People keep talking about identity. Everyone seems to have a theory where they tell you who you are, how you're to act, and there's consequences for not doing it. C.R.T. is one of the big ones these days. Except, everyone coming up with that stuff are just people. Like you and I, they came into this world as helpless, nasty babies. Like you and I, they'll eventually take their acquired knowledge and skills about six feet into the ground. Who are they to tell us who we are and how we ought to live? How can any of us even know for sure?
Only God, our creator, knows who we are and why He made us that way. Only He has the authority to tell us how to live. What God's Word says about who we are starts with Him: why He made us, how, and what for. It ends with Jesus Christ bringing those He redeemed by His blood all together. Partly on Earth, fully in Heaven. I'll break it down.
"yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we live through him." (1 Corinthians 8:6)
"His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, who, when he had by himself purified us of our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3)
God spoke our universe into existence from nothing. Jesus Christ both created and sustains everything. We've never accomplished anything on our own: every second we breath is an act of grace by God. He so good that He makes it rain on the just and unjust alike. He created us to love and worship Him first, and love each other as ourselves. Our creator also owns us: what He decrees is law for us. We will be held accountable to Him for our actions. The consequences are eternal.
"The LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7)
"But now, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay and you our potter. We all are the work of your hand." (Isaiah 64:8)
God formed Adam from the dust. He formed Eve from Adam's rib. He describes Himself like a potter while we are the clay. He knitted us together in the womb. These are very, personal descriptions. He also says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Except for our sin, God loves each of us exactly as we are. We're His art.
"God said, "Let's make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them. God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (in Genesis 1)
We are made in the image of God. We're each able to reflect His character. Each of us do it in our own way with our own personalities, talents, and backgrounds. We're allowed to be stewards of the Earth. We're empowered to do either good or evil.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. Without him, nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it..." (in John 1)
"For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in every way that we are, but without committing any sin." (Hebrews 4:15)
"[Jesus said:] This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:40)
"Therefore, repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." (Acts 3:19)
He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Once separated from God, He eventually took flesh as Jesus Christ. We don't know what He looked like. Instead, He's described as full of grace and truth, obedient to God unto death, and having compassion on others. Jesus called all people to turn away from their sins (repent) and put their faith entirely in Him to be saved.
"But God gives proof of his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23)
"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
God demands justice for all sin. To satisfy justice, but save the sinners, Jesus Christ would lay down His life for us by taking our punishment Himself. The only innocent, good person to ever live. God's own chosen people tortured Him to death on a cross. Jesus was raised from the dead three days later. Christ now has all authority in Heaven and on Earth. His offer now goes out by people sharing His Gospel which His Spirit empowers to get results. Any who believes in it is forgiven of their sins, becomes an adopted son or daughter of God, and receives eternal life by Christ's works, not their own. We then live in obedience out of gratitude to our Savior. God proves once and for all the inherent worth of human beings by literally dying for all of them that would believe in and follow Him. God sacrificed His perfect Son to get each of us back. That's stunning.
"Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen." (Matt. 28:16-20)
"Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under the sky... When this sound was heard, the multitude came together and were bewildered, because everyone heard them speaking in his own language.
"This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matt. 24:14)
Before He ascended into Heaven, the Lord Jesus issued the Great Commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations... baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit... teaching them to observe everything I've commanded you. Jesus said He'd return when the Gospel reached all people groups. When the Holy Spirit came, people could finally understand each others' languages again so they'd all know the message and take it back home. The church started launching missions to get it everywhere. It's reached over 2,000 people groups so far. In terms of impact, God's Word is the most diverse and inclusive work ever made. The Church is for everyone to be a part of.
"In him you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your salvation—in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is a pledge of our inheritance, to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14)
"Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own" (1 Corinthians 6:19)
At Pentecost, disciples from many nations were gathered together. The received the Holy Spirit for the first time. All Christians at the first moment of faith in Christ receive the Spirit of God. He dwells in us. He starts changing us from inside out, convicts our hearts, guides us, and equips us for the mission. God stays closer to His children than anyone. He says nobody can snatch us out of His hand. It's insane to mock, oppress, harm, or kill a person who has God's own Spirit dwelling in them.
"For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that each one may receive according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil." (2 Corinthians 5:10)
"I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:11-15)
"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever." (1 Thessalonions 4:16-17)
Jesus will return to judge us for how we lived. First, He looks at who is with Him (has faith) and who is against Him (rejected the Gospel). Those who rejected Him are punished for their sins by being put in a lake of fire where the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. If you had faith, your sins are forgiven and you're judged with how well you stewarded the grace He gave you. Most believe we're given rewards based on the good we did. Others believe the reward is heaven itself with us simply trying to please God with our lives, not men. Either way, every thing you do here on Earth down to your thoughts counts for eternity. Nobody gets away with anything. Jesus will right every wrong.
"After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could count, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands." (Revelation 7:9)
"I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more. I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4)
Once we're all together, we celebrate the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The Book of Revelation, the ending of the Bible, paints a picture of all nations and peoples together in heaven. There's no more separation, intolerance, or hate. It's all love and unity by the power of God. We're all under Christ who is the perfect leader. We're all taken care of. We're all going to have a really, really, good time. Put your faith in Jesus Christ and start living for Him so we can see you at the party. :)
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