Baggage Tags

I once walked into a bookstore and there on display in the center aisle were baggage tags—emotional baggage tags! Printed on the tags were phrases such as: Guilty, Failure, Stood up at the prom, Unpopular in high school, Bad relationship. Who wants to be tagged with such dismal labels? None of us want those things to define who we are. We may not buy tags like this—but sometimes we act as if we are wearing them.

Baggage tags describe a suitcase: What are the transfers in transit? Where is it going? Who is its owner? The owner is the most important label—because only the owner has the right to claim baggage and remove tags.

Christians have a new owner who has given us new tags.

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:10 ESV

Who you once were, is not who you are now in Christ.

Therefore from now on we recognize no one by the flesh; even though we have known Christ by the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:16–17

It can be hard to remember old things have passed away when others keep trying to label us or we keep labeling ourselves, but look at what Paul said:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11

These are not mere labels, they were the reality of who the Corinthians had been. Who they had been, but not who they were in Christ. Paul understood God’s grace: Such were some of you; but Highlight that word, but. Circle it in your mind and remember it.

Go back and reread 2 Corinthians 5:16–17. If you are in Christ, this is who you are now and for all eternity. You are a new creature, “the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

So how do we learn to understand grace? To grasp the reality of who we are now in Christ?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2
Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:2

We have to put away the old labels and set our mind on what God has to say about who He is and who we are. Learn God’s thoughts by reading His Word. If you belong to Christ, then you are His. God alone, the Creator and sovereign Lord of the universe has authority to lay down the definitive reality of who you are. Put away labels or names or dead-and-gone realities. Don’t call yourself those things anymore or identify yourself with past sins or let others define you. Go to God’s Word. Learn from Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Ask God for His help and His power to put away the old self and put on the new self.

Paul writes in the opening chapter of his letter to the church at Rome,

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written: “But the righteous one will live by faith.”
Romans 1:16–17

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. As I revise the Read the Bible in 2011 posts, I want to point you to to the book of Romans first. Read what Paul wrote. Learn grace.

When I was reading through the Bible in 2011, I used Michael Coley’s reading plan. You’ll find a link to it and several others on the right sidebar under the heading, “Read the Bible in 2011.” If you’re on your phone scroll down below the posts.

The reading for each day of the week was in a different section of the Bible. Here’s my original overview of Coley’s plan. The week begins on Sunday with the New Testament letters written to the churches, Romans to Jude. They’re known as the Epistles. Readings from the Law, Genesis to Deuteronomy, are on Monday. In my first post I combined the first readings from Romans and Genesis. As you’ll see, they certainly go together.

Below are my posts on Romans. I urge you to first pray and ask God to give you understanding of what He wants to teach you, then read the Scriptures before you read what I wrote. Don’t try to work through everything quickly. Take time to ponder and think over what God has said. You will notice some repetition. These posts were written over a span of months, and I was reviewing for those who had missed earlier posts.

Romans 8:12–17: Children of God is new. A form of it has been sitting in my drafts folder since December 2010! I’d forgotten about it, found it this week, and finally finished it. I’ll be writing more posts on Romans 8, and listing them here.

◊ Week 1: Sunday & Monday: Romans 1–2, Genesis 1–3: A Narrative & Its Backstory
◊ Week 2: Sunday: Romans 3–4: Righteousness & Faith
◊ Week 3: Sunday: Romans 5–6: Grace & Reconciliation
◊ Week 4: Sunday: Romans 7–8: Law & Grace
Romans 8:1–4: Set Free
Romans 8:5–13: The Christian’s Life
Romans 8:12–17: Children of God
Romans 8:17–18: Suffering With Christ
Romans 8:17–25: Waiting In Hope
Romans 8:26–27: The Spirit’s Help
Romans 8:28–30: “All Things
Romans 8:31–39: “Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Romans 8: “If God Is For Us, Who Is Against Us?
◊ Week 5: Sunday: Romans 9–10: God & His Mercy
◊ Week 6: Sunday: Romans 11–12: God’s Mercy & Our Response
◊ Week 7: Sunday: Romans 13–14: Government & Neighbors
◊ Week 8: Sunday: Romans 15–16: Encouragement & Love

Take God’s Word and write it on your heart. Remember who you are. Thank God for you are new in Christ. Rejoice in your newness of life.

Kofferanhänger bei Flugreise der PBair: Mattes. Public Domain

Copyright ©2021 Iwana Carpenter

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