In Christ You Have a New Identity



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”


At the beginning of the security line in virtually every major airport is a security guard checking passports. The official looks down at the document, back up at you (recently some airports ask you to look into a camera), and either confirms your entry or asks you to step aside. 

In that context, a passport validates who you are, where you are from, and if you are an upstanding passenger. Once approved, I have often experienced guards in US airports pausing to say something to the effect of, “Enjoy your flight, [insert your name].” That last part always feels good; it almost makes it worth the wait in line. Almost.

In Galatians 2:20, Paul articulates the details on the Christian passport for life in Christ. You could almost hear him saying in any place where his true identity is being reviewed, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” While the phrase “in Christ” does not appear in this verse, this is a true “union with God in Christ” passage.

Sitting at the heart of Paul’s theology and vision of the gospel, this verse is a crystallization of Paul’s deepest belief about our identity as Christians—those who he says are “in Christ.” We are no longer identified with the law (Gal. 2:19) or who we were before we met Christ (Eph. 4:22–24).

We are identified with Christ—even to the degree that Paul will say that Christ is actually the one living through him.

It is here that we must pause in our study of union with God in Christ to embrace a halting reality. Paul is not after us just becoming like Jesus, though he does use this language from time to time. He also does not talk about Jesus as if he is primarily on the outside working on Paul’s life.

Paul is identifying himself with the Lord who inhabits him, the Spirit who inhabits him.

Paul has put every other identity behind him other than Jesus and his belovedness to Jesus. We are called to do the same. Here in Galatians 2:20, he does not define himself by the ideologies, the -isms, and -ists, of his day. He aligns himself with Jesus. He belongs to Jesus. He answers only to Jesus. He obeys only Jesus. He does not blend his allegiances; Jesus is the only Lord for Paul. Early Christians were discipled to do the same.

When people look at your spiritual passport, the person looking at you is in for a treat. May they see Jesus—who is in you as you are in him (John 15:4–5). Paul emphasizes this true and profound unity with Christ as he places himself with Jesus in his crucifixion, participating with Jesus in his crucifixion. Because in Adam all die (the first Adam), so in Christ we are all made alive (the second Adam) (1 Cor. 15:22, 42–45).

Paul has died to his old way of life and the old passports that held his identity. His new passport declares that he is in unity with his crucified master. As one scholar put it: “The cross, like all prophetic and charismatic acts, is a creative event; indeed, it creates a new horizon, a new world.”1 Because of the cross, Paul has a new horizon, a new world—a new self. And so do you and I.

May you be able to say today that you have been crucified with Christ and, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” May you be able to say, “The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

This is union with God in Christ. This is your new identity.


Lord Jesus, I am in you and you are in me. My identity is with you, on the cross. My identity is with you, in your resurrection. I want to embrace this new identity, and to be able to say, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” In Christ Jesus, I pray, amen.


Can you say that you have put every other identity behind you other than Jesus? Talk about the processes in your life that led you to choose your identity in Christ over other identities that vied for your allegiance.

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt 


  1. Michael J. Gorman, Cruciformity: Paul’s Narrative Spirituality of the Cross (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2001, 2021), 383.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. My ultimate goal in this life is to be restored to original manufactured condition, as in pre-fall humanity in the Garden. Only in Christ alone is this made possible. The process of restoration has entailed some disassembly, removal of corrupted parts, and then reassembly using original manufacturer’s equipment, “The breath of the Spirit, breathed into this dust of the earth “. I’m in the process of a total restoration.

  2. To be in Christ is to no longer live by your will and desires. It is to align and surrender your will and desires to His–to go wherever He takes you–to live moment by moment in obedience to and reliance on Him. It is to be crucified with Christ–to be dead to your own will and desires. To be in Christ is to be resurrected, inhabited, and led by His presence.

    The more you align your will and desires with Jesus the more you will see His power flowing in and through you. The more you are in Christ, the more you will hear His voice. You can hear Him. Listen closely throughout each day.

    When you’re feeling encouraged for no reason, you’re hearing Jesus. Listen to Him. When you’re feeling forgiven and you know you don’t deserve it, you’re hearing Jesus.

    When you’re experiencing inner peace in the middle of one of life’s storms, you’re hearing Jesus. When you’re experiencing joy while your heart is breaking, you’re hearing Jesus.

    When you’re feeling patient in the middle of a major delay, you’re hearing Jesus. When you’re feeling kind in a hostile environment, you’re hearing Jesus.

    When you’re empowered to do good when you want to be bad, you’re hearing Jesus. When you’re being faithful when you want to quit, you’re hearing Jesus.

    When you’re being gentle when you want to lash out, you’re hearing Jesus. When you’re keeping yourself under control when you want to lose it, you’re hearing Jesus. Always listen for His voice.

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