Through the gospel, God changes who we are at a fundamental level. We are new creations with new hearts. In Christ, we are saved, adopted, chosen, children of God. The Bible refers to our change of identity as regeneration. This means, when you are truly a Christian, you have been born again or converted. Being a new creation in Christ is more than trying to live moral, turn over a new leaf, or try really hard to be good. Being a Christian means God has radically changed you and given you a new heart.
Apart from Christ, the wages of our sin are death and hell. It is right and just. This is why Jesus came to die, to save sinners and to atone for our sins. When we don’t understand this, we miss the essential reason for the gospel. We miss the very reason Christ came. Christ’s incarnation and atoning work were not intended to be therapeutic, it was not to be a moral example or influence, or to provide earthly prosperity. Christ’s death provided atonement through him being a substitution and sacrifice to satisfy payment that our sin deserves.
Therefore, in Christ, we are counted as righteous. Any good, any righteousness, any good works, etc. is all from Christ. In Christ, our identity is a forgiven sinner. Jesus pays the penalty for his people’s sin and brings forgiveness to his people. Jesus reconciles his people to God.
The Christian is a child of God in Christ, but we should never forget God redeemed us. There was a great price paid for our new identity. God did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all (Rom 8:32). The Christian should remind themselves of who they are outside of Christ — rebels. Yet, we want our new position and status with God to be reaffirmed and understood because this changes the way we live, think, speak, and act, and brings the Christian into maturity.
Christians, God has transformed you by the gospel! Our new identity in Christ means we are no longer slaves to sin and enemies of God, but we are his children and reconciled to him. We no longer live as citizens of this world but live out this life as pilgrims passing through. We live as kingdom citizens.
It is simply by grace in which we have been saved, and we have a new identity.