At Easter, Christ gave us a new identity. Paul writes, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20).
Our new identity involves two realities. First, through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been united with Christ in his death. Which means I am dead. If I am dead, my achievements no longer distinguish me. After all, dead people don’t get good report cards, or sports trophies or gold watches. Being crucified with Christ is an remedy to spiritual pride.
It is also an remedy to spiritual despair. Dead people don’t get traffic tickets or get in trouble. Just as our good works do not distinguish us, our failures do not destroy us. But that’s not the end of the story. The second half of this reality is that someone lives. Who lives? Christ lives. Where does he live? In me. I’m not just united to the death of Christ, I am at the same moment united to the life of Christ. Paul is actually saying I have a new identity. Jesus’ identity is now mine.
One of the great things about having a teenage daughter who can drive is that I can send her to the gas station. But at today’s gas prices when she goes to pay, she can’t pay for it. So what does she take? She takes my credit card. She takes my identity. She takes my riches (such as they are) and they become hers. What is mine is put into her account. The credit is hers. Not because she earned it. But because what is mine has been given to her in that moment for that purpose.
Paul tells us that because we’re dead and the identity of Christ has become ours, what is true of him has been accounted to you and to me. And that should profoundly change how we think and act.
Ravi Zacharias in his book, "Why Jesus?", tells a story about a little boy who had a rare brain malfunction and lived in an orphanage. One by one, couples kept adopting his housemates. Finally, he asked, “Why doesn’t anybody choose me?” Then a couple from Texas decided to adopt him. His actual name was quite hard to pronounce, so his adoptive parents sent him the name they wanted to give him – Anson Josiah, the initials of which are A.J. As he waited for his new parents to come for him, this little boy kept telling everybody as he pointed to his chest, “You can call me A.J. My name is A.J." Even with the debilitation of disconnected thoughts, this little boy was able to pick up the redeeming power of his new name. He knew he was profoundly loved.
Because of Easter, I am united to the death of Christ and united to the life of Christ. Christ’s identity is mine and I know, therefore, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that I am profoundly loved.