A Theology of Identity.

We can be identified by many things about our person. The world with our country included have been in an identity crisis for the past few years like we haven’t seen in a long time. Many Christians were also distracted away from our identity and purpose in Christ.

Theology of Identity

All created humans are identified in Gen 1:26-28. It is part of human nature to want to know who we are, what our purpose is, and where we’re going. This comes from the image of God which includes rationality, morality, and personality.

God is a person. He knows who he is; He's completely self-aware. God has purpose, a divine plan for the universe, and he knows how it's being done. When sin came into the world, God's eternal decrees didn't change. God was not surprised and didn’t need to adjust. In his divine self-awareness, he had implemented a plan to bring all men whom sin had separated from Him back to Himself. He created us to bring glory to him and to enjoy him forever, and not even sin could dominate that plan. In God’s eternal plan, His only begotten unique Son came to earth to provide the opportunity for those affected by sin to once again to be restored to God's original intention.

When we surrender ourselves to Christ who is the express image of the glory of God, we repent from our sins and place our faith fully in the Lord Jesus, then we're able to once again know our identity and purpose. God increasingly allows the image of God in man to be restored to eternal purposes in Christ. All our individual activities are done to the glory of God.

There is a large temptation for Christians to become followers of unsaved people with good morals who only live for temporal values. In a world full of darkness and false messages, we should embrace what is of spiritual value for the greater good. Ecclesiastes tells us that God has created everything good for us to enjoy. Fearing God and keeping His commandments is always primary. Supporting things that are good and excellent should be naturally done by God’s people with God’s purpose in mind.

God created and saved us to do good works which demonstrate the divine change in our lives (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:11-14). Our identity and purpose are in Christ.

The world that appreciates our talent and work ethic may not always appreciate our spiritual ethic. This tests our living faith and whether we will still live according to Christ’s mission. Maintaining this sense of identity and eternal purpose is a battle throughout our lives.

Titles of Our Identity

In the Scriptures, believers are called many things that reflect our identity, including: beloved, children, brethren, holy ones, God’s children, adopted, His little ones or little lambs, living stones, chosen race, royal priesthood, Christians, redeemed of the Lord, spiritual house, a holy priesthood, ambassadors, branches in Christ, citizens of Heaven, disciples, elect ones of God, chosen instruments, servants and slaves of Christ, friends of Christ, heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ, fellow citizens of God's household, fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, heirs according to the promise, instruments, jewels in God's sight, kings, light, sons of light, the light of the world, sons of the day, God's workmanship, sons of the resurrection, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden, members of Christ's body, new creatures in Christ, pilgrims, strangers, bondservants of God, faithful brethren, the faithful redeemed ones, peculiar ones, stewards, saints, priests, sons of Zion, friends of God, and fishers of men.

Nature and Activity of Our Identity

Galatians 3 was written to a church undergoing an intense identity crisis, as some were being convinced that good works were necessary for their salvation. Paul wrote rebukes and reminder to this church including Gal 3:25-29 that also remind us of our identity and purpose. We are subject to Christ because we are baptized into Him. We are now one in identity and purpose.

John 1:9-13 tells us that God is the active agent who quickens hearts to receive Christ. Salvation is a gift of God, not from heritage or willpower. (See also Matt 16:15-17 and 1 Peter 2:9-12.)

Christians are unique and holy, rare people, recreated in Christ to do the will of the Father, both in our pursuit of Christ-likeness in character and the purpose of Christ in Great Commission purposes.

Harmony in Our Identity

Colossians 2:6-7, 2:20-23, 3:1-4 show how this is lived out in unity among a local church body. Dying and living with Christ has changed our whole way of living.

Application Points

  • Prayerfully navigate these turbulent waters of national and global identity crisis. As you associate with that which is excellent or good in your own interests or occupation, carefully take inventory of your own eternal purpose from time to time. Is the Great Commission becoming expendable in your schedule due to other quality activities?
  • Be careful not to let your failures or successes become your identity. God views you as His child regardless of your failure, and He doesn’t measure your existence by your achievements.
  • Don’t allow the way God made you to become your identity. Our culture has an imbalanced emphasis on the human body. Comparison to the culture’s definition of good, beauty, or success creates a life of confusion and despair. How does God describe you? You are His beautiful Creation, and there are people who only you can reach for Christ.
  • Don’t allow your spiritual gifting to become your primary identity within the body of Christ. It’s possible to use your spiritual gift and lose your identity and purpose in Christ. Don’t be distracted from eternal purpose by your own personal ministry. God doesn’t need us to accomplish His plan. It’s a gift to steward, not to take pride in or think we have more value than another believer. Christ is the hero of the church.