Your Identity in Christ
We tend to think of our identity in terms of categories and cultural markers. We think of layers of identity, like ethnicity, gender, age, language, ability levels, employment status, family relationships, etc. As a Christ follower, our primary identity is our identity in Christ. Who Christ says we are is more important than all other identity categories. Our true identity is found in him.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
As a follower of Christ, the truth about you is that you are:
- A child of God (John 1:12)
- Filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)
- Redeemed and forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
- God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)
- Holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12)
- Brothers and sisters of Jesus (Hebrews 2:11).
Our identity is in Christ. God defines who we are. We are forgiven. We are loved. We are being conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). When we put our faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit fills the heart of the Christian and enables and empowers us to grow more and more like Jesus.
And yet, we are also broken people living in a world that is broken by sin. We are being conformed into the image of Christ, but we still struggle with sin. The apostle Paul certainly understood this tension:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing….So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:15, 19, 21-25)
We all experience brokenness in many ways. We want to pursue goodness, but we find ourselves warring against evil. It might be tempting to assume that because we do not personally struggle with same-sex attraction that we are off the hook for this discussion, but the fact of the matter is: we are all impacted by broken sexuality. We are broken because of what we have done, or because of what others have done to us. We are all impacted by sexual sin (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
The Bible teaches that human beings are impacted by broken sexuality any time when sex is practiced outside of God’s good design. Examples of broken sexuality include things like: sex before marriage, sex outside of the marriage covenant (adultery), use of pornography, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and rape. God cares deeply about our relationships with one another.
We need to remember that human beings are created in the image of God: humans are not disposable objects to be used for our personal pleasure at another person’s expense. God has a greater purpose for sexuality. We have all experienced sexual brokenness in one way or another. We all need healing and wholeness. We need to be reminded that our true identity is in Christ: we are forgiven, we are loved, we are being made whole by the power of the Holy Spirit.
God has a holy plan for our sexuality. Human sexuality is a good gift from God. At the moment of creation, God created human beings in his image; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26-27). Genesis 2:24 tells us, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” When God created sex, he designed it for one man and one woman united together in a covenant for life. This is God’s good design for our pleasure, for procreation, and for the promotion of healthy marriage relationships.
God exists in self-giving community in the very nature of the trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit live in perfect communion with one another. This is our model for human relationships in general, and for marriage in particular. We are called to care for each other and to serve one another in humility and love (see Philippians 2:1-11). What might this mean for our sexuality? What does it look like to love and serve each other with deference and humility when it comes to sex in the covenant of marriage?
This is God’s good and holy plan for sexuality, it is also true that most of us have experienced brokenness in the area of sexuality. Scripture is clear that God offers us forgiveness, cleansing, and healing, and this extends even to areas of sexual brokenness. The Holy Spirit is able to heal us, to restore us, to redeem us, and to make us new.
Thoughts for the Church
It is important for us to remember to have a sense of humility about other people’s sin struggles. We all should appreciate that no one stands at the door of our church with a clipboard to evaluate our worthiness to come in. All of us sin. We all need God’s grace and forgiveness. As a church, we know we can “draw near to God with [sincere hearts] and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water,” we can “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful,” and we should “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24-25). We are all broken, but God’s grace is enough. God is able to redeem our brokenness.
If you struggle with brokenness because of sexual sin, we would love to point you to places where you can experience forgiveness, healing, and wholeness. Check out our Care Group offerings here: https://chapelstreet.church/support/caregroups/. If you would like a referral for a well-qualified Christian counselor, please contact John Hoekenga, Director of Care Ministries, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions to Consider:
Standard discussion questions:
- What was new or compelling to you from this week’s reading?
- What did you learn about who God is from this week’s reading?
- What did you learn about us as human beings from this week’s reading?
- What did you learn about how God interacts with people from this week’s reading?
- How might this week’s reading change the way you live?
- What questions did you have about this week’s reading?
Discussion questions that are specific to this week’s reading:
- As a follower of Christ, what is true about your identity?
- Have you ever experienced the tension Paul describes in Romans 7?
- How would you define God’s good design for human sexuality?
- What can we learn about relationships from the trinity?
- What does it mean to have humility about the sin struggles of other people?
Director of Chapelstreet Groups