Another way God intends to motivate his people is by reminding us of what we are. It is the present-looking motivation of our identity. “A Christian is someone who has had one’s fundamental self-image changed.” 1 Peter 1:14-16 says,
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.
The call for holiness is anchored in two present, intertwined realities: we are God’s children and he has called us to himself. Our response to God is based on a present relationship. We have been adopted as God’s children through the work of Christ. He is our Father, we are his children. Our relationship is not one of a boss and employees. We are not contractors for God. We are children, beloved children (1 John 3:1). A departure from the ways of sin to the ways of our holy God come from reveling in this identity.
This gets really practical. The problem with sin is not just that it is bad and harmful and leads to consequences. Rather it is nothing less than a living denial of our identity. Listen to Ortlund again, “By focusing on our identity as that which invigorates holiness, we are concentrating on a present reality…When faced with temptation, Christians look to the present truth of their newfound identity by divine adoption and ‘no’ to sin and ‘yes’ to righteousness.”.
Do you view your identity like this? Do you point other brothers and sisters in Christ to theirs? Imagine cutting through the guilt, shame, apathy and duty with these truths. “You are a child of God. God loves you immensely and cares for you. You are a new creation in Christ. God has taken away the old and made you completely new. You are not who you once were. (2 Corinthians 5:17). “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1).
 Dane Ortlund, A New Inner Relish: Christian Motivation in the Thought of Jonathan Edwards (Ross-Shire: Christian Focus, 2008), 27.
 Ibid., 29.