As a believer in Christ, one must remember that a new identity is held by, and because of, faith in Christ Jesus. This new identity that is accepted by faith takes the predominant place in the life of the believer; it takes the chief place, the principal place, the leading place, the primary place. It also means that the new identity applied to the believer by faith in Christ is the foremost identity; it trumps, or outranks, the identity the person holds as male or female, white or black, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, married or single, straight or gay.
Galatians 3:28 describes the new identity in this way, “There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
This scripture is speaking to the person who is a believer in Christ and who has put faith in Christ, there is now “no distinction,” there are no borders, limits, or classifications other than Christ. Christ becomes the brand-new identity for the believer. And in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Now, and because of this new identity, the things that the believer seeks, wants, pursues, holds dear in this life become different than they were before believing in Christ, because now as Colossians 3:1 puts it, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”
The believer now “sets his/her sights on the realities of heaven” and pursues and actively lives life in a brand-new way, with a brand-new focus, with a brand-new purpose.
There is in effect, a new operating system for the believer, or a new modus operandi, e.g., instead of disliking or hating others for differing opinions, or being hurt or bitter toward those who seek to exclude the believer for whatever the reason might be, we can look to the following scriptures for guidance:
1 John 4:7, “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God.”
Romans 12:18, “If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.”
Colossians 3, “Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don’t yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.”
Romans 14:13-15: “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother or sister is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.”
This last scripture is key, Paul makes a remarkable statement: “…there is nothing unclean of itself….but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”
Wow. This is something to consider as each one of us endeavor to live our life in truth, or in the best way, or in the freest way. The passage goes on to say in essence, if we push our freedom in someone’s face all the time, demanding our rights and trying to persuade someone that our way is “ok” – then we step out of love and into a place of destruction.
We never want to use our freedom to hurt another brother or sister.
Romans 14:22, “You may know that there is nothing wrong with what you do, even from God’s point of view, but keep it to yourself; don’t flaunt your faith in front of others who might be hurt by it. In this situation, happy is the person who does not feel guilty when they do something they judge is right!”
At the end of the day, follow love and pursue peace with everyone. The identity that the believer holds in Christ trumps all other identities and is the way to love in every situation.