Our new identity

identity In Christ

First must come our salvation—our moving from death into life. From Adam into Christ. We are no longer dead in our sin. We are now IN CHRIST (this is the theme of Ephesians).

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:1–10

  1. When we come to salvation, we are adopted into God’s family and given a new name and a new identity.

  2. The redemption of our identity begins the minute we enter into relationship with Jesus.

  3. This most amazing, free gift of salvation is available to you, if you would only place your faith in the Lord Jesus!

Two layers of identity are given to us: our general identity (which is the same for everyone who is a Christian); and our own special identity (which is unique for every Christian). Another way of putting this is that there’s a universal call to being and a specific call to doing. We will explore the former of these now, and the latter in the next instalment…


our general identity

When we are saved & we are united to Christ, EVERY SINGLE spiritual blessing that belongs to Christ becomes ours:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with
EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING
in the heavenly realms,
BECAUSE WE ARE UNITED WITH CHRIST.
— Ephesians 1:3

Pause for a moment or two and just let that awesome truth soak in!—
What are some of the spiritual blessings that belong to Jesus? …

Now consider the following:

  1. This general identity is the same for every believer. Everything that belongs to Christ now belongs to us. When God looks at us, we are no longer children of wrath, we are now blood-bought, redeemed, purchased children of God.

  2. The context for this identity is Christ. Every ounce of this new identity is now viewed through the lens of Christ.

So, you can see how the original question,

‘Who am I?’

must be replaced with the far more significant question,

Who is Jesus?

Indeed this question is of paramount importance. You see, As we learn Christ, we learn ourselves. As we begin to see Christ for who He really is, we begin to see ourselves as we truly are. You may be familiar with John 15 and the call to abide in Jesus. What do you think it means to abide in Christ? As we have been grafted in [cf Romans 11], we start to take root in Christ. We begin to grow up into Him. We begin to take on His likeness, His character, His identity. This is called sanctification—being made like Jesus.

 

already/ not-yet

This new identity, like so many things in our faith is an already/not yet reality. This is a hard truth to comprehend.

The moment we came into salvation, this general identity was written over us. It became our new reality. At the same time, our sin nature is still within us, at war with the Spirit. As we are sanctified we grow up into this identity. When God looks at us, He sees the new identity Jesus has given us. We are declared righteous. But in His kindness, He transforms us more and more each day into the likeness of Jesus.


identity written in God’s Word

The tool God ordained to teach us this new general identity is the Word of God.

  1. Our new general Christian identity is written for us in God’s Word.

  2. As we begin to search the Word as our treasure we will find jewel after jewel [cf Proverbs 1]. We will find jewels that tell us who Jesus is and we will find jewels that tell us who we are.

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, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight .

Ephesians 1:3–8

 This new identity is fully ours!

The knowledge of our identity must be learned. You just have to reach out & take in. It doesn’t matter what you may think of yourself. If you are In Christ, all of these aspects of your identity are yours and they are true. Nothing can take this identity from you.

The purpose of this general identity is to declare Christ to the world. We become His ambassadors, His light, His testimony to the world. Christians=little Christ.

Much more on this next time! …


// iD // part 2of4

This mini-series on our spiritual identity in Christ is based on teaching from our latest Ladies Coffee Morning by Rachel Setliffe (Leader of Refuge Women’s Ministry).

It runs in tandem with our current sermon series, Belonging, on church membership.