This past week we had our annual Vacation Bible School program. The theme was Submerged, and it was all about seeing below the surface and viewing ourselves and others the way Jesus sees us. It was a great theme both for the kids and for us adult leaders. Sometimes in life we forget that we are defined by more than just outward appearance and our actions alone. One of our core values here at King’s Chapel is Identity – in Christ we are no long our own because we belong to Christ. Day by day we are pounded with trials and temptations that would have us forget our identity in Christ, and that is why it is vitally important that we remind ourselves of our Identity in the Gospel.
I recently picked up the book Visual Theology: Seeing and Understanding the Truth About God by Tim Challies and Josh Byers. The book is a fresh take on studying theology. It includes vibrant and helpful graphics throughout, but the authors also do a great job at keeping all of it centered on the gospel. The image above is from the book and shows six aspects of our identity in Christ. Print or save the image above to remind yourself who you are as a result of the gospel. In this post we’ll look at three of these statements, and we’ll look at the other three in my next post.
I Am IN CHRIST
The first question in the Heidelberg Catechism is “What is your only comfort in life and death?” The first part of the answer to that question in the catechism is, “That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.” The gospel unites and connects us to Jesus. He is the vine and we are the branches. We were once distanced from God by sin, but we are now in relationship with him. We can cast our burdens at his feet and he hears them, and he comforts us.
I Am JUSTIFIED
During VBS, one question that came up with my middle school students was, “can I get to heaven if I do this bad thing or that bad thing?” It’s a fair question, which many have wrestled and struggle with. Crime deserves punishment, and sin deserves punishment (Romans 6:23). That is justice. The good news of the gospel is that Christ bore that punishment on our behalf so that in him we could be justified. We are saved from punishment because Christ paid our debt. From a cosmic legal standpoint, we are justified (declared righteous) because of Christ’s work on the cross.
I Am ADOPTED
Though we were all created in the image and likeness of God, because of the sin of Adam we are separated from God. In Ephesians 2 Paul tell us this:
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)
That’s the bad news. But the good is that through Christ’s sacrifice we no longer should see ourselves as children of wrath but rather children of God. In that same letter Paul said, “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6) Christ brings us into the family of God! We are adopted as sons and daughters!
Why is remembering these aspects of our identity in Christ important? Because they reminds us of our value and worth. They remind us that we were and are loved so much by God that he sent his only Son to die so that we too can be called his children. These truths should calm our fears and comfort us in tough times. They provide joy and hope day by day. Remember who you are in Christ.