Have you ever heard someone talk about who they are in Christ?
Years ago, I was dealing with some difficult circumstances. The knowledge that I had to make a decision made me fearful and anxious. In conversation with a trusted older Christian, I found myself asking this question for the very first time: Who am I in Christ?
He told me how, in Christ, I am bold and courageous, that I can be fearless, and that through Jesus I can overcome.
I appreciated his words, and they brought me some comfort. The problem, though, was that I still had difficult circumstances to navigate. More than that, I was still fearful and anxious.
Perhaps you’ve experienced something like this. You might have heard someone say, with boldness and confidence, who they are in Christ. Like me, it may have made you wonder just what the Bible says about this topic.
This matters because our Christian faith is not about simply saying and doing the right thing. It is important that we pray and worship and that we generously support those who need it. What we do and what we say matter!
A New Identity
Even more important, though, is that through Jesus, God gives us a new identity. At the moment of our salvation, when we confess Jesus as Lord and believe that he is the one who died for our freedom, we are transformed. This is a spiritual transformation that affects even our physical being, because who we are spiritually will eventually be outworked physically. It is therefore crucial that we know who we really are in Christ.
The Example of Paul
The New Testament authors explore this idea in great detail, especially the apostle Paul. He is a great illustration of how Jesus transformed someone.
Initially, Paul denied the Gospel and persecuted the Church. He hunted Christians so that he could have them imprisoned, and tried to stop the Church from growing. One day, as he journeyed to Damascus, he met Jesus in a dramatic way and was forever changed. Someone who used to want to see the Church get weaker was now ready to die so that the Church could get stronger. His very identity was changed, and because of that the way in which he lived his life changed as well.
It’s no surprise, then, that we can look to Paul to learn who we are in Christ. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, he begins by reminding these believers of the rich blessings they have received because of their salvation. It is a reminder of who they have become since finding faith in Christ! In other words, who they are in Him. So let’s look at four powerful truths from this scripture.
In Christ, I am A Child of God
“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.”
Our heritage deeply forms our identity. That is, who we are born to, where we come from, and the culture and values instilled in us by our parents. Here, Paul draws on the image of adoption to explain that in Christ, God sees us—all who believe—as his children. Because of this, we can receive every good thing the Father has for us—because He loves to bless his children!
In Christ, I Am redeemed
“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 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
As children of God we have left behind our old lives, habits and sinful ways. This only happens because Jesus has redeemed us. Redemption is more than just salvation from some kind of eternal punishment. It is becoming a new creation, a new person. We begin to desire the things that God wants for us, and no longer enjoy the sin we once did. Redeemed people know that they live for the glory of God alone, and seek it wherever they go.
In Christ, I am filled with His Spirit
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
In these verses, Paul tells us that we are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is saying that our redemption is total and final and that nothing we do can mess it up. This idea of the Holy Spirit sealing our salvation comes from the understanding that, at our salvation, the Spirit comes to live in us. He fills us up and gives us the strength and desire to do what God has called us to do.
In Christ, I am a person of hope
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”
As Paul contemplates the future of these believers, he is excited for what is to come. This excitement seeps through his writing and stirs something deep within us today. Having already described who we are in Christ, Paul ends this chapter by looking at the immeasurable hope we now have. He speaks of the Spirit’s work in us, teaching us about our Father. He reminds us of the coming Kingdom, which is our glorious inheritance. And he recognises the authority of Jesus over every created thing. All of this is to remind us that no matter what we face, in Christ we have a hope for the future that cannot be taken away. That means we can live as a people of hope!
Embrace your identity in Christ
So far, we have only scratched the surface of who we are in Christ, but this is a good starting point. As you walk with Jesus, may you see yourself the same way He sees you.
A beloved child of the Most High God.
A redeemed, renewed person.
Filled with the Holy Spirit.
And always living in hope of what is to come.