A Gospel-Formed Identity
As a boy, we would go and visit my grandparents in East Texas. These trips were filled with outdoor adventures and shooting things, eating cornbread and shelling peas. I loved it. I loved my grandpa. I loved clearing fence lines and gathering brush with him. I loved singing beside him at church on Sunday morning.
Before we would go to church, or out into the community, I remember my grandpa saying, “Remember who you are, and who you represent.” I never asked for clarification, but I knew he had two things in mind: I was God’s child, and I was his grandson. Since those things were true, I should act like it. He wanted to remind me of my identity so that I would walk in it through life.
As Christians, we need to be regularly reminded of our identity in Christ. We often suffer from what Paul Tripp calls “Identity Amnesia” as we define ourselves horizontally rather than vertically. We often see primary identity as our vocation, our economic status, or our position in society, rather than find our identity in Christ. If it’s true that we suffer from this condition, then the gospel is the only medicine that will cure us.
Below are twenty truths that build toward a gospel-formed identity. Surely, there are more that you could add to the list by searching the Scripture, and I encourage you to go and find them. Come to these truths regularly to remember who you are, and who you represent.
We are made in the image of God.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
We were chosen by God.
Even as 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 to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will. (Ephesians 1:4, 5)
We are loved by God.
For I am sure 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. (Romans 8:38-39)
We are redeemed and completely forgiven of all our sins.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, (Ephesians 1:7)
We are justified by God.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23–24)
We are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)
We are adopted as sons and daughters by God.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)
We are united with Christ.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5)
We are accepted by God.
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)
We are free from the power of sin.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
We are a new creation in Christ.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
We are made part of the body of Christ.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
We are friends of God.
You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:14-15)
We are a holy nation, a royal priesthood.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
We are a kept people.
To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. (Jude 1)
We have died with Christ.
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)
We are raised with Christ in new life.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)
We are saints in the sight of God.
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons. (Philippians 1:1)
We are ambassadors for Christ.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
We are citizens of heaven.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:20)