A New Identity
By Bob Coker
A person has no identity apart
from a relationship with someone or something else. That is why we latch onto
practically anything in our desperate need to discover who we are. We determine
our identity through our appearance, occupation, abilities, family
relationships, friends, denominational affiliation-the list is endless.
Identity, however, is a spiritual need. Who we truly are is determined by our
relationship to Jesus Christ. When we are identified with Him, we have an
identity that cannot be shaken or taken away. It's an identity that is more
wonderful than we could ever imagine. Unfortunately, the tragedy of modern-day
Christianity is our utter ignorance of who we are in Christ. As a result, many
Christians struggle, wondering if God loves them. The believer's identity in
Christ is not a side issue; it is central to experiencing the real Christian
Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so in
Christ all will be made alive.
Their identities are determined
by who they are identified with. What two people does the verse say we can be
- From God’s point of view, there are only two
kinds of people in this world.
- What phrase does Paul use to show that people
are either identified with Adam or identified with Christ?
- To be "in Adam" or "in
Christ" is strange language to us. Biblically, to be in someone means
that person is our family head. As such, he has left us his name, his
nature, an inheritance, and a destiny. What is the destiny for those who
are "in Adam"?
- What is the destiny for those who are "in
Every human being is born into
this world "in Adam." That means we are born with the same nature,
inheritance, and destiny that Adam possessed after his fall. Let's take a
closer look at the inheritance left to us by Adam.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made
sinners. . . (Romans 5:19)
were we made through the disobedience of the one man?
was this one man?
what is our identity in Adam?
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death
through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12).
How did sin enter the world?
- Who was this one man?
- What entered the world through sin?
- As a result, what came to all men?
- Therefore, what did Adam pass on to you and
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in
which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler
of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are
disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the
cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the
rest, we were by nature objects of wrath(Ephesians
- According to this passage, what were we in our
transgressions and sins?
- What ways did we follow when we lived in our
transgressions and sins?
- When we were dead in our sins, what did we
seek to gratify?
- What type of nature and lifestyle did Adam
pass on to us as our family head?
- What destiny did Adam hand down to us?
All of us are born into this
world as sinners. We each were born dead in our sins and totally controlled by
our sinful nature. As a result, we were by nature objects of wrath. This is the
identity Adam passed on to us an identity we received through birth. For this
identity to change requires a new birth.
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one
can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."... Jesus answered,
"I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is
born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives
birth to spirit" (John 3:3,5,6).
1. What did Jesus say must happen to a person for that person to see the
kingdom of God?
2. What did Jesus say must happen to a person for that person to enter the
kingdom of God?
describes being born of water as "flesh gives birth to flesh." This
is a picture of our physical birth. What kind of birth is Jesus referring to
when He says, "You must be born again"?
we are born "in Adam" and he is our family head. When we are born
again of the Spirit of God, who becomes our family head?
who does a person's identity come from once he has been born again?
When Nicodemus heard Jesus say
you must be born again, Nicodemus asked, "How can this be?" This is a
very natural question. How
can you be
born again? Jesus gives the answer in John 3:16.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life(John 3:16).
motivated God to give His one and only Son?
did God give us His Son?
does this verse say we must do to inherit eternal life?
how are we born again?
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his
name, he gave the right to become children of God ~ children born not of
natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God(John 1:12,13).
1. What happens to those who receive Jesus Christ?
2. How does John say we receive Jesus Christ?
3. A child of God is born of whom?
4. Why do you think John shows the contrast between being born of natural
descent and being born of God?
5. If you believe in Jesus Christ and are born again, what is your new
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father."
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if
we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if in
deed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:15-17).
1. When you were born again
of the Spirit of God, what Spirit does Paul say you received?
2. What kind of spirit does
Paul contrast the Spirit of sonship to?
3. In Ephesians 2:3, we
learned that "in Adam" we were all by nature objects of wrath and our
natural response to God is one of fear. In light of this, how important is it
to understand that when we are born again, we do not receive a spirit that
makes us a slave to fear?
4. Because we have received
the Spirit of sonship, what do we cry out to God?
5. What does the Spirit of
God testify to our human spirits?
A person's identity is determined
by who he is identified with. From God's vantage point, a person is either
identified with Adam or with Jesus Christ. If you are identified with Adam, you
are a sinner and your destiny is eternal separation from God death. If you are
identified with Jesus Christ, you are a child of God and your destiny is
Your identity can change through
a new birth. If you are "in Adam," are you willing to receive Jesus
Christ by believing in His name and experiencing new birth in Christ? You can
do so by simply asking Jesus to come into your heart. The following is a
Lord Jesus, I need You. I recognize that I was born into
this world a sinner, dead and in need of life. Thank You for dying for the
forgiveness of my sins and then for being raised from the dead so You could
come and give me life. I now receive You into my heart. Take control of my life
and teach me about Your love and the inheritance I now have as a child of God.
Thank You for coming into my heart and for giving me eternal life.
If you prayed to receive Christ,
you are now a child of God. You have a new identity, a new nature, and a new
destiny. Throughout the rest of the book, we will take a closer look at just
what it means to be a child of God and the marvelous inheritance we have as His