A witness protection program is offered by the government in exchange for testimony that could convict a dangerous criminal. After testifying in the courtroom, the witness is given a new identity.
The protected witness’s new identity includes a new name, Social Security number, birth certificate and place to live. Every effort is made to ensure that the person’s prior identity is destroyed so a new (safe) life can begin. The intent is to protect the individual, who essentially goes into hiding, possibly permanently.
This is not the case in the Christian faith.
When you and I witnessed the grace, love and mercy of what Jesus did on the cross for us, our identity changed. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).
No name or driver’s license number was altered, but our entire being was transformed. God gave us a new life and new eyes to see things the way He sees them.
Unlike the witness protection program, our new identity in Christ is not intended to protect us. The opposite is true. God “reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Many people are lost and need to be transformed. He expects us to go and share the gospel message with the world around us. Instead of hiding from the world, we are called to abide in the Word. His Word says to “go” (Mark 16:15).
Your ID badge labels you an ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20). Your new life (creation) involves a new mission.
This transformed identity moves us away from a life of self-serving and into a life of serving God and others. Who can you share your identity in Christ with today?
Brent Dumler is the pastor of the Phenix City, Alabama, campus of Christ Community Church.
2 Corinthians 5:11–21