I recently discussed salvation and the Identity Concept (IC) as they relate. This discussion brought about important issues of distinction. IC is the teaching about who you are now as a Christian. The idea of IC as many ideas if improperly used, prop up a bad ideas. It will become the reason for supporting a bad idea as if proving IC legitimizes, as in this case, a bad gospel. This is the case with the IC concept when placed with the popular gospel of Cheap Grace (CG) or easy believe-ism. Cheap grace is the salvation that requires no repentance for salvation because it erroneously states simply that by “faith” in Christ you are saved. It requires nothing else. You will change naturally.
I use and want to grow in my identity in Christ and I hope to encourage others to do the same. IC is encouraged after becoming a Christian. A Christian is one who trusts Christ, thus having a new King, Kingdom and Kingdom purpose. You are now a resident of the Kingdom and a royal subject of the King. You are His representative and emissary. You are now empowered by this knowledge for Kingdom living and service.
IC is improperly applied in CG and give an unfortunate support for CG. IC’s role in the context of CG is as follows. One believes in Jesus expressed in the prayer of salvation. Then one needs to be taught about their identity. It is believed that the new Christian will “naturally” grow to maturity once they have been taught their identity. I believe, that for some, it works just that way and they become wonderful and fruitful Christians. However this is the anomaly…I believe that fruitful Christians work hard for their new life. For the majority, when told they are saved through their “faith” and are Heaven bound, IC becomes irrelevant. They naturally conclude it isn’t important for salvation, so why bother. It is like a contractor being paid before the job is completed. He lacks motivation to do the job timely, if at all.
Experience shows that many of us really struggle in our evolution: sanctification. It can be very hard to change habits and take on the character of Christ. Many superficial changes are quite easy but others are demoralizing. It isn’t all that natural to change but it is inevitable to change as you “work out your faith with fear and trembling.”
From this stand point, when IC does not achieve it purported goals, it isn’t concluded that the faith was spurious but that IC hasn’t been properly grasped. They believe the individual is saved through their ”faith” so the salvation of the individual isn’t to be questioned. Is proclaiming faith in Christ enough?
IC properly placed in the acceptance of Christ is highly valuable. The foundation that IC rests is the Gospel that which teaches to submit to Jesus the King and make a commitment to adhering to the Kingdom lifestyle. As anything new, it comes through difficulty and failure.
Faith in Christ is as simple as hearing his message and as a result following his word and lifestyle. Faith is like flicking a switch and the result is the illuminance of the light. Yet, it isn’t natural to luminate as bright as Jesus but through sanctification we become brighter. IC may play an important role. The faithful will bear fruit; the fruit described in Galatians, the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit affect the lives of outsiders.
IC can play an important role for those of faith. Assuming one comes to faith, as Christ would define, it is the next necessary to teach them to obey Jesus (Matt 28:18-20.) Since, in this transaction, Christ is recognized as Lord, non-spurious faith will continue in its ups and downs through the end of life. In this, IC is very important. These ones will become bright lights.
IC provides, upon the foundation of Christ and the Gospel, an understanding of who we are in relationship to God. It says we are loved children and co-heirs with Christ. With the assurance of God’s power, love, and fidelity we are empowered to live as Jesus. Knowing we are on his team to be equipped and used for his eternal purpose, we are fruitful. It is like taking the jersey and given a position to play on your favorite sports team. It is incredible to be included as a full member of the family of God through Jesus Christ.