Knowing our identity in Christ is vital to the Christian life. But what does it mean to have our “identity in Christ”?

On the cross, Jesus crucified our “old Adam” nature and when He rose from the dead, we were in Him and raised together with Him (Eph. 2:4-6). In other words, we became a new creation in Him (2 Cor. 5:17). The literal translation of that verse says that we are “a new species of being that never existed before.”

In Christ, we have been brought into a completely new realm of being. That realm of being is invisible at first, but the more we look into it, and meditate upon what the Word of God says about our new identity in Christ, the more it starts to become real and tangible in our experience.

A key passage that speaks of who we are in Christ, and of what He has done for us:

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“For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for
themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.

Like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, we must shed our old identity.

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;   that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Corinthians 5:14-21 (NRSV)

Other passages that speak of our identity in Christ are Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 2:5-6 and Colossians 3:3.

The process of sloughing off our old nature and “putting on” Christ (Rom. 13:14) is indeed a lifelong process and requires ongoing discipline because our old nature will resist! Even the apostle Paul, with his profound spiritual experience and maturity, had to exercise discipline and practice; he said, “I die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31). Such practice means keeping these truths alive in our minds and meditations day and night, as much as possible, knowing that it is the Holy Spirit who enables us and encourages us greatly along the way.

The key to it all is to press on in faith and to give priority to knowing who we are in Christ and to become increasingly aware of the awesome inheritance that God has already given us in His Son.

The more we know who we are and what we have, the more we can share the fruit of those blessings with others through our lives, words, prayers and meditations.

Ann Shakespeare

Welcome to the Ann Shakespeare blog. Ann, a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, BBC World Service and The Daily Journal, is currently involved in editing and writing on Christian themes. She also ministers in a local ecumenical centre which provides prayer and pastoral support.

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