Have you ever seen one of those programs on TV where one of the good guys in law enforcement will go under cover in order to infiltrate the bad guy’s organization so as to gain evidence to bring them down? I related Paul’s statement in Ephesians 2:20 to that experience as I read from God’s Word over the last few days… Not necessarily the act of going under cover, but the new background that needs to be established for the uncover agent so that his or her ruse is not discovered.
Ephesians 2:20 tells us that we “are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” (KJV) It would seem that as Christians we suddenly have a new background that has been developed for us that is not based on our natural past or heritage, but upon the doctrine and spiritual heritage of the saints and prophets of God. It is a new lineage that is established on who we are in Christ… as members of the family of GOD!
The big difference between my TV example and our new background as Christians would be that in the TV scenario the character’s new background is a fake, simply established to protect the assignment. As Christians, our new background is factual data that is honestly based on who and/or what the Word of God says we are! I guess a closer TV example would be the premise of one of my favorite TV shows from the early 1980’s, Knight Rider.
Okay… Okay… stop laughing! I bet many of you who are around my age watched it too! To be honest, it was probably more the car than the actors and action scenes (which were pretty hokey compared to today’s standards!) that drew me to the show! At that time I really wanted to get a new Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. In fact ,we came very close to purchasing one… We ended up at a dealership in the neighboring town of Petaluma and had spent quite a while finagling a deal with the salesman who had been one of Piper’s Dad’s student government officers when he was the Dean of Student Activities at the local Junior College.
We had a particular color that we wanted (probably black…) and agreed that they would search the northern California dealerships to find one. If the search was not positive, we told him that we would purchase the white, loaded with lots of extras, model we test drove. Well, the search (supposedly) went on for about two weeks with many phone calls from me and hardly any feedback from the salesman.
Finally my wife and I got a bit disgusted and decided that it most likely was the Lord trying to tell us something… so we called and cancelled the deal. Then, a few weeks later we found a deep red Pontiac Bonneville wagon at another dealership, set it up with mags and wide tires and my wife drove away with a huge smile on her face. Besides… the wagon was a lot more practical for our growing family than was the Firebird… maybe not as much fun… but more appropriate! About fifteen years later I did get my Firebird type car in the form of a Camaro which was actually built on the same body platform as the 1983 Firebird we almost purchased! And... my uncle had a new Firebird that I could always drool over!
But back to my original thought… In the Knight Rider series the main character had been shot in the face and left for dead in the pilot of the series. He was nursed back to health by a rich mentor, given constructive cosmetic surgery that gave him a new image and a brand new identity. From that point on, the previous twenty some years of His life simply did not exist. His new background was, for all intent and purposes, who Michael Knight was.
According to Ephesians 2:20… that is exactly like you and me! Our new background... our Godly heritage... is who we are! The old life simply does not exist anymore. Our new lives are based on “the foundation of the apostles and prophets!” Another great example is the Ancestry.com commercial that is currently running on TV. In it the actor tells how he grew up thinking and acting like he was German only to discover through a Ancestry.com DNA test that his family was actually of Scottish decent!
Again that is similar to you and me as member of the family of God. We may have been raised with a natural family that is of a certain natural decent… but as Christians we discover that our real heritage now traces back to the kingdom of God as established in the Word through the apostles and prophets! It is who we REALLY are! But again we have a choice to make…
We can choose to ignore our real heritage and go with the flow of our natural background and senses or endeavor to learn of, develop and then assimilate our new heritage into our lives. That truth has helped me to understand how two individuals can be born and raised into the same family, follow similar career paths, attend churches from the same denomination and hold most of the same family, social and spiritual values but yet be so different when responding to the challenging times in life. I believe the difference lies in the depth of their new heritage that they have assimilated into their daily lives.
Now I also understand that different personality types and personal experiences can play into this as well, but from my experience, our spiritual genes have the power to even override these powerful influences, for the Word tells us that the things that may be difficult or impossible with the natural man “are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27 KJV)
I found myself telling Piper at different times throughout the day yesterday that she comes from a heritage that declares her to be “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10 KJV), that she has overcome this attack on her health “by the blood of the lamb and the word of their (our) testimony.” (Revelation 12:11) and that “by whose (Jesus’) stripes ye were healed.” (I Peter 2:24 KJV). THAT IS WHO THE WORD SAYS THAT SHE IS!!! Her natural family background and heritage has NO hold, NO power and NO say so in who she is as a born-again, Spirit-filled, faithful follower of Jesus Christ. She’s been a member of the family of God since she was eight years old and that is the ONLY heritage that matters… and you know… the same is TRUE for you and me as Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ!
So who or what are you going to believe… and trust your life too… The family tree that is written in the front pages of Grandma’s Bible… or in the life-giving Word of our one true Papa God? So… have a great weekend. Rejoice in your true heritage and keep asking yourself… What or Who’s Ancestry.com information am I expecting to be a part of today?”