(Picture taken from YouthWorkInternational.com)
I’ve been thinking a lot lately of my identity in Christ and how who God says I am in Christ Jesus reflects on how I think about myself, what I believe about myself, and how I therefore react based on what I believe.
The Holy Spirit makes some pretty big statements about who we are in Christ in the Scriptures. Colossians 3:3 says that we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God. It is making a statement of an event that has occured (past tense) for those who have believed in Jesus, and then afterwards it goes on to talk about the things we used to do (sexual immorality, covetousness, anger etc.) and then the things we ought to ‘put on’ now that we are in Christ Jesus (compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiving others, and much more).
What are the Scriptures doing? They are telling us who we are and who we were. It does the same in Romans and Galatians. See Galatians 5:22, for example, where the fruits of the Spirit are listed. The Scriptures talk about how Christians are filled with the Spirit — and what are the fruits this Spirit produces? Goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control, love, joy, and faithfulness.
Colossians 2: 6 says:
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
Very often, and perhaps rightly so, we’re trying to walk with Jesus rather than walk in Jesus. But we’re told to walk in Him, not just with Him. Our lives are hidden in Christ in God. We’re covered by the blood of Jesus, so God looks on us as righteous (see the book of Romans).
So what does God see when he looks on us? He sees us as who we are in Christ. He sees us as good, patient, loving, kind, gentle, self-controlled people. That is our real identity.
I, as much as anyone, know of the tension between our real identity and our old identity that still creeps up. But just because I struggle to live up to my actual and real identity doesn’t mean that that isn’t my actual identity.
Have you ever thought and said to yourself, “I am a good person. I am a gentle person. I am a patient person. I am a kind person. I am a faithful person. I am a loving person.”? It’s difficult to do that, it’s difficult to believe that, it sometimes feels unrealistic to talk about ourselves that way, but God thinks like that about us. Because we’re in Christ.
A son is still a son even if he struggles to be one. Nothing can take away his sonship. His identity is still ‘son’ regardless of anything.
That this is a our true identity is nothing short of a miracle, of course. But that’s the point. God has done a miracle.