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What Does "Identity in Christ" Mean?

As believers, we often hear and use the phrase “identity in Christ.” It’s an important lesson conveyed in Scripture that will help us in our lives.

What “Identity in Christ” Does NOT Mean:

1. It does NOT mean we lose our individuality as people.

It’s not about our personality or unique interests. God purposefully made us unique, just like He gives His people different gifts that are all essential to properly function as a Church. Therefore, it doesn’t mean that we are the exact same as other believers.

2. It does NOT mean that we are the exact same as Christ.

This saying does not mean that we become Jesus or become His equal. He is always perfect and always God; we are not.

3. It does NOT mean we are defined by religious routines or duties.

“Identity in Christ” doesn’t mean that we are defined by how perfectly we pray, how many church programs we participate in, or how often we tithe. This isn’t about how we look; it’s about who we are as believers. When we are saved, we become a “new creation” and are metaphorically and spiritually “reborn.” We are washed clean from the filth of sin and given the promise of eternal life with Christ. At the moment of salvation, we made the choice to surrender our lives to Christ, to bear our crosses, and to follow Him faithfully, not perfectly but faithfully.

“Identity in Christ” DOES mean:

1. We are made in the image of God.

Genesis 1:26 says, “Let us make man in Our image, in Our likeness.” Everyone is made in God’s image. That’s why everyone, regardless of their beliefs, has a sense of morality (right vs. wrong). We have an absolute Moral Lawgiver who created us, which is why relativism at its root doesn’t work. Many refuse to recognize this, but it is true. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to have laws against rape, murder, theft, etc. We know as people these things are wrong, but as believers, we know why they are wrong—it’s because we are made in the image of God. That’s a bit of a tangent, but it’s a relevant example.

Being made in God’s image separates us from all His other creations. He originally created us without sin (but we ended up choosing sin), to desire fellowship with Him and others (ever notice how unbelievers are constantly “searching” for a meaning to life or something to satisfy them? God is that missing piece!), to be both rational and emotional, and to have free will. Sin tainted this, but we are still image bearers of God (James 3:9). This does NOT mean that we are God or that we will ever become God; it simply means we are made in His likeness. It is God’s breath that gave Adam his first breath. We reflect Him, but we are not Him.

2. We are who God says we are, not the world or anyone else.

In the Bible, God defines us as “chosen,” “a royal priesthood,” “son/daughter,” “children of God,” “loved,” “righteousness of God,” “forgiven,” “God’s handiwork,” “new creation,” “God’s special possession,” “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and that’s not even half of it!

Check these Scriptures for the full verses: 1 Peter 2:9, Romans 8:39, 1 John 5:19, Romans 8:15, Ephesians 1:7, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Ephesians 2:10, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Psalm 139:14

Satan specifically targets our identities because if we don’t know who we are, what more does he need? When we are confused in our identities, we struggle with our beliefs, our decisions, and our actions, which could lead us into wrong crowds, sinful choices, and self-focus. It is imperative that we know who we are--

not as we define ourselves or as the world defines us, but as Christ defines us in Him. Though we are all made in God’s image whether we are believers or not, only believers have this identity in Christ (Mostly, at least. Everyone is fearfully and wonderfully made, for example). At the time of salvation, we are forgiven, adopted as His children, the righteousness of God, etc.

Have confidence today in the identity Christ has given you! You don’t have to earn it, and honestly, you can’t earn it. Our identities aren’t based on our efforts or personal worthiness; they’re based on Christ and what He has done. It is a gift He has given us and an honor for us to walk in with confidence! We don’t have to fear what the world has to say about us, because we already know what God says about us!

~Ally B.

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