1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:3-7; Eph. 2:4-7
Over the last few years we’ve been hearing more and more about identity theft. You’ve heard the horror stories: The thief gets a hold of personal information about someone, such as their birthdate and Social Security number, and then proceeds to steal their life from them. Basically the thief pretends to be his victim, and uses that deception to do such things as apply for credit cards, apply for loans, steal money out of the victim’s bank account, etc.
But here we’re going to talk about something quite different. It’s the best-kept open secret among Christians. As we’ll see, it’s plainly taught (repeatedly) in the N.T., so every believer should be familiar with it, especially since it impacts us so much. Instead of identity theft, we’re talking about an identity gift.
At the moment of salvation, as we noted yesterday, several things happen: Your sins are forgiven, you’re adopted into God’s family and kingdom, and you’re marked by the Holy Spirit, among others. But I want to spend a day talking about one more benefit, especially since most Christians either don’t know about it or at least don’t think about it so much.
Here it goes. I’m going to try to make this as clear as I possibly can. When you received Christ, you were permanently identified with him in the spiritual realm. Again, on the outside, nothing changed. But behind the scenes, the Father permanently identified you with his perfect Son. Let's clarify what we mean by this, shall we? As far as God is concerned. . .
• When Jesus lived a sinless and perfectly obedient life, you lived a sinless and perfectly obedient life. That’s what I mean when I say that Jesus is my righteousness, as Paul did.
• When Jesus died on the cross, you died on the cross with him.
• When he was buried, you were buried with him.
• When he rose from the dead, you rose with him.
• When he ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father, you did the same.
So what does this mean for us as believers? Well, the most immediate one I see is that of eternal security, the teaching that once a person gains salvation he can never lose it. I’ve talked to quite a few fellow believers in my time who deny this doctrine. But to be brutally honest, none of them seem to actually grasp this concept of identification. They tend to see salvation merely as forgiveness for sins (which it is) or a transaction (my sins for his righteousness, which it is). But if I’m so thoroughly identified with Christ, then how could he and I ever be separated? As far as God is concerned, I’m already with Christ in heaven, seated next to the Father!
But as best as I can see, I’m not seated with Christ in heaven. Heck, if I’m totally “dead to sin” like Paul said in the Romans passage, then you could’ve fooled my wife! All these “As far as God is concerned. . .” statements are wonderful truths, but I’m not seeing it with my own eyes right now. God says these things, but my experience is telling me something different. How to reconcile these two things together is the subject for tomorrow.
Lord Jesus, I want to take just a moment to glory in this truth. You did all this . . . for me. To draw me into yourself. And now your victory is mine.