“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
The search for our identity is a quest in which we all participate. We piece together our identity with things such as:
- Where we are from
- Where we went to school
- What we do for a living
- Achievements and accolades we have received
- Our interest and hobbies
- Our clothing and what we drive
Some of the factors that impact our identity are more passive. We know they are there, but we don’t want to admit it. These are things we don’t really want people to see – like the way we truly view ourselves:
- Things that have been done to us
- Things we have done that we are not proud of
- The fears we hold
- The shame we carry
For many, the identity we hold for ourselves becomes a tremendous burden and has staggering consequences in how we view God and His church, the way we treat others, and the priorities we hold dear. Everything we do, say, and think is wrapped up in the way we view ourselves. But what if there was a different way? What if our identity was not rooted in the way we view ourselves, but in the way God views us? 2 Corinthians shows us a different kind of identity – not built on what we have done or what we have acquired – rather, an identity based solely on what God has done for us in Christ!
My friends, this is all that truly matters:
- Not who are you, but Whose are you.
- Not where are you from, but where are you going.
- Not what you do, but Who you know.
- Not what have you achieved, but what you have freely received.
There is a new identity for those who are in Christ. The old is gone, it is dead and it is buried. The new has come! Jesus Christ became sin for us. He took our place and died for our guilt and shame. In Christ, you are given a new identity. You become the righteousness of God. The very picture of His love and grace is a life that has been reconciled to Him. In Christ, your identity is rooted and grounded in what God has done for you in His love and grace! That is a beautiful identity! Don’t you want that kind of identity? Look to Jesus!
Adapted from a sermon by Senior Pastor, George Wright, Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C.