Identity is such a powerful thing. It’s the foundation of how we perceive ourselves, yet many Christians still define themselves by their sin, hardships or circumstances. I’ve heard lots of Christians use the phrase, “I’m just an old sinner saved by grace.” Most say this truly wanting to be humble but how does God define us now that we’ve been born again? (John 3:3)
We were sinners before we received Jesus but when we go to the Word we find that God calls us righteous, blessed, new creatures - he doesn’t define us by sin anymore, even if we do mess up from time to time.
But this new identity has to be settled in our hearts and activated by faith in order to see results.
Hebrews 4:1-2 says, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”
These results don’t “just happen” without our cooperation. A quick look around at the lives of many Christians will tell you that. But as we become aware of the whole truth, we can begin to start seeing more evidence in our lives.
So then, who are we?
1-We are made in God’s image and have dominion
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:27-28
We have the choice, whether to cooperate with God or cooperate with the enemy. It’s why prayer matters and it’s all about who you cooperate with.
We can use the free will God gave us to align ourselves with His will and see things happen “on earth as in heaven”. But way back in the very beginning, we can see that these legal rights were given to us.
2-We have been made new creations in Christ
Some people have balked at the idea that we shouldn’t still call ourselves “sinners” after we receive Jesus. They step aside and wait for a lightning strike, asking the understandable question, “Dude, I know I’m a Christian but I still sin sometimes. So that makes me a sinner, right?”
It’s true that each of us still deals with wrong thoughts and behaviors but we can’t forget that 1 Thessalonians 5:23 reminds us that we are three parts: spirit (the core of our being), soul (our mind) and body. When we were born again, that was a change in spirit. That’s the part of us that was recreated and that’s the part God defines us by. Our eye color didn’t change and our minds still needed to be renewed. We may not have looked any different on the outside but God saw us as new.
“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 (ESV)
Our body still has a sinful nature and our mind is in the middle, deciding whether the flesh is going to rule us or if we are going to follow who we truly are now in the spirit.
Let’s use a simple example. When a child misbehaves, do we call them worthless and no-good based on their actions? Or does a healthy adult address the wrong while also reminding them, “This isn’t who you are. You were raised better than this”.
A little further down in 2 Corinthians 5:21, it says that we have been made righteous in Christ:
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Did doing something good before you received Jesus make you righteous? Absolutely not. So then why would messing up after you’ve received Jesus strip you of your new identity in God? We should see the cross of Christ as stronger than that. Yes, we still need repentance, we still need grace, but no matter how we feel we should let the Word be a reminder that God has given us a new core identity.
3-We are the Blessed not the cursed!
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13-14 ESV
This scripture says we have been redeemed from the curse. We need to know what’s included in the curse so that we know what to resist! Deuteronomy 28 gives us a clear picture of both curse and Blessing. The curse includes sickness, poverty, mental illness and perpetual defeat. So many people stake their identities on these things, even Christians! But the Blessing includes wholeness, prosperity, a sound mind and victory. Those are meant to be tenants of who we are and how we see ourselves, even if we still have growing to do in each of those areas.
Many Christians have unfortunately seen the curse trying to pop up in their lives and thought it was somehow the mysterious will of God but when you know these things aren’t from Him you realize that you shouldn’t just roll over and take it! After all, Jesus told us, in Matthew 6:10, to pray that God’s will be done “on earth as it is in Heaven” and the curse isn’t in Heaven.
4-We are the healed
Because healing is something that Jesus provided for us we should see it as part of our identity.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25
This is a much deeper subject than we have space for here. Believing in healing doesn’t mean we’re against doctors or healthy lifestyles. All these things can work together. It also doesn’t mean that if you see an attack on your health that you should feel condemned.
But we have to be convinced that it is God’s will for us to be healed. Always. Keith Moore has a great series that covers this line by line in depth. You can find that here: https://www.moorelife.org/php/mlmMediaChannelCollectionContentList.php?siteID=fli&channelID=1&languageID=EN&collectionID=57
One of my favorite things to do is find testimonies of people alive today who have seen this manifestation in their life. Unfortunately, these stories aren’t always trending on social media but they are out there! A few of my favorites that you can find by searching on YouTube are LaShea McKinney’s story of standing for healing from cancer, Jerry Savelle’s testimony of healing after a stroke and Jacob Sheriff’s story of standing for the recovery of his newborn son. Testimonies like these remind us that God is still powerful today and that we are among those who find our identities in the healer.
5-We are the Body of Christ and his representatives
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 17
“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. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10
Just look at how many “you are” statements these scriptures contain. What if the body of Christ focused more on these realities? As we move forward representing Him these realizations can empower us to do what He has called us to do.
Notice how much unity there is in 1 Peter 2. We all come from different backgrounds, upbringings and natural cultures. These things aren’t erased in Christ but they are superseded by our greater identity as family in Him as we represent Him to the world.
So, who are we? If we want to define ourselves the way God does then we have to look at the Word. It tells us that we have are made in the image of God, we’ve been made righteous new creations, we’re the Blessed, the healed and the global family that is the body of Christ. It’s a lot to take in but it’s important to be reminded of these things as identity informs the foundation for our lives.