Identity in Christ
01 – Introduction
This is a study concerning who we are in the Body of Christ, our identity. An accurate understanding of our identity enables us to more effectively interact with God, with one another, and with the environment or atmosphere around us. The identity is what God has to say about us. All we need to do is come into agreement with Him. When we come into agreement with God, our faith is increased, and His power and love can be released through us.
There is an identity for each of us as individuals as well as a corporate identity for the Body of Christ. There may also be aspects of identity for groups of people within the body, not for segregation purposes, rather, for the balance and understanding of how the body works, much like we have a fleshly body but different systems within it.
I once attended a church that had an interim pastor, Alan Furst, who used this definition of faith that I have adopted: Faith is believing that God is who He says He is, that we are who God says we are, and that God will do what He says He will do. That definition lays out the Word of God as the Scripture tells us who God is, who we are, and what God has done and intends to do in the future.
This study focuses on the second component: We are who God says we are. God tells us who we are individually and corporately. Scripture goes on to describe different aspects of gifts and attributes that may differ from person to person. These gifts, blessings, and responsibilities are for the sake of the body, not for the ego of the individual. The focus is always on glorifying God. God created us in His image; we are His. God redeemed us through the work of the cross; we are His. As disciples we have surrendered ourselves to Christ as Lord; we are His. We are not our own; we are His.
So, if intimacy with God is something you crave, this study is for you. If hearing from God more clearly is something you desire, this study is for you. If assurance of your security in His salvation is something you long for, this study is for you. If you need to overcome insecurity or self-esteem issues, this study is for you. This study is intended to be reliant on Holy Spirit leading us through Scripture and revealing who God says we are. I pray we each receive personal revelation as well concerning the course of our lives in Christ.
Baptism (71 mentions?)
There are roughly 71 references to baptisms or baptizing in some form. Some teach us about the physical act of baptism as well as forming our doctrine on the subject. Some teach us about the spiritual aspects of baptism such as forgiveness, what we experience, and how we are empowered.
The accounts of physical baptism occur as disciples are made, for whoever believes. In addition to the baptism of new believers, we also see existing believers being baptized.
The accounts of being baptized in the Holy Spirit occurred before water baptism at times, as well as at the same time as water baptism and even after the water baptism. There also appears to be an ongoing baptism of the Spirit; a fresh infilling or outpouring of the Spirit. Two of the reasons for the baptism of the Spirit are to be Christ’s witnesses and to be clothed in power.
At times people will not want to be baptized. As far as I can tell, pride is at the root of this issue. The reasons vary from “I’ve been baptized already”, though not after becoming a believer in the Gospel of Salvation, to “I don’t want to do it with others around”, which inhibits the proclamation of one’s faith. And there are other various personal reasons for not wanting to be baptized. Eventually the argument turns to the thief on the cross. He was not baptized, so it is not necessary for salvation.
And he said unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom.” And Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in paradise.”
Luke 23:42-43 KJV
There you have it, case closed. Well, that is one example of extenuating circumstances. He had no possible way of being baptized. This extreme situation does not apply to most people. I’ve been with a number of people who have surrendered to the Lord on their death bed, or in their final days. I have not once thought about requiring them to be baptized due to their circumstances. But what is the case for those who are not facing such dire times?
The commission to the disciples by Jesus is to make disciples AND to baptize them.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
Matthew 28:19 KJV
And He said unto them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Mark 16:15-16 KJV
It is interesting that in this verse, in this translation, it states that the one who believes and is baptized, shall be saved. The one who does the baptizing is following the instruction of the Lord. The responsibility to be baptized remains with the person who is declaring such saving faith. To then refuse to be baptized potentially brings into question the level of faith the person truly has.
We also see Peter command new believers to be baptized, such as at Pentecost.
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Acts 2:38 KJV
We also have Jesus setting the example for us to be baptized. We are called to grow in righteousness and become more like Jesus. Since He, who had no sin to repent of, was baptized, ought not we sinners be anxious to be baptized into the Body of Christ?
And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
Mark 1:9 KJV
The many references to baptism in the bible can be grouped into subcategories: an Old Testament example; baptisms by John the Baptist and his disciples – including references to them concerning the time, the history, the location, and the validity; baptisms by the disciples of Jesus during His ministry years; Jesus speaking of another baptism that He must be baptized with in His future; the command by Jesus to make disciples and baptize them; the water baptisms by the disciples of Jesus after His resurrection and ascension; The baptism of the Holy Spirit (before, alongside of, or after the water baptism); and there are two other baptism verses I would like to share.
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?
1 Corinthians 15:29 KJV
This verse mentions baptism; however, the topic being presented by Paul the Apostle is the resurrection from the dead. I do not believe he, nor anyone else in the passages of scripture, instructs people to be baptized for their dead loved ones. This verse must be looked at in the entirety of the passage it is part of, and thus demonstrates the dangers of looking at single verses without understanding the context of the message surrounding it.
