I'm sure you know someone who has been impacted by dementia.
It's heartbreaking and exhausting. When a person loses their memory to such a significant degree, they become a danger to themselves and require constant care from others.
While the biochemical condition is something to weep over - and we should long for the day when sin no longer ravages the body - there's a deeper and more dangerous spiritual version of memory loss that you and I battle every day.
I call it identity amnesia.
Our brains may be fully capable, but our hearts tend to forget who the Bible says we are. Why is that important? Because the identity we assign ourselves will impact everything we think, say, and do in this life.
There are two core identities that we must always remember.
We Are Born As Sinners
David says, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5). The easy part is accepting that theological truth.
The hard part is actually living like our biggest problem in life exists inside of us, not outside of us.
Because we forget who we are as sinners, we tend to:
- Point the finger of blame too quickly, rather than examine our own flaws
- Ignore loving criticism, confrontation or rebuke, designed by God to protect us from ourselves
- Underestimate our potential for temptation and let our guard down too easily
- Not reach out for help from God and from the body of Christ as often as we should
That's a lot of bad news, isn't it? But we have to start here, because good news isn't good unless we first accept the bad news!
Here's the good news:
We Are Born Again As Children Of Grace
Grace first and foremost forgives us of our sin, then promises us eternal life. But it does more. so much more.
By divine power, grace transforms us into the likeness of Jesus Christ, right here, right now.
As children of God, you and I are no longer defined by our identity as sinners. While sin still remains, we have new potential to respond, desire, love, and serve in supernatural ways.
Over the next two weeks, I will write to you more about our identity as sinners and children of grace. But my word count is quickly approaching, so I will end with a quote from Tim Keller:
"The gospel says you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe, but more accepted and loved than you ever dared hope."
In one summarizing sentence, that's our biblical identity.
Don't forget the reality that accompanies the bad news, and don't forget all the benefits that accompany the good news.
When you remember who you are, you'll experience the fullness of the Christian life.
- Which of the four examples from the "identity as sinners" characteristics are you currently struggling with the most? (Or, come up with your own.)
- Discuss one area of your life where you have grown in the likeness of Jesus Christ in the past year. Celebrate God's transforming power in your life!
- What is one "benefit" of being a child of grace that you are not taking advantage of as much as you should?
- How can you use these two biblical identities to share the gospel with someone this week? Who do you have a relationship with (that does not yet have a relationship with the Lord) who needs to hear this truth?