Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he . . . (KJV).
Receiving the past tenses (grammatically speaking) found in Scripture for ourselves helps us to live in God’s present tense reality. As long as we view them as future tense, we will struggle to be today who we truly are in Christ Jesus. While Philippians 1:6 does say, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (KJV), which speaks about an ongoing process that continues into our future, there are some things that He has already done in us. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the tenses to better understand what He has accomplished and what He has yet to accomplish. It also helps us better grasp the way God now sees us and the way He sees us in the future. The sooner we embrace His point of view, the quicker we will become who He called us to be. With that acceptance comes a confidence to walk in our God-given authority and power.
Likewise, it may hasten our future into our present. Keep in mind that everyone has a purpose in the Kingdom of God, which means the Father has specific plans for each of us. Some have already been shown His plan for them while others are still waiting to see it. While there is a specific timing in everything the Father does, part of that timing depends on us. Meaning, the quicker we believe the shorter it takes to come to pass. Conversely, the slower we take to believe, the longer it will take to happen. Many delay their destiny through unbelief. They fail to believe His present tense reality, thereby, failing to be who they are currently supposed to be for Him. Once we become who we are called to be, then we will be able to fulfill our calling. They go hand-in-hand. Sometimes our destiny helps shape our identity as we move from glory to glory.
1 Corinthians 2:12,16 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. For who hath known the Mind of the Lord, that He may instruct him? But we have the Mind of Christ (KJV). Knowing what is past tense helps us to know what is currently available, which is another reason we have been given the Mind of Christ. By His Spirit, the Lord reveals to us those things He made accessible to us as part of our inheritance, along with the wisdom and spiritual understanding to use them properly. Thus we read, Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 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: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:2-4, KJV).
As we accept what God has said about us, we are able to become who He says we are. We cannot depend on behavior modification to become what we are destined to be. Contrary to popular belief, behavior does not define who we are; rather, who we are and what we believe about ourselves affects our behavior. Repentance is not change of behavior; it is change in the way we think, which in turn changes the way we conduct ourselves. The moment we think about ourselves the way the Father does, is the moment we enjoy the victory Jesus already gave us. For example, as soon as I believe I truly am royalty, I will act like royalty. The minute I believe, I am the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ I will act righteously (see 2Corinthians 5:21). Our approach to life takes on a whole new way of thinking. Briefly, we will look at a couple areas to get the ball rolling.
1 John 3:1-2 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is (KJV [see also Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:4-7]). While this passage of Scripture reveals a future tense, it states very clearly that we are His children now. We are His children because of His great love for us. That means we do not have to somehow earn His acceptance; we have it. This past tense makes rejection a thing of the past. When God is your Daddy, why would you need to build your self-esteem by trying to be accepted by others? Somewhere there comes the realization that if the entire world rejects you it does not matter: God loves you! If the world rejected Jesus, it will reject you. Nonetheless, the future tense of the Word says, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4, KJV).
Because we have been baptized into Jesus’ death, we are already counted as dead. Thus we read, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him” (Romans 6:3-8, KJV). Again we read, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, KJV). If we approach sin from a past tense point of view, we would more readily enjoy the victory Jesus already gave us over it. In fact, we become more conscious of His righteousness dwelling in us than focusing on “not sinning.” If a person is dead, he cannot sin. Therefore, since we are counted as dead, we are no longer considered sinners. Our family ties with the devil are severed, which means we no longer live in darkness, but in Light. Romans 6:11 says, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (KJV), and verse 14 says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (KJV). Because grace gave us power over sin, we are no longer obliged to practice it. We are free to live righteously in Christ Jesus. It is important to allow those past tenses in the Word of God to speak to your heart and renew your mind in the process. The more we embrace the past tense as the past tense (looking at them as future tense), the more our thinking will conform to God’s way of thinking.