Identity in Christ: From Death To Life
What Has to Change?
God told Adam that if he ate the forbidden fruit in the garden, he would die. Up until that time Adam and his wife lived in the presence of God. But when death came –spiritual death– God no longer lived with them.
"Spiritual life" is being present with God. "Spiritual death" is being separated from Him. Since the fall, every person has been born into the world with a natural tendency to not trust God –it's our inherited sin nature. For every one of us, that sin nature has led us into sin with its inseparable penalty –spiritual death. "There is no one righteous, not even one;" "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:10b, 23)
But because God is so compassionate and gracious, He calls us to come to Him so that He can restore us to eternal life. That life can only be found in Jesus, His Son. The rest of that Romans 3 passage goes on to say that we "are justified freely [declared innocent of all wrong doing –of all sin] by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:24)
In John 3, Jesus described how a person receives that new life.
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John 3:3-6)
Jesus told Nicodemus, a prominent teacher, that he had to be born again to see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was puzzled and asked what He meant. Obviously a person couldn't pass from his mother's womb a second time.
New Life Is More Than Physical
Jesus declared that a person must be born both of the water and of the Spirit. He went on to explain that flesh (a physical being) gives birth to flesh (another physical being). And Spirit (the Holy Spirit) gives birth to spirit (a person's human spirit). Everyone is first born through the mother's sac of water into physical life. The second birth is through the Holy Spirit into spiritual life. These are the baptisms into life.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. (Colossians 2:13)
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions– it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
Apart from Jesus, we are all spiritually dead and once this life on earth ends we will continue on eternally dead (separated from God forever). But "in Christ," you and I began our spiritual life here on earth and it will continue into the hereafter without even a pause!
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (John 3:36)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)
We have eternal life because there is no condemnation waiting for us. We have been declared innocent of all wrong doing –we have been justified. All because Jesus was condemned to death in our place. His death allows us to live –to be present with Him and the Father for eternity.
In summary: Because your identity is "in Christ"
- You are no longer dead –you're alive
- You have joined Him in His death, burial, and resurrection
- Your old identity is gone and your new identity is eternal
- You have been given the righteousness of God
Your Identity In Christ
And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 - NIV)