This is the second part of a 2 part blog series on our Identity in the gospel. Identity is one of our core values at King’s Chapel because it is so important to who we are as believers and as a church. A misplaced or false identity rooted in earthly things will leave us burdened and empty. An identity rooted in Christ calms our souls and provides hope as we live this life. Paul reminded the Galatians of identity properly rooted in the gospel when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). This firm identity in Christ empowered Paul to live on mission in both welcoming and hostile regions alike. Paul’s consistent preaching of the gospel to himself gave him confidence to preach the gospel to others.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m using the book Visual Theology by Tim Challies and Josh Byers. You can read more about the book in part 1. In that first part I covered 3 of 6 identity headings: I am in Christ, I am Justified, and I am Adopted. We’ll look at 3 more today: I am Secure, I am Free, I am Unfinished.
I Am Secure
There is a natural progression that comes from these various “I am” headings. As we work our way through them we see at one leads to the next. As a result of our justification and our adoption, we have security. We are righteous before Christ because we’re clothed in His righteousness. We’re in the family of God because the Son has brought us in. And we are secure in the hands of our triune God. We don’t have to live wondering, “does God really love me?” or, “will God just toss me aside?” In Romans 8:38-39, Paul tells us specifically that if we are in Christ (which is “I am” heading #1) that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That is security like nothing else.
I Am Free
Before Christ, our identity was not one of freedom, but one of slavery. We were slaves to sin (Romans 6:6). Much of what culture preaches as freedom is actually bondage – bondage to seeking worth through the approval of others; bondage to chasing pleasures; bondage to the pursuit of self-centered glorification. It’s a cycle of enslavement that never reaches fulfillment. There is always more to attain, more pleasure to find, more goals to chase. And the result is emptiness.
BUT in Christ we are freed from that bondage. We don’t need others’ approval because we’re loved and approved by God. Christ’s perfect atoning work secured our adoption as sons and daughters in the family of God. We don’t need to chase earthly pleasure because we can find joy in the worship and pursuit of Christ. We realize it’s not about our own glorification; it’s about God’s exaltation! In the gospel we are united with Christ and, therefore, freed from the chains of sin (Romans 6:5-6).
I Am Unfinished
I am very glad to know that God’s work in me is not yet complete. Because if all I am today is God’s finished product, then I have some severe manufacturing defects. But thankfully, I am not a finished product. The Spirit is constantly at work in me shaping my heart and mind to look more like Christ.
We will never be fully completed on this side of heaven, but we have a promise that we will be. Philippians 1:6 says, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” One day we will be perfect, and we will live as God fully intended us to live. We will live as worshipers of our triune God, no longer distracted by all the other “glory thieves” (as Paul Tripp would say).
The gospel reminds us that we look forward not only to our redemption, but also to the redemption of the earth. John paints a beautiful picture in Revelation 21:3-4, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Walk with confidence in Christ today. Know that you are secure in the hands of God, and free to live for his glory. And rest in knowing that the Spirit of God is at work in you day-by-day. Remind yourself daily of your identity in the gospel.