Core Training (1): Identity in Christ
All Saints Core Training: Who are You? Maturing in Our Identity in Christ
Memory Verses: Galatians 3:26–27: For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
The Consistory (minister/elders/deacons) addressed our core vision and values in our recent January Meeting (1/16/10). We said: We are to mature in Christ by imitating our Triune God as a loving community which reaches out in love (Eph. 5:1-2, John 20:21).
This series of sermons is Core Training: Our Identity in Christ, Identity as a Congregation, and our Calling in our local community. Our true ID is identity “in Christ”(idX). In order to mature in our relationship to Christ:
We Must Remember Our Bondage. Our identity starts with knowing we are Delivered from our former bondage(s). The Exodus for Israel was the moment in time in which God objectively acted to save them from slavery. The cross and resurrection was the full revelation of this Deliverance/Salvation (soter). Jesus is True Israel and all who are attached to Him by faith have death and life in Him: death of their old selves and sin and resurrection life from now into eternity.
We Must Renew Our Baptism. Our new identity is conferred in baptism, even as it was for Israel (1Cor. 10:1-4). This is made plain in the NT repeatedly. In Galatians, we know we are “all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus [because/for] all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (3:26-27). We are washed and so we are to say, “I am baptized” (e.g., I am, not was, “married.”). We are therefore to “improve our baptism” (Westminster LC, 167) or “profit from” our baptism by actively believing all of its meaning is true of us.
We Must Recognize Our Body. Our new identity is corporate. “We were all baptized into one body (1Co 12:13). We are part of a congregation, the Church. After leaving the slavery of our “old self” and the shackles of sin, we are part of a new community of people. We have differences (Jew/Greek, slave/free) but more foundationally we are One in Christ. We are therefore to think less of our individual identity markers apart from being “in Christ’s Body” and more of our Common life as the People of God, empowered by the Spirit and made to drink of the cup of the Spirit.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more