In today's post I want to explore the most common truth we find about Christian identity in the New Testament epistles - union with Christ. This is in keeping with the last series of posts which have aimed to explore the subject of Christian identity through Romans 6,7, and 8. For reader's desiring to review the last couple of posts in the series, click on the following links.
What it means to be united to Jesus Christ
"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin."
You'll notice in the above quote I put into bold those phrases that allude to the believer's union with Christ. As stated already, to be "in Christ"or "with Christ" refers to "association" or "participation" in the life of that person.
"By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world."
As Paul expounds upon what all is involved with our Christian identity "united" to Jesus Christ, we read in Romans 6:8-11
"Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
Did you notice how life and death are wrapped up in this personal identity of the Christian life? Although the Christian life in this world still deals with the corruption of sin, that secondary reality cannot subtract from who the Christian is in Jesus Christ.
Let me close with how powerful this union with Christ is in rooting the new Christian identity. Paul writes in Colossians 2:13-14
"When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."