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Our Identity: With/In

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 1 John 4:15

As we explore “our identity in Christ” and what it means for us as believers, I can think of nothing more definitive than this: Christ is our life. This is a mysterious truth so vital that Paul consistently taught it to the early churches, writing to the Colossians, “[Christ] is your life,”1 and scribing to the Galatians, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”2 These bold truth claims jolt us like smelling salts from stupor to clarity, yet how can it be that Christ is my life? Prepositions show relationship, so let’s consider two of them: with and in.

With Christ. Paul assured the Philippians that we are “united with Christ,”3 and to the Corinthian church he wrote, “the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him4 (some theologians call this, “the mystic union”). Being one spirit with Christ, we can boldly proclaim with Paul, “If we have been united with [Christ] in a death like his [through baptism], we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”5 Through faith, we are spiritually one with Him who will never die again.

In Christ. Yet our relationship with Christ is still more profound: we live in Jesus, and He lives in us. Jesus passionately interceded to His Father on behalf of all who would believe in Him, including us today, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me. . . . I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”6 This is identity; this is how we, like Paul, can know and say Christ is my life and He lives in me.

So, now what? We do well to receive, contemplate and savor what Christ has done for us and who we are in Him, yet we also live this day as new people with practical purpose and eternal effectiveness. Jesus told His followers, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit. . . . By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”7 So we go in full confidence of who we are, offering ourselves to Him who lives in us and loves through us. There will be fruit.

Father, thank You for sending us Your Son and giving us new life in Him. Flow through us, that our lives would bring healing to others and glory to You. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Colossians 3:4, emphasis added
2 Galatians 2:20, emphasis added
3 Philippians 2:1, emphasis added
4 1 Corinthians 6:17, emphasis added
5 Romans 6:4-5, emphasis added
6 John 17:22, 26, emphasis added
7 John 15:5, 8 ESV, emphasis added

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