Most of us identify ourselves by names, relationships, professions, or even locations. But if we are Christians, we have an identity that connects us to the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture uses the short phrase “in Christ” to describe this aspect of who we are. Therefore, when we consider our true identity, we should always factor in who we are in the Lord. This is vitally important because it’s easy to develop faulty views of ourselves based on feelings and past experiences. Knowing and believing what God says about us in His Word is the key to living out our true identity in Christ. A good place to start is Ephesians 1:1-14, which concisely explains who we are in the Lord and what blessings are ours as a result.
Chosen Saints. Paul addressed his letter to the saints, which means “holy ones,” and he explained that God chose us in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4). It may seem as if we live in a paradox: Although we are called saints, we know that our attitudes, thoughts, words, and actions often fall short of holiness. To reconcile our own experiences with what the Bible says about us, we must understand what transpired when we received salvation.
In that moment, each of us was instantly transformed—through a divine re-creation of our inner being. What took place may not have been accompanied by awareness of any change, but we were no longer the people we had once been. Nor can we ever revert to our former identity. God declares that from then on, we’re holy and blameless because He has clothed us with the righteousness of His Son.
Redeemed Possessions. Before receiving salvation, we were slaves to sin (John 8:34), but Jesus redeemed us by taking our sins upon Himself and dying in our place. In this great exchange, we received complete forgiveness, and Christ’s righteousness was credited to our account. Now He is our Lord and Master, and we belong to Him. This is why some people have no interest in Christ and salvation—they don’t want anyone to be an authority over them.
Sometimes even we feel threatened by Christ’s lordship because of the desire to control our own life; although we may be quick to say Jesus is Lord, our actions tell a different story. In reality, we have placed ourselves on the throne, and that is idolatry. It’s an attempt to compete with the Lord, who loved us enough to save us.
It’s easy to develop faulty views of ourselves based on feelings and past experiences. Believing what God says about us in His Word is the key to living out our true identity in Christ.
Adopted Children. At one time we were enemies of God, but now—in Christ Jesus—we are His beloved children and should see ourselves that way (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21; Eph. 1:4-5). What’s more, our lives ought to reflect this new identity. Just as children resemble their parents and assume their values, attitudes, and practices, so we should imitate our heavenly Father by behaving and speaking in ways that display a family resemblance.
Heirs With Christ. One of the blessings of being adopted into God’s family is that as His children, we are fellow heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). In fact, we have already obtained an inheritance because God predestined us to have it (Eph. 1:11). To reinforce His pledge of this blessing, He gave us the Holy Spirit of promise (Eph. 1:13-14). The inheritance is already ours in God’s eyes but will be revealed when Jesus returns; until then it remains imperishable, undefiled, and unfading and is reserved for us in heaven by almighty God (1 Peter 1:4).
Rest Assured. Living in our true identity in Christ is evidence of our eternal security. Once we receive Jesus as Savior, we are sealed and delivered into God’s care and protection. Nothing can undo the work of Christ on our behalf or separate us from His love. We did nothing to save ourselves, nor can we do anything to cancel our salvation. God saved us by grace, keeps us by grace, and will certainly deliver us into His eternal kingdom by grace. We are totally secure in our Savior.
Considering all God’s done for us in Christ, we should settle for nothing less than seeing ourselves as He does. Anytime we behave in ways that are inconsistent with our true identity in Him, we’re acting out of character and climbing onto the throne of our life. Our thinking and behavior must be integrated with who we truly are. If we understand these truths, we’ll be motivated to live like saints in holiness and obedience.
Does your self-perception align with your true identity in the Lord, or are you prone to rely more on feelings and experiences? The Christian life can be lived only by faith in what God says. Therefore, if you discount your true identity in Christ, you are walking by sight instead of by faith.
Do your failures and sins cause you to settle for less than God has promised? The only way to live in stability and security is to know and believe what He has done for you in Christ. It gives you a sure foundation of faith from which you can conquer habitual sin, tear down false idols, overcome insecurity and doubts, and rest in the sufficiency of His grace.
Father in heaven, thank You for giving me every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus and lavishing me with the riches of Your grace. Help me to see myself as You do and to live in a manner that gives glory to Your name. Amen.
- Romans 8:12-17
- Ephesians 1:3-14
- Ephesians 4:17-24
- 1 Peter 1:3-5
Embracing your true identity in Christ begins in your mind. Therefore, whenever you are aware of thoughts that contradict what God says, replace them with truth from His Word, and ask Him for the grace to believe and live as the new creation you are.