You Have a New Identity in Christ

How do you identify spiritually? As a sinner or a saint?

We typically think of our identity in terms of our relationship to others. For example, depending on the context, the same person can be a spouse, a parent, and a manager. Some categorize their identity based on the law. You can be an American citizen or an Australian citizen.

More importantly, what is your spiritual identity?

Once Sinners

The Bible uses the words sinner and wicked to describe an unbeliever. There is good reason for this. Standing on their own imperfect record, they are still in their sins.

Yet, there are times when Christians also see themselves as sinners. We can relate to Paul, “What I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (Romans 7:15). We all have struggles with sin. Yet, it’s fascinating how Paul continues, “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Romans 7:20). Even as Paul struggles with sin, he is not defined by it. Sin is not his identity—that would be incredibly self-focused. Instead, believers find their identity in Christ.

Now Saints

After listing a multitude of sins Paul writes, “Such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 6:11). You were sinners. You are sanctified, holy. You are saints. No wonder Paul began all his letters, “To the saints…”

Every other religion in the world teaches you can achieve new status based on what you do. By contrast, the Bible teaches that believers receive a new identity based on Christ’s work for us. Covered in Christ’s perfection, we are a new creation. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Your New Identity

If someone moves to a new country and follows the immigration process, they can become a citizen. They may have struggles and challenges, but on the day they become a new citizen, they receive a status from a higher power that is outside of themselves. This doesn’t end their struggles, but it gives them all the rights and privileges of being a citizen in that country.

As believers, we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). You are saints. You are righteous. You are a new creation. Here on earth, we continue to struggle with sin. But our new status and true identity is given to us from above. One day we will join together with those from every nation, tribe, language, and people as those who “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).

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