by Dick Buckingham
by Dick Buckingham
This is one of those life altering questions that everyone asks at one time or another. It is particularly prevalent among our youth today. Unfortunately, they look for answers to that question on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, by seeking to be accepted and “liked” by both friend and stranger. The image they have of themselves is the image that others see of them and, many times, this image is not even close to accurate. Fortunately, the Bible has much to say in answer to this question and that is what the spiritual theme at Faith Christian School is focused on this year.
Since much of what the Bible has to say about who we are is dependent upon our relationship with Christ, no Biblical discussion of who we are can be had without beginning with a frank discussion of the gospel.
The first and most important thing the Bible tells us is that we are fashioned by a Creator God. The scriptures are clear about this and there is no ambiguity. We were created (fashioned) in His image (Gen. 1:26). What all this means exactly is a matter of much theological debate, but there is consensus that it includes an eternal soul, a conscience of knowing good from evil, and the ability to have dominion over all the rest of creation. When God created Adam and Eve, he concluded that it was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Man was the capstone of all that God created and he was made carefully, with intentional purpose. The Psalmist has said that his Creator fashioned him “fearfully and wonderfully” (Ps 139:14). Thus we can affirm for every human being that God has created them exactly as He desired them to be. There are no mistakes from the Creator’s hands. The abilities each one has, the characteristics that make up each individual are just exactly what God, the Creator, wants them to be. This is a very comforting and encouraging thought. So many people struggle with who they are because they think they are insufficient, lacking in some skill or ability, and long to be someone else. God created you to be you. There is nothing wrong with you as you came from the Creator’s hand and He has declared you to be not just good, but very good.
If only we could stop at the part where God has made us fearfully and wonderfully. But we cannot because in just two chapters from the creation of man, the Bible tells us something else very important about who we are. We are fallen. Adam and Eve, in all their created glory, were put in a place where their every need would be met. God gave them one stipulation, to not eat of a particular tree in the garden. This would be a critical test, not just for Adam, but for all mankind. You see, God had established a covenant with Adam and he was to be a representative for all who were to come after him. If he was faithful to the covenant, all would receive the blessings of the covenant. If he broke the covenant, all would receive the consequences and curses of the covenant. One of the most difficult things that we have to come to grips with as human beings is that what Adam did in the garden affects all of us. We are counted as sinners as a result of what Adam did and we come into the world with a nature affected by sin so that we continue his practice in our own lives. This fallen nature affects all of creation, including the fearful and wonderful creation of man mentioned in the previous paragraph. As a result, we are enemies of God and we are at war with Him. More importantly, God is at war with us and it is a war we cannot win. This leaves us in a situation of helplessness and hopelessness. Yet God has made a way.
But before we move on to that glorious message of good news, it is important to note that the first two things I have said about who we are apply to every human being. There is no one who is given a special dispensation. All are fashioned. All are fallen. All are made by God. All are war with God. All will lose that war to a God who is over all. What the Bible says further about who we are only applies to those who have embraced the solution for the problem of our sin and its nature. Not all will claim the truth of what I am about to say and they will remain in their fallen state. This is a very somber point to grasp. Some of you are currently in this state and will remain in it unless you embrace the truth that follows. The Bible has nothing more to say about you in a positive way.
God in His grace, has provided a way for sinful man to deal with not only sin and its nature, but its consequence. This is nothing short of the greatest news we can ever hear! Because of God’s righteousness, He cannot simply forgive or overlook the sin of man; the penalty must be paid. That penalty is death, physical and spiritual. No one can pay that penalty for someone else unless they themselves are without sin. If they have sinned, the best they can do is to pay their own penalty. Yet God sent His own Son, who was in every regard God, and thus perfect, to pay that penalty for all who would trust Him. It is really a simple plan, yet profound. Jesus, the perfect spotless Lamb of God, was put to death on the cross so that He could assume the penalty of sin for those who belong to Him. Those who belong to Him, who hear His voice, are those who trust that what He did is sufficient to deal with the sin problem in their lives. This simple matter of trust is all that is necessary to bring a person, who at one time was at war with God, destined for destruction, to a position of peace and blessing. Instead of being enemies, God now calls believers friends and children (Jn. 15:14, I Jn 3:1).
Not only are we forgiven, but it is an eternal relationship that has begun. In 2 Cor. 5:17 we are told that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” There is a transformation that takes place in the life of a believer. What they once were, they no longer are. God is re-forming them into what Adam and Eve were prior to the fall. That doesn’t mean that we immediately look and act differently. Unfortunately, the effect of sin and its nature on us persists even though we are being made new. But a process has begun in us that will culminate in our being re-created in the likeness of God.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness though our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-9
There is also a great sense of security in this relationship with God in that there is none who can snatch us out of His hand (Jn 10:29). The benefit of what Christ has done for the believer can never be lost or discarded.
So who are you? We know that you are fashion and fallen. That is true of every man and woman. But are you also forgiven forever? Only those who put their complete trust in the provision God has made for our sin problem can make this claim. Are you trusting Christ? Or are you trusting your good deeds and accomplishments? Or maybe your wealth and position? There is only one way to be forgiven forever. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
There is much more the scriptures have to say about those who are in Christ. But we will pick some of these up in a later blog.
If you would like to speak with someone further about the message of the gospel and how it applies to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.