Summary: In order to prevent Christians from becoming zombies who walk around without a clear sense of their identity it is essential to define who we are in Christ. Let us learn how to fully realize and appropriate our identity in Christ with the following twelve
Appropriating Our Identity in Christ – Eph. 1:3-7
Many Christians gain their identity more from their family background, work or human relationships than they from who they are in Christ. Too many young people gain their identity from the latest fashions, trends or popular expectations from their peers.
No wonder Paul emphasized that we are in Christ throughout his epistles. Could it be today that one of the greatest problems facing Christians today revolves around an identity crisis? Many believers are not growing in Christ or experiencing fruit because they have somehow lost or never realized or appropriated their identity in Christ. In order to prevent Christian from becoming zombies who walk around with a clear sense of their identity it is essential to define who we are in Christ.
Illustration: The dilemma of an unclear sense of personal identity was illustrated by an incident in the life of the famous German philosopher Schleiermacher, who did much to shape the progress of modern thought. The story is told that one day as an old man he was sitting alone on a bench in a city park. A policeman thinking that he was a vagrant came over and shook him and asked, "Who are you?" Schleiermacher replied sadly, "I wish I knew."
Let us learn how to fully realize and appropriate our identity in Christ with the following twelve guidelines:
1. We, who are in Christ, those who have trusted Christ as their personal Savior and Lord, are blessed with every spiritual blessing. (Eph. 1:3) Paul writes, “Blessed be the God of Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessings, in Christ.” People who fail to realize this will continually feel insecure not praising God for all the good things they already possess in Christ. The world sees us as poor, naïve and ill-equipped, but we can be confident that we can do everything through Christ who gives us the strength and power. (Phil. 4:13)
Illustration: Setting out from Hamburg, Germany, one day to give a concert in London, violinist Fritz Kreisler had an hour before his boat sailed. He wandered into a music shop, where the proprietor asked if he could look at the violin Kreisler was carrying. He then vanished and returned with two policemen, one of whom told the violinist, "You are under arrest."
"What for?" asked Kreisler.
"You have Fritz Kreisler’s violin."
"I am Fritz Kreisler."
"You can’t pull that on us. Come along to the station." As Kreisler’s boat was sailing soon, there was no time for prolonged explanations. Kreisler asked for his violin and played a piece he was well known for. "Now are you satisfied?" he asked. They were!
Today in the Word, December 22, 1992.
2. We, who are in Christ, are holy and blameless, having been chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. (Eph. 1:4) Believers, who do not realize their identity in Christ, will live with a gnawing sense of guilt feeling that they have to earn their forgiveness, acceptance or belonging through good works.
3. We, who are in Christ, have been adopted as His sons and daughters deserving all the privileges of being in His eternal family. (Eph. 1:5) Paul writes, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”
The world thinks we are haughty, high-minded and exclusive, not realizing that we are a part of Christ’s family while they remain in the family of the evil one. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him… he is the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
We no longer have to be slaves of sin as we are set free through the blood of His cross. Too many believers are living under the stress, strain and imprisonment of sin since they do not appropriate their new identity in Christ.
4. We, who are in Christ, live primarily for the praise of His glory. (Eph. 1:6) Our greatest purpose, joy and sense of fulfillment comes through pleasing the Lord in all respects. (Col. 1:9) Carnal believers think that their great purpose is gained through their own selfish satisfactions. Yet, Paul wrote, “Whatever you do in word or do, do it all for the glory of God. (I Cor 10:31)
As we praise God for His attributes we are infused with a greater nearness of His dearness and splendor. He fills us up with every good thing. As Peter wrote, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises so that you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2 Pet 1:3,4)