Identity – It’s an important thing to have if you are going to travel anywhere around the world. It indicates who you are, where you are from, along with generating questions about where you are going.
And our identity – the way we see ourselves – has a lot to do with where we’ve come from, what we value, and where we’re going.
People are really into “identity” … as is evident by the popularity of resources such as Ancestry.com. This popular research site is filled with millions upon millions of records that allow people to delve into their family heritage.
You’ve probably seen the commercial for Ancestry.com’s DNA research service where there is this guy who has always thought he was of German heritage, and so he is wearing the German lederhosen. But then he gets his DNA results back and finds out he’s actually 75% Scottish, so he says he traded in his lederhosen for a kilt. Really?! That’s not moving up in the world of ethnic fashion! But I digress.
However, I do understand the interest in finding out who we are and where we’ve come from. I’ll share a bit later in this series about how I was adopted (as we speak of that biblical concept relative to our adoption in Christ); and over the last decade, I’ve used some of these research tools to discover some amazing things (and some troubling things, as every family tree has some sap running through it!).
Probably for many of us, our identity could be uncovered and revealed by a total stranger without even meeting us. All a person would need to do is go through our closets and drawers of logo-covered shirts and jackets, revealing the many teams or organizations with whom we are pleased to be identified.
And people are quick to identify and label other folks; and there are many categories: race, faith, politics, economics, careers … to name a few. But all of these are things of this world. Who really are we in terms of true reality, in terms of eternal status and identification as we are seen in the eyes of our creator?
And that is the essence of what this five-week series is about. The Bible traces our identity by speaking of our family connections, by natural connection to being “in Adam,” but also by faith connection “in Christ.” Beyond that, the Scriptures give us a vision for serving well in this life, along with the assurance of an eternal future.
I believe that if we take an overarching view of this topic of “Identity” from the big picture view of Scripture, there are five identifiers as to who we are (as believers in Christ) …
- Identity: We are Condemned Sinners in Adam
- Identity: We are Justified Saints in Christ
- Identity: We are Adopted Children by our Father
- Identity: We are Ambassadors of the King of Kings
- Identity: We are Joint Heirs with Jesus Christ
Notice here that we are only one thing in Adam: Lost! But in Christ, we are many things, with many blessings of new identities we could never be on our own. So most of the news in this series is good … actually GREAT! But it does not start that way, because we have a first identity as a condemned sinner.
Maybe you have at some point heard a person ready to deliver some news say, “So I’ve got some bad news and some good news, what do you want to hear first?” Usually we choose the bad news so that we can get that out of the way, along with the hope that whatever it is, things are going to get better. And that is how we start out with this “Identity” series – with some really, really, terribly bad news. But it gets better … quickly even. So stay with us!