Summary: This is the fourth sermon in a series of four entitled “Our Identity In Christ” which takes four of the many Scriptural principles underlying the doctrine of our identity in Christ to undergird our belief system and effect behavioral change.
The Greatest Day in my life physically was the day I was born. The Greatest Day in my life spiritually was the day I was born again. The Greatest Decision I ever made physically was the day I chose to walk. The Greatest Decision I ever made spiritually was choosing to walk according to the Spirit. The Greatest Discovery I’ve ever made personally was understanding who I am. The Greatest Discovery I’ve ever made spiritually has been understanding who I am in Christ.
This is the fourth sermon in the series of four entitled “Our Identity In Christ” which takes four of the many Scriptural principles underlying the doctrine of our identity in Christ to undergird our belief system and effect behavioral change. What we believe about ourselves has everything to do with how we behave. That’s why the truth of what the Bible says about who we are in Christ is so important. God says about us through His Word that:
1. We are righteous in Christ Ephesians 1:4
Verse 4 records, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him . . .” You see, we were all born with an “in Adam” identity – “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men. . .” (Romans 5.12). Just like you were in your father, you go all the way back to Adam. Because you were “in Adam,” what happened to Adam, happened to you. So, as the Scripture says, every one of us was “in his loins.” Heb 7:9 -10 expresses this principle in the story of Abraham offering a tithe to Melchizedek. The writer of Hebrews is saying that not only did Abraham offer tithes to Melchizedek, but so did Levi, a descendent of Abraham who was born several hundred years later.
When God took the initiative toward us, the Bible says that we were chosen “in Him,” meaning Jesus. Now to understand that Christ is “in us” is one thing, but to comprehend that we are “in Him” is another. But Paul says here that we were chosen “in Him.” For every reference to the fact that Christ is in us, there are 10 references to the truth that we are “in Christ.” To be in someone is to take on their nature and character, their essence and being. So, Paul says we are holy and blameless. Romans 5:17 says that we have received the “gift of righteousness” – we are as righteous as Christ in our spirit, for He is our life and spirit.
2. We are children of God in Christ Ephesians 1:5
Verse 5 records, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will . . .” This indicates we are children of God, unconditionally loved by our heavenly Father. The last phrase of verse 4 leads into verse 5. A part of God’s plan and purpose is to make each one of us a child of God. He marked it out ahead of time. You see, we’re not “sinners saved by grace” we’re saints, children of God, born of God, partakers of His divine nature. As the apostle John wrote in 1 John 3.2, “Dear friends, NOW we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears we shall be like Him...” You see, Christ is our life – as Paul said in Colossians 3.3-4, “For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life, appears then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Christ is your life, you are a child of God and as a child of God you are unconditionally loved as a part of your new identity.
3. We are accepted in Christ Ephesians 1:6
Verse 6 records, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved . . .” In Christ God has accepted us and made us acceptable. He actually likes you, looks at you in a totally different light and finds you absolutely acceptable in His sight. That sentence is simple to say, but it has ramifications that we will spend a lifetime learning to understand, working out and believing deeply enough to affect godly behavior. But, only through discovering and resting in your identity as it’s taught in the Word of God can you become free from the false identities that this world’s system is always trying to put on you. The world is continually trying to get you to accept an identity based on your appearance, your abilities, your family or based on your acceptance of others – anything except what God says your identity is to be based upon. To be loved and accepted is one of the very basic God-given needs that each one of us has. And as a result of our new identity these basic human needs have been met and can continue to be met through trusting in Christ – “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). That leaves out no need whatsoever! The final Scriptural truth I mention today concerning our identity in Christ is: