By Paul A. Balbach III
One of the main reasons many believers struggle so hard in their walk, and don’t truly find vitality or joy or peace in their day to day lives is that they haven’t been taught or haven’t discovered for themselves their identity in Christ.
We have such a fantastic new identity that God has given us the moment we place our faith in Christ’s death as our death, that He died as us and for us on the cross.
So were going to take a look at our identity in Christ by our union in Him. The moment we hear the gospel of grace from someone or maybe we read it in God’s Word ourselves and believed it, maybe it was Eph. 2;8,9 for by grace you have been saved through faith, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast and we believed that, something wonderful and eternal happened. Let’s look at what Gods Word says about the believer in the dispensation of grace. Eph. 1:13 NKJV.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation in whom also having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His Glory This tells us we had to hear the truth and trust in that truth. When a person does this the Holy Spirit comes and indwells them, and He personally seals us with Himself, this is truly eternal security, He promises to keep us.
We also see another truth here. We receive the Holy Spirit the moment we believe, not at some time later as some teach.
His Holy Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ, 1st Cor. 12:13 for by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, we have we have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
This Church called His body, the body of Christ is a spiritual organism, not a building or denomination.
This baptism places us into Christ himself, it’s not a water rite done by a man but done by the Holy Spirit, He brings us into oneness and union and fuses us into Christ. Christ as the Head and we as His body.
Thru this identification where the Holy Spirit identifies us with Christ’s death burial and resurrection. And now God sees us as having died to who we were in fallen Adam, buried, never to come back. And also sees us as risen with and in Christ forever, no longer in fallen Adam but eternally in Christ.
Let’s take a closer look at this amazing spiritual baptism and our identity in Christ.
We are going to study this wonderful doctrinal truth reading the Bible is fine, you’ll learn a little, But God calls us to study His Word, not just read it. And if we study it Gods way it will be profitable, but we have to study it Gods way. Many verses in God’s word call us to study Gods Word, Yet only one verse written to us the body of Christ in the dispensation of grace that we live in is written by the Apostle Paul.
Christ raised Him up and sent Him to the Gentiles with a new message, never before revealed and the
Holy Spirit thru our Apostle Paul writes in 2nd Timothy 3:16 NKJV, all Scripture is given by Inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine for reproof for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Verse 17 that the man of God may be complete thoroughly equipped for every good work.
So that we see all Scripture is for our learning, our comfort, correction, training, etc. that we may be equipped for every good work. So all Scripture is for our learning yet ALL Scripture IS NOT directly to us or about us, in this Dispensation of Grace.
Now let us look at the verse God has given to us, that tells us how to study His word that has His approval, and that actually is the key that opens up the Scriptures to us, as the Holy Spirit teaches us and illumines our minds.
2nd Timothy 2:15 KJV study to show thyself approved unto God a workman’s that need not be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth.
So before God tells us all Scripture is for our learning and profitable, in 2nd Timothy 3:16, in 2nd Timothy 2:15, He tells us how to study it that it may be profitable and approved by God. The Holy Spirit, thru Paul tells us to Rightly Divide God’s word.
The word Rightly Divided in the original language, it means to slice accurately, and handle accurately. That tells us there is divisions in God’s word. We have to find out where God has made the divisions and study God’s word that way.
One of the divisions God has made in His word, is Law and Grace. Two different sets of instructions, one to the nation Israel-The Law thru God’s spokesman, Moses. Grace to The Body of Christ-thru Christ’s spokesman, the Apostle Paul, to the Body of Christ, that Christ made Him the steward and dispenser of our instructions, in the Dispensation of Grace
Let’s take a look at Romans 6:14, For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under Grace. Let’s think about that. In other words if you put yourself under law, sin will have dominion over you.
I could go so much more into that yet I will not for now, but I hope that I have wet your appetite and that you research it more. I would recommend a great Bible study website that would be very helpful in this area.
Also if you go on the internet. Go to the YouTube site. Type in the name Joe Balbach, there are about 20, fifteen minute Bible study videos. I am the one who actually did the YouTube videos. I did the teachings, verse by verse thru the book of Colossians.
I would like you to go to the wonderful book of Romans. Go to chapter 6. In this chapter it explains the mechanics of the Christian life lived under God’s Grace. In Romans 6:12 Paul asks a question, shall we continue in sin that Grace may abound, then He gives us the answer, certainly not. In the Greek the idea is no, no, no a thousand times. Then He explains why. How shall we who died to sin (the sin nature) live in it any longer? He stated we died to sin. How many believers understand this? Yet Paul had the same problem of Grace. Illiteracy back then in verse 3 don’t’ you know? We need to know our identification in Christ, so now Paul is going to explain it to us.
Before we start to exam these verses I must remind you again Baptism here has nothing to do with water. But it is a Spiritual Baptism, by the Holy Spirit. Again when you read about Baptism here it means identification or placed into.
In verse 3 our Apostle explains to them that as many as baptized (placed into) Christ were baptized (Identified) into His death. The moment we trusted in Christ’s death as our death, God by His Holy Spirit identified us with His death.
In verse 4 Paul explains we were buried with Him thru identification with His death. Why would Paul bring up his burial and our being placed into it? He is trying to show us a blessed fact. That we died to who we were in Adam. Who we are in Adam. We were sinners by birth with a sin nature that naturally controlled us and we had a destiny called hell. We could do nothing to change ourselves.
Then our Apostle gave us the wonderful truth of our identification in our resurrection with Christ. He explains this in verse 4 and 5. In verse 5 Paul explains if we were united with His death then we also are identified and united with his resurrection.
We not only died to who we were in Adam, but we rose with Christ. The moment we believed God gave us resurrected Spiritual life. Now Christ by His Spirit indwells us. It is called Chris in us, as 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says We are a new creation in Christ. We now have a new identity before God and in Christ. God sees us as Holy completely righteous without blemish and accepted in His beloved son.
He dealt with all of our sins on the cross. Not just your past sins, but today’s sins and the ones that you will do in the future. In the Age of Grace. We do not get forgiven as it was in other ages & dispensations. But our Apostle Paul writes, in Ephesians 1:7 In Him-in Christ, we have redemption thru His Blood the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His Grace. Ephesians 4:32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (past tense on the cross). Colossians 1:14 In whom we have (present possession) redemption thru His blood the forgiveness of sins.
Do not let one verse taken out of its context and also that was written about unbelievers. 1st John 1:9 ruin your understanding of complete forgiveness, tradition will steal your freedom and blessings in Christ. Back to Roman 6:4 at the second half of the verse, it says “Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the Glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life.
That word life, newness of life, in the Greek is ZOE. It means Spiritual Life. The same kind of life that God has. God is Spirit and we must worship Him, in Spirit. We now are to allow Christ’s resurrected life live in and through us.
In verse 6 our Apostle to the Body of Christ writes to us of another amazing truth of Grace. Paul writes knowing this, that our old man (who we were in Adam) was crucified with Him (our old person died), that The Body of sin might be done away with. That we no longer should be slaves of sin (the nature).
Now Paul wasn’t teaching that we no longer have a sin nature, or He would not have written in Chapter 7:15 “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice. But what I hate that I do.
Paul had found something out, as a believer if you place yourself under law or legalism. The sin nature will defeat you. Yet also Paul writes in verse 17, “BUT NOW it is No longer I (his new nature). Who does it, but sin that dwells in me.
We don’t fight the sin nature in our own strength. That is what Paul in Romans 6:6 was writing about. Not that the sin nature is not there. But that its power has broken by the cross. The idea there is that it has been rendered powerless, that it might be made inactive, ineffective.
In verse 11 Gods Spirit thru Paul, tells us how to have victory over the sin nature. This is the mechanics of the Christian life. In Romans 6, remember God told us what He did in our identification, the moment we believe. Now in verse 11 He explains to the victorious Christian life.
He writes, likewise you also reckon (count as true-rely upon, calculate) yourselves to be dead to sin (the sin nature). But alive to God. In Christ Jesus Our Lord.
So when we get wrong thoughts or attitudes, we should realizes where they are coming from, and live by Faith, and not by sight. Count upon, rely, reckon that we are dead to sin and present ourselves to God. Instead of focusing on the sins and resisting in our own strength. We realize who we are in our identity in Christ and focus on God instead of sin.
We need to have our minds renewed with Gods word Rightly Divided and see ourselves as God sees us in Christ. God is no longer dealing with us in our sins, but in our identity in Christ.
Our Apostle Paul tells us in His Epistles that we are complete in Christ. Colossians 1:10. In Colossians 1:6 he tells us, so then as you began in Christ Jesus, continuing in Him. How did we begin in Christ? By Faith and dependence. That is the same way you live the true Christian Life.
Also in Paul’s Epistles we find we are blessed with every Spiritual Blessings in Christ. There are about 36 blessings in his Epistles that tells us our identity, and also what we have the moment we trusted in Him.
I will end this article with them and I hope that you will research them out for yourself. Remember growth comes from: 1. KNOWING (Romans 6:6,8 ) 2. RECKONING or Believing as true (Romans 6:4,11) 3.
PRESENTING ( Romans 6:12,13 & Romans 12:1,2)
Here are those Spiritual Blessings every Child of God possess: 1. RECONCILED (2ND Corinthians 5:18-21) 2. PROPITIANTION (Romans 3:25,26) 3. FREEDOM FROM CONDEMNATION (Romans 8:1,2 & 8:28-39) 4. JUSTIFIED-God declares us Righteous (Romans 4:1-8 & 5:16) 5. SANCTIFIED- set apart for His use (Romans 1;7, 1st Corinthians 1:1-2, 1st Corinthians3:1-3) 6. SPIRITUALLY BAPTIZED into Christ Jesus (1st Corinthians 12:13, Colossians 2:8-13, Ephesians 2:4,6) 7. FREED from the LAW (Romans 6:14, Galatians 2:19-21, Romans 7:6) 8. FORGIVEN COMPLETELY & ETERNALLY (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:13) 9. MADE SPIRITUALLY ALIVE (Ephesians 2:1-5, Romans 6:23) 10. MADE A NEW CREATION ( 2nd Corinthians 5:17, Romans 8:9,10) 11. ADOPTION (Romans 8:15,16 & 22,23) 12. BLESSED WITH EVERY SPIRITIUAL BLESSING (Ephesians 1;3) 13. WE ARE COMPLETE IN CHRIST (Colossians 2:8,10) 14. DELIEVERED FROM THE AUTHORITY-KINGDOM OF DARKNESS ( Colossians 1:13-15) 15. CHILDREN OF LIGHT (Ephesians 5:8 & 1st Thessalonians 5:5) 16. IN THE FAMILY OF GOD. 17. CITIZENS OF HEAVEN (2nd Corinthians 5:20 & Philippians 3:20) 18. OBJECTS OF GOD’S LOVE (Ephesians 2:4) 19. OBJECTS OF GOD’S GRACE (Ephesians 1:6 & Romans3:23, 24 Ephesians 2:8,9) 20. WE HAVE ACCESS TO GOD(Romans 5:12) 21. OBJECTS OF HIS POWER (Ephesians 1:19,20 & 3:20, Philippians 2:13) 22. BENEFICARIES OF HIS TEACHING (Titus 2:11, 12 & 1st Corinthians 2:14) 23. RECIPIENTS OF HIS PEACE (Romans 5:1, Phil. 4:4, Galatians 1:3) 24. RECIPENTS OF HIS JOY ( Galatians 5:22, Phil 4:4) 25. CIRCIMCIZED IN CHRIST (Colossians 2:11-13) 26.INDWELLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT (Ephesians 1:13,14 & 1st Corinthians 3:16 & 6:19) 27. JOINT HEIR WITH CHRIST (Romans 8:16,17) 28. MADE ACCEPTABLE TO GOD (Ephesians 1:6) 29. GLORIFIED (Romans 8:29,30) 30.CHOSEN IN CHRIST THRU THE GOSPLE (2nd Thess. 2:13,14) 31.BUILT ON THE ROCK JESUS (1st Corinthian 3:10) 32. WE HAVE ETERNAL SECURITY (Ephesians 1:13,14 & Phil 1:6 & Romans 8:33-39 & 4:4-5).
I will end with this. Our Apostle Paul whom Christ gave His commands to for our instructions in the Dispensation of Grace. In 1st Corinthians 14:37 Paul writes If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or Spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write to you are the Commands of Christ.
So it is in his letters that we find our marching orders our identity our destiny.
If you notice the Holy Spirit thru Paul, always reminds the believers of who they have been made in Christ he reminds us of our identity in Christ before he corrects the behavior. Look at the carnal Corinthians yet paul addresses them as saints in the first few verses of 1st and 2nd Corinthians
That is how God is working in us in the Dispensation of Grace. He teaches us our identity who we are in Christ and then in view of His grace and mercy to us. He urges us beseeches