As we begin this new school year, we can use this time to reflect on first impressions. Observations are made. We check things out. Impressions and labels can be -rightly or wrongly- made.
What have you been called? What labels have been put on you? Workaholic, addict, sinner, fat, crazy, talkative, tall, skinny, bald, name, smart, scholarly, etc. We may think that kids can do this, but adults can do this in the workplace, too. Not only do we put labels on others, but we place them on others too. Judgements people make can be helpful. However, mostly they are unkind and painful. Let's take some time to look at what the Bible - and what it says about our true identity.
Who are you?
If I asked that question to most people, they start with their name and then jump to what they do (for a living) or even where they are from. But that doesn’t answer the question. Who are you, really? As followers of Jesus, we get to look at ourselves from a different perspective. From an eternal perspective. We are not defined by our name, our birthplace, our family of origin, our career or contrary to popular opinion.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of who we are “In Christ” and the life we were intended to live. One of fullness, freedom, intimacy, and real authentic relationship with the Lord Jesus. One of the goals of the enemy is to keep you and I deceived about who we are in Christ. If he can keep you from living your life to the fullest, he retains some power over you.
Our text will be Colossians 2. And as we look at the passage, we can see the little phrase "in Him" or "In Christ" occur repeatedly. The phrase is mentioned over 150 times in the NT. We were designed for a relationship with God. Naturally our sin separates us from Him. Jesus’ death and resurrection bridges the gap between us and God so that we are “In Christ” and in Christ, we are a new creation! By believing, knowing and understanding who we are “In Christ” – we can live a life governed by who we are on the inside, not by what people or circumstances dictate on the outside.
New Testament scholar Wayne Grudem defines union with Christ like this, “[Christians] are in Christ, Christ is in us, we are like Christ, and we are with Christ.” (p.g 840 - Systematic Theology)
The goal would be to Live our lives governed by what’s happening on the inside instead of what’s happening on the outside / around us.
Who are you in Christ?
Are you any of the above labels? Having a Christ-centered identity involves understanding ourselves in light of who He is.
In Christ, we are Accepted
- John 1:12 tells me I am God’s child.
- John 15:15 tells me I am Christ’s friend.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 tells me I have been bought with a price.
- Ephesians 2:18 I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
- Colossians 1:14 I have been forgiven of my sins.
- Colossians 2:10 I am complete in Christ.
We have been accepted to the Father because of what Jesus the Son has done for us. We are united in Him. We are accepted because Christ is accepted. In other words, God sees me not on the basis of what season I’m going through but on the based of Christ living in me!
In Christ, we are Secure
- Romans 8:1,2 I am free from condemnation.
- Romans 8:28 I am assured that all things work together for good.
- Romans 8:35 I cannot be separated form the love of God.
- Phil 1:6 I am confident that the good work begun in me will be perfected
- Phil 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
- Hebrews 4:16 I can find grace and mercy in time of need.
- 1 John 5:18 “I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me.”
The imagery we see in Colossians 2:7 is that of a tree (rooted) and also that of a building (built up). Our salvation in Christ is rock-solid. It is secure. Nothing can change it. His grace is unchanging and his love is unconquerable. There are times in our spiritual walk where we might feel like we are making little progress or aimlessly wondering…. We may not always see it but God is faithful to work in you and through you.
In Christ, we are Significant.
- Matt 5:13, 14 “I am the salt and light of the earth.
- John 15:1,5 “I am a branch of the true Vine, a channel of His life.”
- Acts 1:8 I am a personal witness of Christ.
- I Cor 3:15 I am God’s temple
- Eph 2:5 I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm.
- Eph 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
Paul says that as a result of being rooted and built up, we are established. This word (“being established”) was often used to describe the practice of guaranteeing local contracts. Paul is saying that God has bound himself to us. God has formally pledged himself to us. The image in the Bible is that of a wedding commitment. Never leave or forsake you. Thick and thin. Sickness and health. Rich and poor. Faith and doubt. We belong to him and he belongs to us. Ephesians 1:13-14 and Hebrews 6:16-18 brings this point out further. God pledges to make us significant by virtue of his own word. This is what causes Paul to “abound in thanksgiving.”
Just as you are. He chose you, he bought you for Himself. We were designed for relationship with Christ. We answered a call to communicate that message and challenge people to come into relationship with Jesus.
When we understand who we are In Christ, we can live a life transformed by the power of God and live based on who we are in view of eternity – not with the labels people try to attach to us.
When we live with a Christ centered identity we can claim His promises. We’ve been given what 2 Corinthians 5:18 says is the ministry of reconciliation. As you think about who you are in Christ…. I want to encourage you to live your life according to that reality. Look at yourself in light of God’s Word and discard the myths, the lies, the accusations… When you can rest in how God sees you – you’ll be free to love with your whole heart and live a life of Victory in Jesus.
When we understand that our acceptance, security, and significance comes from our union with Christ, those situations will have the light of truth shined into them. We are accepted based on the person and work of Christ – not our shortcomings, circumstances, or feelings on inadequacy.
Be bold, be confident because of whose you are… you can know who you are.