Bad Reformed joke:
Calvin: How ya doing?
Luther: I'm good.
Calvin: No, you're totally depraved.
This joke drives one of my friends crazy. He says (and I think Biblically) "In Christ I am no longer totally depraved. I am a new creation."
This understanding of who we are in Christ is the point of Jerry Bridges' book. First I need to know that "I Am a Creature" (Chapter 1) – a limited, sinful creature with no standing of my own before God. As with the Heidelberg Catechism, the good news follows this devastatingly bad news. Here are the other chapter titles, with some of the highlights that Bridges points out:
- "I Am in Christ" with the good news "that it is of God that I am in Christ Jesus" (1 Corinthians 1:30)
- "I Am Justified"
- "I Am an Adopted Son of God"
- "I Am a New Creation"
- "I Am a Saint"
- "I Am a Servant of Christ" – a chapter good enough to recommend to my career teacher colleague in Bridges' analysis of Paul's identification of himself as "a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God" (Romans 1:1 - as we are all servants of Christ Jesus, called by God, and set apart for particular roles in His service)
- "I Am Not Yet Perfect" – in which Bridges deals both with the fact that we are failures - in ourselves - and accepted by God in Christ and progressively being sanctified by His Spirit to show our love for Him in gratitude for His love for us in Christ.