Not to be confused with the silly/awesome word game my wife Bethany taught me…
I was talking with my theology buddy today (yes, there is such a thing), and she was lamenting over some things in her past. Okay, lamenting sounds a little melodramatic. She was talking about them. Anyways, at the time she was shocked that these situations could have arisen in her life, feelings with which I am very familiar…. She decided that as much as it caught her off guard, she would accept that this was part of her identity, accept forgiveness and move on. I had two thoughts on this.
(1) This is the friend that taught me what a Calvinist Christian believed. One of the first doctrines of a Calvinist is total depravity (i.e., man is incapable of accepting Christ on his own). The biblical reasoning behind this is that because of the fall man is sinful and separated from God and, therefore, requires God’s intervention to fall in line. What many Christians would refer to as “the Holy Spirit tugging on their hearts.” For more information read Romans 3:9–18…moving on. So my first response to her saying she was surprised by this was, “Isn’t it rough when theology becomes reality?” Because in essence she was experiencing in a tangible way a truth she boldly professed to me not two years ago, and it sucked….
(2) As a Christian, our identity is in Christ. Our identity is not in any way determined by anything we do, no matter how rude, stupid, filthy, sinful, or wicked it may be. It is also not determined by what is done to us by others, whether we are taken advantage of, beaten, raped, unloved. When God sees us, He sees perfection because of what Christ has done in our lives and in our hearts. It is that simple. So my second response to her was, “Yeah this happened, but that is not your identity; your identity is in Christ.” The past does not define us; only Christ does.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation
It is interesting to me how life works. It is interesting to me how God works and how God reveals truth to us. It is amazing to me how dense we Christians are. We know so many things, so many theological concepts, so many doctrines, but are shocked when the rubber meets the road and we see ourselves fall so clearly into them. Even knowing that, I am still shocked when I screw up….
You can’t understand grace until you understand your own depravity.
You can’t understand forgiveness until you understand your true identity in Christ.