“For me, to live is _____.” How would you fill in that blank? What excites you? What gets you up in the morning? What occupies most of your thoughts, your time, your talents, and your treasure? Recently, I was reminded that as a Christian, my identity is found first of all in Jesus Christ.
I love being a husband, a daddy, and a pastor. I really enjoy hobbies like hiking, geocaching, reading, and stargazing. But most importantly, I want it to be said , “You can’t truly know Stephen Jones unless you know his Savior.” I want to be so acquainted with Jesus, so interwoven with Him, that our lives and identity are inseparable.
The idea of “union with Christ” appears many times in the New Testament in a tiny two-word phrase we often skim right past. It’s the phrase “in Him.” If you have surrendered your life to Jesus and trusted in His substitutionary death for your sin, then your life is already hidden “in Christ.” Ephesians 1:7 says “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” And 2 Corinthians 5:21 says the Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” If you’re a Christian, then your identity is now wrapped up in
Jesus. You’re a little branch attached to the life-giving Vine.
This is the most wonderful news in the world! It means you can have assurance, because you now belong to Christ. You are His, and He is yours. There’s nothing you can ever do to earn or forfeit your salvation, because you’re already fused and fastened together with your Savior through faith. But there’s another implication to this. It means your life must be separate from the world. Your thoughts and behavior (walk) must be radically different than before you were saved. “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6). “The one who abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6).
So, how does the Apostle Paul fill in the blank, “For me, to live is _____”? You’ll have to look up Galatians 2:20 to find the answer. But I’ll bet you can guess it has something to do with his identity in Christ. May the same be true of us.