If I were to ask you "Do you know who you are?" your immediate answer would be, "Of course I do." But can you imagine what it would be like if suddenly you lost all memory of your name, where you lived, who was your husband or wife, your children, where you worked, etc? It would be terrifying. There is an enormous security in knowing who you are. That is the reason people are so reluctant to change. They are secure in what they know and very fearful about what they do not know.
Well, it is also a necessity that you know who you have become in your spirit. You are a new creature in your spirit (2 Cor. 5:17), and you have to reeducate your mind to think that way before the perfect will of God will be made manifest in your flesh (Rom. 12:1-2). We are more than conquerors through Christ, but we won't benefit from that truth until we convince ourselves of it, no more than a millionaire would benefit from their bank account if they didn't know it was there. This is the condition that the body of Christ has been in. We have simply been ignorant of who we are in Jesus (in our spirits) and of the rights and privileges that are ours.
An example of this in the natural is our freedom as Americans. According to the preamble of the Constitution, we have been endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights which are guaranteed to us by the governing documents of the United States of America. There is an elected judicial system to enforce these rights. But, with these rights there are also responsibilities. It is each individual's responsibility to know what their rights are and go through the proper channels to obtain them. Millions of law-breakers have never been brought to trial because the victim, for one reason or another, didn't press charges. In many cases, I'm sure the people didn't know their rights.
During Abraham Lincoln's presidency, he signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all American slaves. But there are documented cases where slave owners hid the Proclamation, and slaves continued serving in bondage because they were ignorant of the change that had taken place. This has been exactly Satan's strategy against the church. As Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." And 2 Peter 1:3 says, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue." If Satan can keep a Christian ignorant or in unbelief about who they have become and their rights as a child of the King, he can keep them in bondage even though the law of liberty in Christ Jesus has been put into effect!
The most effective way the devil has done this is through religious unbelief, specifically the doctrinal teachings about us being unworthy, condemned ol' sinners, saved by grace. Praise God. I was an ol' sinner, but I got saved by grace, and now I'm the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21). I am not unworthy any longer in my spiritual man. Ephesians 4:24 says, "And that ye put on the new man [that is speaking of your born-again spirit], which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." My spirit is righteous and truly holy! Hallelujah!
But, somebody would say, "All our righteousness are as filthy rags" (Is. 64:6), and "There is none righteous, no not one" (Rom. 3:10). These scriptures refer to our self-righteousness, which can never bring us into fellowship with God because "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). But Jesus took our sin and became sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). That means our new spirits. That's the part of us that is in Him. If you accept the first part of this verse, that Jesus became sin for us, then you have to accept the next part, that we received His righteousness. This is not a righteousness which is imparted in heaven. It will be perfected in heaven, spirit, soul, and glorified body. But as Ephesians 4:24 says, our spirits are now righteous and truly holy. Hebrews 12:23 says, speaking of the church, "the spirits of just men made perfect."
The spirit that we had which was dead unto God, is gone, and the new spirit which we received at salvation, is righteous, truly holy, and perfect. It is actually the same spirit that we will have throughout all eternity. It will not be changed or improved upon. The flesh part will be changed, but our spirit salvation is complete. Colossians 1:12 says that we have (past tense) been made meet (fit or able) to partake of the inheritance of the saints. In our spirits, we are now overcomers, and the rest of the Christian life, stated very simply, is renewing the soul and body to that truth. Romans 12:2 says it this way, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Paul didn't pray that they would receive some new thing from God, but rather that they would renew their minds and prove (or make manifest to the physical senses) what was already there. God did not change us only in principle at the new birth, but we are now, in our spirits, a totally new creation. But until we first realize this and then act on it in faith, the devil will continue to oppress us. The first step in faith is knowledge. Romans 10:14 says, "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" and verse 17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Ignorance of who we are in our spirits has made it impossible for us to act in faith accordingly.
Philemon 6 says, "That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." This verse makes it clear that your faith becomes effectual (starts working) by knowing the good things in your spirit. You could turn that verse around and not change the meaning by saying that if you don't know what's taken place in your spirit man, your faith won't work.
The religious teaching that most people have received today has either taught or left the impression that there isn't any good thing in us. We've been taught that the way to activate the power of God in our lives is to keep our unworthiness and weaknesses continually before us. This is characterized by what I call the "false humility attitude" among many Christians. You will hear statements such as "Without Jesus, I can do nothing," which is totally true, but it is not balanced by the truth that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
We need to realize that we are totally dependent on Jesus, but we have to go beyond that and realize that as we depend on Jesus, we are totally superior to any weapon the devil can use against us. We are world overcomers (1 John 5:4). Hebrews 12:2 says we have to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, but most of us have been looking at ourselves. No wonder we've been weary and have fainted in the battle (Heb. 12:3)! As we change our attention from our own frailty to Christ's sufficiency and take our place in Him, our faith will be activated, and we'll begin to live like the King's kids that we are.