. Ps. 56:9
My soul trusts in my God and I hide in the shadow of His wings until the storm passes by. Ps. 57:1
Because my God will never leave me or forsake me, I can boldly say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.” Heb. 13:5,6
If my God is for me, who could possibly be against me? My God gave up His only Son for me and with Him He freely gives me all things. Rom. 8:31, 32
There is nothing that can separate me from God’s love. And He has made me more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. Rom. 8:35, 37
My God is greater than anything the devil or the world can throw at me. He has overcome the world and He is the greater One living in me. Because I am in Him and He is in me I have overcome the world and have the victory through my faith in Him. 1 John 4:4; 5:4