Finding Our Identity in Christ – 3 – Gospel in Life

Finding Our Identity in Christ – 3

Tim Keller |  November 12, 1989

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  • Identity
Colossians 3:12-17
RS 207-05


We’re taking a look at Colossians 3:12–17 and pointing out some how-to’s. How do you work the gospel, the good news down into your life? Paul essentially says, “because your life is hid with Christ in God, live that way.”

If Christ is your life, then when other people come and criticize you, you say, “Well, you know, it hurts to be criticized, but my reputation isn’t my life, and what they think of me isn’t my life. Christ is my life.” Paul is saying, “Be what you are. Take hold of what you really are and you really have, and live on the platform of it. Be what you are. Let the peace of Christ rule.”

Colossians 3:12–17

In this final talk about who we are in Christ, we discuss the need for righteousness, the mistake of looking for it outside of the Christian message, and the importance of Christ’s obedience. We use the story of the prodigal son to highlight Jesus’ stance against judgement, noting that Jesus, the ultimate older brother, extends forgiveness to everyone. The talk stresses the power of Jesus taking on our sins, the benefits He wins for us, the close connection between Jesus and God, and the necessity of accepting ourselves and living in harmony with our identity in Christ.

1. Compassion

When we fully understand that Jesus Christ accepts us completely, we become more compassionate. People who realize that their salvation is a gift of grace, not a prize for good behavior, tend to empathize more with those less fortunate, seeing their own imperfections in them. Our awareness of our own sin and thankfulness for God’s grace is demonstrated in how we help those in need, as compassion naturally flows from knowing we are freely loved and made pure in Christ.

2. Humility

Humility means focusing less on ourselves. Our self-worth shouldn’t be based on our ever-changing ego, but on the gospel’s revelation of who we truly are. The gospel message of love without conditions, despite our shortcomings, mutes our ego and reshapes our worth. This divine love allows us to take criticism, stay unaffected by praise, and find our worth in being holy and dearly loved.

3. Joy

There’s a big difference between those who believe they’re saved by grace and those who think they have to earn God’s approval through their own actions. Those who understand God’s free love often react with wonder and joy. However, those who rely on their own goodness may end up feeling joyless and burdened. John Newton’s advice to a downcast pastor friend emphasizes the importance of valuing Christ’s character, actions, and promises, and turning to Him as the true source of peace, righteousness, and life when faced with trouble.



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