Ken Casillas addressed student leaders on Monday, Feb. 6, during a student discipleship seminar about the topic of “Reclaiming Christian Identity.” Casillas, professor and coordinator of BJU Seminary’s PhD program, spoke on the importance of grasping one’s identity in Christ, avoiding the wrong sources on which some people base their identity and finding the Christian’s true and renewed identity in Christ.
Casillas shared with students several reasons why believers must know who they are in Christ, including human forgetfulness, the sense of security and significance that comes from identity, the wrong sources of identity the world spreads, the influence identity has on humans’ choices and people’s inclination to build their identity on secondary things.
“What so often happens is we take some of these things that are here on the periphery, and we move them to the center, and we make them more important than what they ought to be,” Casillas said. Christians look at work, relationships, success in ministry and financial status and define their lives in those terms, forgetting what the Bible establishes as the core of who they are, Casillas said.
However, even though Christians often suffer from spiritual amnesia, they ought to remember crucial aspects of their identity in Christ, of which Casillas mentioned eight. First, believers are creatures made in God’s image, which means that as redeemed creatures they can display God’s character and rule over His creation. “I can’t think of a higher identity than having been appointed by God to be the little king over the rest of the creation on behalf of the capital ‘K’ King,” Casillas said.
Similarly, Christians can identify themselves as creatures united with Christ; they are also saints, children of God, pilgrims, slaves (when they see themselves as servants of Christ), communal beings mirroring a Triune God and worshippers. The greatness of these characteristics is not that they are particular to specific individuals, since each aspect is true of every believer, but that “I’m a partaker of these bigger things that are larger than me as an individual,” Casillas said.
Marioly Acosta, a junior early childhood education major, said that it was impactful to see the contrast between the areas humans tend to base their identities on and the reality of being creatures made in God’s image.
“My union with Him forms the center of God’s redemptive work in my life; from this center flows an abundance of stabilizing, identifying truths,” Casillas said. He concluded by affirming that it is only through union with Christ that one can reflect God’s image.