Recap: Jesus as THE Beloved 

The mamzer from Nazareth ‘discovered’ and grew into his identity and destiny as God’s Be-Loved. Then it was supernaturally confirmed at his baptism: “You are my Agapetos.” He was who he was and did what he did because he was so free to love, knowing Abba’s love. His life and baptism is the model for Christian life and baptism: When we believe in Jesus we are “accepted in The Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). Then OUR baptism confirms and empowers US to be God’s Beloved daughters and sons.

Christian Baptism, Gal 3:22-29 

“You are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Messiah Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Therefore, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.”

Jesus is Abraham’s seed fulfilling the sacrifice of love in Genesis 22:1-14. In the Septuagint (Greek translation of Old Testament) the Hebrew yachid, “one and only son” is translated Agapetos (verse 2). In Jesus WE are God’s seed, “born again” by his Spirit as his “one and only” sons and daughters. That gives each of us a whole new identity and destiny as God’s dearly “Beloved Child” (see Ephesians 1:6 cf. 5:1). The Early Church used the intimate Abba (“Daddy”) in their address to God, which they learnt from Jesus: “As God’s children, he sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba’ (Galatians 4:6, see also Romans 8:15-17).

Made real at OUR baptism

When we are baptized to confirm our faith in Jesus we:
1) Die to, and bury, the old life of sin and ‘worldly’ identity,
2) Rise to our new identity and destiny in Christ,
3) Receive the (baptism of the) Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands,
4) Hear Abba’s voice: “You are my son/daughter, My Beloved, with you I am well pleased”, and
5) We are formally received into God’s local Family of Love.

Paul refers to baptism when he says “God has poured out  his LOVE into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us” (Romans 5:5). In Christian Baptism we “clothe ourselves with Christ” in a new identity and destiny because “Christ died for all… we should no longer live for ourselves, but for him who died and rose again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, the old has gone, the new has begun… Be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:15-19).

The Early Church’s radical Baptismal Confession: (Gal 3:29)

“By baptism into Messiah I clothe myself with him: Therefore I am neither
Jew nor Gentile (black nor white – change of racial/cultural identity)
Slave nor free (poor nor rich – change of social/class identity)
Male nor female (the sexual/gender Gospel mandate, see Luke 20:34-36)
For I am one in Christ’s community”

As Christ-followers we experience this reality of changed identity and destiny in the tension of the “already” and “not yet” of the Kingdom. I.e. although race, culture, class, gender, age, size, education, talent, popularity, strength, etc, defines us in this age, we daily embrace our new identity in the Kingdom of God as “The Beloved”. The Early Church baptism confession reversed two daily prayers. The Jewish men prayed the Berakot daily: “Blessed be the Lord God that he did not make me a Gentile (dog)… nor a boor (a slave or peasant)… nor a woman.” And the Greek men prayed daily: “Thanks be to God that I was born a human being and not a beast, a man and not a woman, a Greek and not a barbarian.” Can you believe these prayers, these mindsets? Jesus’ followers radically subverted their cultural context, showing Jesus’ culture!

Claiming and Growing into our Identity and Destiny as God’s Agapetos – some questions 

What is the world’s view of your identity and destiny – the basis of YOU being loved?
What is your own view of yourself… of your self-worth, your self-image?
Have you been baptized as a follower of Jesus? If so, do you live your baptism daily, dying to and burying the old basis of identity – the conditional love and rejection that has formed you?
How do you daily rise to and claim the new Be-Loved identity and destiny?

The answer to the last question is that it’s both an event (like baptism, or events as in power encounters by the Holy Spirit) and a life-long journey… that requires good old VIM! It requires a Vision, the Intention, and a Method to become God’s Beloved. This teaching series is VIM… for the cleansing and transformation your soul into God’s Love!

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