This article commences a five-part series on our identity in Christ as those who have come into relationship with God. What do I mean by ‘identity in Christ’? Well, that is what I hope to explore over the next four articles.
To start off, let me throw a question your way: If someone asked you, ‘Who are you,’ how would you answer them? Or, let’s redirect the question to me: If someone asked me ‘Who are you,’ how would I reply?
I might answer something like this: I am Scott Lencke. But is that really me, or is that simply my name? I could change my name and still be me, right? I might answer the question posed by replying that I am pastor of Cornerstone International Church. But that is really my calling and my role to the people within the church, but not the core of who I am. I could go on to reply to the question by stating I am an American, but that more speaks of my nationality. As a final response to the question, I might respond by saying I am 6ft 1in tall (185 cm), have dark hair and hazel-colored eyes, but that is simply describing my physical attributes. In actuality, I could bleach my hair blond, or even cut off my arms and legs, and I would still be me. Matter of fact, if I had a physical heart transplant, would I not still be me?
So, who are we? It seems that this question is not an attempt to truly know our name, occupation, calling, nationality or even physical appearance. This is a question of our core identity. I would say that the ultimate answer to this question is found as we discover our identity in Christ.
In John 8:32, Jesus makes a simple statement, but one that we probably know very well:
And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
Of course, we know this is not referring to the knowledge of specific mathematical equations such as 2 + 2 = 4, nor that our car runs best on 10W/30 oil. This is speaking of spiritual truth that sets the captives free.
One thing that most of us are aware of is the reality that when we were born from above, Christ came to live in us by His Spirit. Colossians 1:27 makes it simple when Paul stated:
Christ in you, the hope of glory.
It is a mystery how the God of the universe lives inside us, but nonetheless, it is truth and an empowering piece of truth at that. But, what we many times might not realize is that the reverse is true as well. Not only is Christ in us, but we are also in Him. Matter of fact, for every verse that speaks of Jesus being in us there are another ten Scriptures that speak of us being in Him. In Paul’s letters alone, there are some 164 references to us being in Christ.
This is what we are going to explore – the reality of our identity in Christ, or as the fathers of a few centuries ago termed it, our union with Christ. What do we mean by ‘union with Christ’? It simply refers to the fact that we have been joined to, or united to, Christ. It’s a beautiful truth, a lovely reality to ponder. Paul declared it this way:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:3, 7)
God not only goes out of His way to save us from our sin and eternal wrath, but He goes the ‘extra mile’ by both coming to reside in us and bringing us to dwell in Him. This sounds a little scary to the conservative, a little too mystical. But it is a reality and the only relationship God would want between a Husband and His Bride (Revelation 21:1-2).
Stay tuned over the next week as I look to add four more blog posts looking at our identity in Christ. Click here to read about our new standing in Christ.