By Oscar M. Baker
Probably it would be better to define the term after we have seen its use in the Scriptures. Yet, we do not find the term itself in the Bible. But it very well sums up a great deal of serious teaching of the Word. And the examples will help to define the term.
1.) 2:12. "Buried with Him in baptism." Buried signifies death. So this is the believer's identification with Christ in His death. Died with Him. No unbeliever has this experience.
2.) 2:12. "Wherein also ye are risen with Him." Resurrection is very closely connected with the death. We cannot think of Christ's death without going on to the resurrection. He did not stay dead. And so there must be a resurrection for one who is identified with Him in death. You cannot separate these.
3.) 2:13. "And you...hath He quickened together with Him." The word quickened shows identification when used with together. It is being made alive. It is a life in which there is awareness of surroundings. It is the opposite of being dead in trespasses and sins.
4.) 2:20. "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances?" If a person is dead to something, he is not aware of it, does not notice it. So, if being identified with Christ and having our eyes on Him, how can we see and respond to sin? Ordinances or rules have to do with things that ought not be done, sins. Even in a past dispensation, a believer could be justified by faith, even though under law. But if we have died to all these things, there is no need for justification. We have passed into pure grace.
5.) 3:1. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." We are beginning to see that identification has to do with a position with Christ. So it would be natural for one so identified to seek the things associated with it on the right hand of God. This is reasonable.
6.) 3:3. "For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God." We have died with Him, and therefore risen with Him. Satan may try to find the believer, but he is hid. Of course hid is the opposite of manifest and some day the believer will be manifested with Him in glory. But hidden for now, for it is a part of the great secret or mystery.
7.) 3:4. "When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." This answers the questions what? and where? Christ was God manifest in flesh and received up into glory (1Tim. 3:16).
This identification is further shown by the example in the garden. An animal was killed instead of Adam and Eve. And they were clothed with the skin. This was a further idea of identification and benefits of the sacrifice.
(Reprinted from Truth For Today, Vol. 37, No. 8)