Sports loves to crown its champions. This is why we grind and compete for an entire season: to win and to become the greatest. Baseball pops the cork on its World Series winners, Super Bowl rings adorn the gnarled knuckles of the NFL’s best, and hockey hoists Lord Stanley’s Cup. But NASCAR is different, for it holds its most elite event, the Daytona 500, not at season’s end, but at its beginning. Afterward the matter is settled: regardless of what happens the rest of the year—win or lose—whoever captures the flag at NASCAR’s inaugural event remains its greatest champion. This is likewise true of all who are born of the Spirit of God by faith in the Son of God: though our season on earth here continues, we have already won. “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us,”1 proclaimed Paul. It is fait accompli—a done deal, historic fact. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”2

Still, the rest of the season awaits its champions: we have miles to go, some of them grueling and some of them not. We will at times face rejection, persecution or dangers for the sake of the Kingdom,3 yet in Christ we are champions, and absolutely nothing will be able “to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”4 Then it is in this confidence—the complete certainty of God’s limitless love for us—that we “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”5 We share the apostle’s assurance: “in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”6 God loves to crown His champions.

Many have gone on before us in seasons of the past, and many will follow in times yet to come. This, though, is our season. This is our time to persevere in Christ as winners in Christ. Our crown awaits. It won’t be long.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2.

Father, You have already made us winners in Christ Jesus. Send us Your Spirit to lead us, that we would live as Your champions. Find us faithful. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Romans 8:37
2 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
3 Romans 8:35
4 Romans 8:39
5 Philippians 3:14 NASB
6 2 Timothy 4:8 NASB


Our Identity: Heirs

A friend of mine held a prominent position working for a financial services sector giant. His future there was even brighter, except for one thing: the political climate in the upper echelon of that corporation was highly combative, and my friend was repeatedly told, “You need to learn to throw your weight around.” Mulling this over for some time, my friend ultimately concluded, “That’s not who I am, and I’m never going to be that person.” He left his promising prospects there to pursue something more richly rewarding—a profession in a culture consistent with who he knew himself to be.

How noble the character of one who will not compromise it for worldly gain but lives instead in the freedom of who God has made us to be in Christ. Then how vital it is to absorb and accept this facet of our being: we are adopted children of God and heirs to His kingdom. In recent weeks, we have seen that the Spirit of God breathes life into all who believe in the Son of God, and that God has united us with Christ—He lives in us, and we live in Him. (See links below.) Listen then as Paul tells us what this means for us: “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received . . . brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ . . . ”1 Inheritors of eternal life in the Kingdom of God—this is who we must know ourselves to be.

Our celestial Kingdom home draws nearer each day, yet we have terrestrial Kingdom purpose in “the here and now”—to bring God glory. So how do we live “while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ“?2 We serve. Said Jesus to the crowd, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”3 This is what Jesus did, so this is what we do in Him. This is who Jesus is, and this is who we must know ourselves to be—children, heirs and co-heirs with purpose: to glorify God.

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”—Matthew 25:34

Abba, Father, how good You are that You would adopt us as Your children and make a way for us to inherit Your Kingdom! Fill us, lead us and empower us to do what You call us to do today. Be glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

1 Romans 8:15-17
2 Titus 2:13
3 Matthew 5:16

Prior posts on our identity in Christ
Our Identity: We Are Forever Alive
Our Identity: With/In


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