~ I made the following chart below to sort through my thoughts on the Identity In Christ issue. Currently this is where my thinking lies. I do not have it all resolved, however this is a start.
(1) Our identity without Christ can be in a myriad of things. Take for example the person who is a workaholic. He or she may be this because they view their job as their identity.
(2) When Christ Comes: When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, and exchange takes place where we start clothing ourselves with Him and putting off all sin and all false identities.
“Do not lie to each other, since you have put off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” ~ Colossians 3:9-10
Comment on False Identities: Some identities that we had prior to Christ were not necessarily bad. Some identities however were bad. For example in Kenya, tribal identity is a big deal. After you come to Christ how you understand that should change.
My point: The good may stay while the bad will go. The good however cannot be described as being foundational however they are still a part of your identity. We can call this secondary identity.
(3) When Christ becomes your foundational identity, then Christ permeates your secondary identity.
~ So maybe you were a crooked businessman before Christ. After Christ you still are a banker, however you have and are putting on a new set of clothes and thus your manner of doing business changes. You are still a businessman – this is indeed your identity on some level – however on a more fundamental level your identity has changed. You are now in Christ and Christ permeates anything and everything you do as a business-man. You no longer give out bribes. You do not help yourself to the company funds. You strive for excellence in your work not just for the sake of company profit, but because you are doing it for the Lord.
*Note: As hard as it may be to believe to many a foreign ear and eye, there are very many Americans who self-identify with being red-necks. They are not necessarily racists however.