Identity in Christ: Inclusion

Our culture’s narrative focuses on identity: with which race, class, or gender do you identify? For Christians, our identity is grounded in Christ. Even as all humans are creations of God, Christians are born again (or born from above in Greek) by the Holy Spirit (John 3: 3). Because we are now children of God, we are new creations. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Instead of focusing on race, class, or gender, we focus on becoming more like our heavenly Father. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Part of following God’s example and being more Christ-like is understanding our new identity in Christ. Because God so loved the world (John 3:16), all people, regardless of race, class, or gender are included in Christ. Here are a few passages that clearly state this inclusion in Christ.

Racial division is eliminated in Christ. Romans 10:12 says, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.” Racial healing between Jew and Gentile in the 1st century AD was provided by Christ. Today that same message of inclusion is needed: people of any race are saved and blessed by the Lord.

Not only race but class is mentioned as included in Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:13. It says, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Racially diverse people (Jews and Gentiles) as well as socially diverse classes (slave or free) are baptized by the Spirit into one body.

Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Notice that race (Jew or Gentile), class (slave or free), and gender (male and female) are all unified in Christ. While we may not view this as groundbreaking, in the 1st century AD in the Roman empire, this was radical. Sadly, in a culture that is divided today, such inclusion is necessary to explain and live out in reality. There is inclusion for all sinners in the body of Christ due to His perfect life and sacrificial death. That is our ultimate identity.

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