What Does it Mean to “Find Your Identity in Christ?”


Gavin Ortlund:

We are often told (or tell ourselves) to “find our identity in Christ.” And rightly so, because living out of our new identity in Christ is the defining root of true sanctification. But it can also seem like a rather abstract concept. What does it actually feel like to find our identity in Christ in real time and amidst genuine struggle? How do we unite this great comprehensive category of sanctification to the concrete particulars of Scripture and everyday life? I was thinking about this the other idea day and jotted down 5 initial thoughts, though I am sure we could add more.

1) To find your identity in Christ is to think much of heaven (Col. 3:1-4)

Colossians 3:1-3 is bracketed with union language: “you have been raised (v. 1) … you have died” (v. 3). As in Romans 6, our union with Christ is specifically a union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. But in this passage, it becomes clear that it is also a union with Christ in his ascension (v. 2) and second coming (v. 4). And elsewhere Paul makes it clear that we are united to Christ in his heavenly session (Ephesians 2:6).

Therefore “finding your identity in Christ” is roughly tantamount to “finding your identity in heaven.” To find your identity in Christ is to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is” (v. 1); it is to recall that “your life is hid with Christ in God” (v. 3); it is to say, with Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, “my righteousness is in heaven.”

In other words, finding our identity in Christ involves a kind of spiritual geography: it is a matter of remembering our true location and belonging and family and home. To find your identity in Christ means:

  • when you are lonely, you dwell upon the vast assembly of heaven and say, “that is my family”
  • when you are afflicted with grief, you anticipate the healing of heaven and say to your heart, “that is my consolation”
  • when you are bored, you meditate on the glory of God in heaven and say, “that is my inheritance”
  • when you are under-motivated, you fix your heart on the crowns of heaven and say, “that is my reward”
  • when you are afraid, you soak your heart with the strength and stability of heaven and say, “that is my home, that is where my name is written”

This works. I have found stopping and just thinking about what heaven will be like for 60 seconds can completely change my perspective. I remember Tim Keller once saying in a sermon something like this: “do you realize that you will be shining like an angel for billions of years after no one can quite recall what a ‘President’ or ‘Caesar’ used to be?” The brighter the blaze of heavenly glory in our hearts, the clearer the nature of our identity in Christ will be in our minds and wills, because heaven is the location of the One to whom we are united.

No wonder before Jesus himself ascended to heaven he said, “I go and prepare a place for you … that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3). To find your identity in Christ is to picture that place, to feel homesick, to long for that reunion.

There is more at: https://pjcockrell.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/what-does-it-mean-to-find-your-identity-in-christ/

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