The rewards of loyalty to Jesus and an uncompromising commitment to follow Him are great. The pure in heart will see God. The divided in heart will imagine they do.
You have an identity in Christ. We all do. In Him and with Jesus as our life we are the sons of God. That’s our identity - daughters and sons. We are complete in Him. This is our primary identity and the deep-identity that determines our nature, the expression of our humanity and the destiny that is ours. This identity determines if our spirit is alive or dead and whether we are sons notionally or in spirit and in truth.
Paul said, ‘To live is Christ.’ He did not say ‘To live is Christ and Judaism.’ He would not say anything so absurd because we are either in Christ or we are not.
When Paul talks of Christ your life, He is talking of our identity in Jesus as sons and our union with Father as family. He is talking of our being as sons of spirit and life.
When Paul talks of being crucified yet alive in Christ, he is telling us about our state of being, about our identity in union with Jesus. We are who we are by origin in Adam and who we now are by redemption in Jesus.
When Paul says, that all things are ‘garbage’ compared to knowing Jesus, he is telling us a home truth. It is that we have one primary identity, one source of being: Jesus. Paul is telling us that what Jesus affirmed about His Father, that ‘He and His Father were one’ was about Jesus’ identity. And that this identity is ours. What Jesus had is now ours. What Jesus represented - union with God - Paul lived in and modelled. Jesus’ loyalty to Father took Him to the cross, but then to a colossal harvest of souls. Paul’s loyalty to Jesus led him to describe himself as a slave. But Paul became the prime exponent of Jesus and His new creation life.
It was Paul who urged that we have ‘one husband’ and James who assured us that we can have but ‘one master.’ So if you are looking to justify dual loyalties you won’t find it here. None of the disciple and apostles had one foot in Judaism and one in Christ. Nor did they consider themselves to have two identities. They were servants and slaves of Jesus.
So if Jesus and His Father were one, what’s this about thinking that we can be two - that we can have an identity in Jesus and an identity as a member of a denomination from which we draw status, significance and adhere to as the truth? We are either His disciple or we are not.
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple. Luke 14.26 NIV.
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples” Luke 14.33 NIV.
We have an identity in Christ that trumps all other identities, that is superior to identities of the flesh and that compels us under His Lordship to subordinate our private notions, denominational understandings, collective veils and ‘other gospels’ to Jesus and His gospel of the Kingdom. We have now qualified ourselves as disciples. Or not.
Individuals and groups can make an identity for themselves in a thimble of their own culture, crouching together in the gloom, reinforcing each other with aberrant beliefs and false certainty to convince themselves that their beliefs are a valid expression of Christian teaching when they are a perversion of the apostles teaching. They perpetuate crippled spirits and sick souls. If our identity is in our denomination, then this community is our god.
Paul wrote, ‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world’ Gal 6.14 NIV. Should we be scuttling crab-like with dual identities, could it be that the world has not been crucified to us or us to the world?