The culture in which we live rarely gives way to real opportunities to identify or testify our identity. Most people just work day in and day out to maintain or create a new one. The focus of this culture is one where everyone seems focused on only one – self! It’s all people talk about, FB about, Tweet about, meditate on, and even talk about openly and public.
Some of you will not be interested in the question that the blog sets forth, but for the few, I hope to be of encouragement today. Your real identity is either in Adam or in Christ. This is a very important question because it will identify your destiny. Those in Adam who die go to an eternal Hell, and only those “in Christ”, go to an eternal place called Heaven. Everyone is born in Adam, a sinner. Those who are born again are in Christ.
Here’s how God sees history: He sees two leaders, two heads, two captains. You’ll read with me, as we’re going to spend the next few months together going through the book of Ephesians, you’ll see this word come up a few times, this word “head.” The word “head” means leader. That means captain. That means one whose decisions implicates and affects everyone else who is associated with them.
None of us are individuals. None of us are isolated. None of us stand alone. We are part of one of two groups, one of two families, one of two teams, one of two nations: those who are in Adam, and those who are in Christ. Here’s how Paul says it in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Let’s dissect and define this passage for a better understanding.
1. “For since by man came death” – that’s Adam,
2. “by man came also the resurrection of the dead” – that’s Jesus.
3. “For as in Adam all die” – there’s one team, one group, one category – “all die”
4. “even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
The Bible speaks of identity as being in Adam or in Christ more than 216 times. The Apostle Paul himself, in the letters of the New Testament, talks about us being in Christ. He’ll use language like, “in him, in the Beloved, in Christ,” and many others. Repetition is the key to learning. We all can conclude today that this way of thinking is important to repeat it so many times in so many different ways. Secondly, if you repeat something that many times, it may be because of the great danger to forget such an important concept.
Three times in the Bible you will find the word “Christian” to give an identity to those who follow Christ, but 216 times that identity is classified and emphasized as “in Christ”. If you are in Christ, you are in Christ’s position and Christ is in your position. He suffered and died so that you might be blessed and live. You are loved as Christ is loved, you are blessed as Christ is blessed, you are embraced and adored as Christ is embraced and adored. You are free from religion and trying to perform for God.
I want you to see that the beginning of your identity is in Christ, and then that is also the beginning of your activity. So, from your identity comes your activity.
For those of you, like me, who misunderstood Christianity for religion, or guilt, or manipulation, or condemnation, or shame, you will wrongly think, “I need to live my life in such a way that I’m fruitful, and I’m holy, and I’m mature, and I’m moral, and I’m growing, so that then Jesus will want to have a relationship with me.” That’s exactly the opposite of how it works. It starts with a new “identity”…then from that flows all the grace, power, and desire for the activity of someone in Christ.
Who am I? I am “in Christ”. Who are you?