On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, I started a new series for our Wednesday evening Bible Study entitled “Union with Christ.” This series strikes at the very heart of our identity as Christians, that we are in Christ. This is a very common way for the New Testament writers, especially the apostle Paul, to describe followers of Jesus Christ. When we look the various letters that Paul wrote, we see the many times he addresses the Christians in the opening verses of each letter as the “faithful in Christ Jesus” or the “saints in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2).
It is important that we keep central to our identity as Christians that we are in Christ Jesus. This includes trusting in Jesus Christ as the God-man who came to save us from our sins. Our identity as being in Christ Jesus means that all our lives are to be centered on knowing Jesus above all and living in obedience to Him as Lord and Savior. We recognize that the goal of our spiritual pilgrimage in this life is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ as Romans 8:29 affirms. Our journey of transformation is a pilgrimage in which we count all things as complete rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ. (Philippians 3:8) Our identity as Christians takes precedence over any other identity we have, whether it be with a nation, a community organization, political affiliation, or an ethnic group. In fact, our identity as Christians must shape how we view and participate in our other groups and associations. Our commitment to the Lord Jesus and His teachings must be pre-eminent. It must be the controlling commitment to all other commitments.
Colossians 3:1,2 says this,
“Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
As we reflect on the teaching of our Lord Jesus and the writings of the New Testament, it becomes clear that it is our ongoing task as Christians to keep seeking the things above and not the things of this earth. The resurrection and ascension of our Lord reminds us that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins, rose again, and is seated at God’s right hand. This saving act of Christ on our behalf is God’s revelation to us concerning the meaning and purpose of Christ’s life.
The New Testament as the Word of God also informs what are the “things above” that we are to seek after and what are the “things of this earth” that we are not to seek after. This message is fleshed out in the teachings of the New Testament. But Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.” The things that Christ says will be given to us are the food and clothing that we need to live mentioned in Matthew 6:25-32. The lesson that our Lord is teaching us is not to be weighed down by anxiety over how to provide for these physical needs. This is an important life lesson! Do what you can today but do not worry about tomorrow. Instead place your trust in God and seek first His will in your life.
Meditate on this food for thought and consider your identity in Christ. Believe in Him, trust in Him, and serve Him.