Acknowledging What We Are

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  15 : 9-10
Subject: Christ Identity; Soldier, Christian

We live at a point in time that could be labeled as both exciting and exasperating. It is exciting because we are literally witnessing the coming together of events that point to the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also somewhat exasperating because of the uncertainties and unrest we are now seeing all around us.

However, in the midst of the exasperating elements of our present existence, we as God’s blood-washed children have cause to be encouraged when we remember that God is still in control. No matter how things turn out in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or any other part of the world, our hope and help is in the Lord.

In the hubbub and difficulty of daily existence, it is rather easy to lose our perspective as to who and what we are in a world, which has seemingly gone mad. We all must be on guard against becoming either cocky or complacent. We must not lose our perspective in these tumultuous days. Our perspective will affect our performance for God in these last days.

Consider with me the type of perspective that we need to maintain as we fight the good fight of faith.

We need to acknowledge that:

I. We are Sinners (Our Human Plight)

A. We Need to Remember that our Flesh is Hopelessly Defiled

All of us were born with a wicked sin nature at the core of our being:

Effects of Sin

How does a worm get inside an apple? Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from inside. But how does he get in there? Simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out.

Sin, like the worm, begins in the heart and works out through a person’s thoughts, words, and actions.1

Rom. 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”

Rom. 8:5 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

NOTE: [1] The word “flesh” refers to the “sinful nature.”2 Our sin nature never ceases to be what it essentially is—corrupt and displeasing to God (Rom. 7:18). This is why the Christian is to “…Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

[2] The word “after,” used twice in Romans 8:5, carries the idea of “dominated by.”3 Paul is making a comparison between the saint and the sinner. The sin nature habitually dominates the sinner. The saint on the other hand, has a choice. The saint has been set free from the dominion of the sin nature (Rom. 6:14).

B. We Need to Remember our Great Deliverance

Isa. 51:1 “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.”

1. Jesus rescued us from our sin and spiritual darkness.

Col. 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

2. Jesus rescued us from the wrath of God against sinners.

1 Thess. 1:9 “For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

3. Jesus rescued us from the domination of our sin nature.

Rom. 6:12 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

14a For sin shall not have dominion over you…”

C. We Need to Remember our Total Dependence on our Deliverer

John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

2 Cor. 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

Though we may not always realize it, we are totally dependent on the Lord:

A Morning Prayer

Dear God,

So far, today I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, I haven’t lost my temper; I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over-indulgent. I’m very thankful for that. But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on, I’m probably going to need a lot of help. Amen.4

II. We are Saints (Our Heavenly Position)

1 Cor. 1:2 “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…” 4 Source unknown.

A. We were Saved at Great Price

Eph. 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

1 Pet. 1:18 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things… 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

B. We are Set Apart unto God’s Praise

Eph. 1:11 “In whom (Jesus) also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”

C. We are Sent Forth for the Gospel’s Promulgation

Acts 1:8 “…and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

D. We are Supposed to be a Picture of Christ’s Person. Phil. 1: 21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Rom. 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…”

When people look at us, our character and disposition should look like that of Christ. This story illustrates my point.

The Mirror

In Discipleship Journal, Carole Mayhall tells of a woman who went to a diet center to lose weight. The director took her to a full-length mirror. On it he outlined a figure and told her, “This is what I want you to be like at the end of the program.”

Days of intense dieting and exercise followed, and every week the woman would stand in front of the mirror, discouraged because her bulging outline didn’t fit the director’s ideal. But she kept at it, and finally one day she conformed to the longed-for image.5

III. We are Soldiers (Our Honorable Profession)

A. Soldiers Are To Be Respectful

5 Our Daily Bread, August 8, 1990.

Heb. 12:9 “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live?”

Eccl. 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

B. Soldiers Are To Be Rugged

Just as America’s soldiers must be disciplined, even so God’s soldiers must be spiritually disciplined.

1 Cor. 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

NOTE: [1] Back in 1969, when I was going through Basic Training, there was a guy in my flight who constantly bragged about how much tequila he could hold. However, the first day we were required to run the mile, he collapsed on the track. A few days later, he received a medical discharge. His uncontrolled appetite for drink had ruined him physically. The Air Force declared this man physically unfit for military duty.

[2] Christian soldiers must mature in the faith so that we can learn to discipline the appetites of the flesh. Otherwise, we cannot be effective for Christ.

Like America’s soldiers, Christian soldiers must be conditioned for difficulty.

2 Tim. 2:3 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

C. Soldiers Are To Be Ready
1. They are to be ready to sound off

1 Pet. 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

2. They are to be ready for duty

Titus 3:1 “Put them in mind…to be ready to every good work,”

3. They must be ready for battle.

1 Pet. 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

4. They must be ready to report to the Commander.

Luke 12:40 “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.”

C. Soldiers Are To Be Resisters

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

D. Soldiers Are To Be Routers

2 Cor. 10:4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;


1 Heaven and Home Hour Radio Bulletin.

2 W.H. Griffith Thomas, D.D., St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976) pp. 208-209.

3 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies, vol. I, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. 4 Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984)

5 Romans in the Greek New Testament, p. 131.


Copyright © January 1991 by Rev. Donnie L. Martin. All rights reserved.