The other verse concerns the argument against being baptized for the reason of having already been baptized. There is no apparent need to be baptized twice into the faith, that being faith in Christ Jesus and His work on the cross, the shedding of His blood for the forgiveness of our sins. The question is one of the first baptism and what it was a baptism into. Was it another faith? Was it into religion? Was it as an infant in which case neither conscious decision nor any form of repentance could have taken place? Paul speaks of this to about twelve disciples he came across at Ephesus.
And he said unto them, “Unto what then were ye baptized?” And they said, “Unto John’s baptism.” Then said Paul, “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 19:3-5 KJV
The disciples were convinced that they needed to be baptized into the body of Christ. Other baptisms are no substitute for this union to and within the Body of Christ. We should likewise desire such a proper baptism upon receiving and expressing the saving faith that delivers us from the penalty that hovers over us due to our sin.
If you take the time to study the verses listed in the notes, you will find many interesting things such as the correlation to the ark and Noah, that now saves us, by the Apostle Peter, Moses and the cloud and the sea by the Apostle Paul, and more, including stories of complete families and whole households coming to God and being baptized at one time. You will learn how we participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus through baptism.
This is a study well worth the time of those who have yet to be baptized as well as those who have been baptized already. Seek God in all humility and ask Him for wisdom and understanding.
A listing of most of the verses involving baptism
Old Testament Baptism (1)
1 Corinthians 10:2 (“into Moses in the cloud and in the sea”) (covenant?)
Baptism by John (32)
Matthew 3:6 – 7 (Jerusalem and Judea and the region)
Matthew 3:11 (of repentance)
Matthew 3:13-14, 16-17 (of Jesus)
Matthew 21:25 (From heaven or from man?)
Mark 1:4-5 (of repentance)
Mark 1:8-10 (of Jesus)
Mark 1:9 (of Jesus)
Mark 11:30 (From heaven or from man?)
Luke 3:3 (of repentance)
Luke 3:7 (brood of vipers)
Luke 3:12 (tax collectors came)
Luke 3:16 (I baptize with water)
Luke 3:21 (of Jesus and others)
Luke 7:29-30 (people declared God just) (the Pharisees and Lawyers were not baptized by John)
Luke 20:4 (From heaven or from man?)
John 1:25-26 (with water)
John 1:28 (location reference)
John 1:31, 33 (with water) (of Jesus)
John 3:23, 26 (location reference) (reference to the disciples of Jesus baptizing)
John 10:40 (location reference)
Acts 1:5, 8 (to be God’s witnesses) (witnessed the ascension) (His yes and amen?)
Acts 1:22 (time reference)
Acts 10:37 (historical reference)
Acts 11:16 (historical reference)
Acts 13:24 (historical reference)
Acts 18:25 (historical reference)
Acts 19:3 (historical reference)
Acts 19:4 (historical reference)
Baptism by Disciples of Jesus (during the ministry of Jesus) (2)
John 3:22, 26 (disciples of Jesus baptizing)
John 4:1-2 (disciples of Jesus baptizing)
Jesus – Another Baptism (2)
Mark 10:38-39 (baptism with which I am baptized?)
Luke 12:50 (I have a baptism to be baptized with)
Great Commission (2)
Matthew 28:19 (when disciples made)
Mark 16:15-16 (whoever believes) (“will be saved”)
Water Baptism after the Resurrection (16)
Mark 16:16 (whoever believes)
Acts 2:38, 41 (Peter) (“those who received his word”)
Acts 8:12-13 (Philip) (into ministry after baptism)
Acts 8:36-38 (upon believing)
Acts 10:47-48 (existing believers)
Acts 16:15 (Paul and Lydia)
Acts 16:33 (Paul and the jailer and his family)
Acts 18:8 (Paul with Crispus and his household)
Acts 22:16 (Why do you wait?)
Romans 6:3-4 (baptized into His death) (walk in newness of life)
1 Corinthians 1:13-17 (baptized into one body)
Galatians 3:27 (“have put on Christ”)
Ephesians 4:5 (one Lord, one faith, one baptism)
Colossians 2:12 (“buried with Him”)
1 Peter 3:21 (corresponds to Noah’s Ark) (“now saves you”)
Baptism of the Holy Spirit (14)
Matthew 3:11 (reference to this) (“and fire”)
Matthew 3:16-17 (same time as water baptism)
Mark 1:8 (reference to this)
Luke 3:16 (reference to this) (“and fire”)
Luke 24:49 (“power from on high”)
Acts 1:4-5 (after water baptism)
Acts 2:4 (after water baptism)
Acts 8:14-17 (after water baptism)
Acts 9:18 (baptism of Saul)
Acts 10:44-48 (before water baptism)
Acts 11:16 (reference to this)
Acts 13:9 (ongoing and fresh)
1 Corinthians 12:13 (one Spirit into one body)
Ephesians 5:18 (ongoing and fresh)
Baptized Twice (1)
Acts 19:3-5 (John the Baptist and Paul or his disciples) (and in the Holy Spirit)
False Baptism? (1)
1 Corinthians 15:29 (for the dead)
02 – Children of God
All Parts of the Study: