top of page

The Death of an Old Identity and the Birth of a New One.

Those of us in the modern western world strive to identify ourselves with everything from sports and music heroes, to the brands of our favorite materialistic pleasures or carnal appetites. Most of the time, it seems that our methods of identification are as superficial as the heroes or the brands with which we wish to be associated. For instance, we tend to identify by wearing a t-shirt with a logo, or we drink only a particular soda, or we obsessively follow a specific sports team. These behaviors are surface level efforts that reflect our tastes more than they represent a symbolic internal fusion with our shallow and pointless heroes, objects, or brands.

But this is not how Christians try to identify with Jesus who is the greatest hero of all time – or at least it shouldn’t be. Christians identify with Jesus through a public ritualized metaphor called baptism. Then after that, they dedicate, commit, or otherwise attempt to devote every domain of their lives to integrating into themselves all of the qualities of their savior, while crucifying all of their own qualities which might oppose his nature. In both essence, as well as in the outward form of their lives, they attempt to conform their identities to the pattern, spirit, and character of Jesus. In attempting to identify with Christ, they struggle to harmonize the symbolic meaning of baptism with evidence of a new life aimed Godward instead of selfward.

Consider Paul’s view of baptism. In Romans 6:3-6, he describes baptism as an identification with the death of Jesus. To be submerged in the baptismal waters is to relinquish and allow to die, or to crucify a life that opposed God and sought after selfish ambitions (Galatians 5:24). To reemerge above the waters is to be resurrected to a new life – to be born again as a joyful child of God, and to be free from the ultimate consequences of a godless and selfward life (Romans 6:6, Galatians 2:20).

Whenever we take baptism seriously, and our life becomes a reflection of the metaphor as much as the metaphor is a picture of our life, then we will have acquired our deepest and truest identity – the identity we were always meant by our creator to possess. We won’t be captured by shallow associations with frivolity, but instead will reflect a deep and abiding regal identity that will be used by God to subdue a world beneath his goodness and glory. Our identity will be intricately interwoven with the character and spirit of our Lord and Savior. While we may still enjoy a baseball game, a soda, or a fine piece of clothing in the same way that Jesus enjoyed eating with his friends, we will also be able to sacrifice the comforts of our lives, as well as our lives themselves, in the same way that Jesus left Heaven and sacrificed himself to demonstrate the love and goodness of God toward undeserving people.

23 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page