Most people today are concerned with the question of who they really are. Knowing who you are is the key to knowing your identity in this world, which is the foundation of self worth and self esteem. But most people’s concept of their identity is incomplete and is based on false assumptions and feelings. Accordingly, their sense of identity changes often, altering their course through life like a ship without a rudder. To understand who you are, you first have to understand what you are. Ultimately the what controls the who. Let’s start at the logical place, the beginning.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, created plants, animals and He created people. Human beings were created, not evolved. Science has never disproved creation, though not for a lack of trying. Mankind is the only thing on earth that God created in His image (Genesis 1:27-28: 9:6; 11:7-8; Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6). The phrase image of God has several layers of meaning. First, it means that we are spirit beings that have bodies for the short period of our life spans like God is a Spirit who had a body in the form of Jesus Christ for about 33 years. God is eternal. He has always existed and will always exist into the future. We are eternal spirit beings from conception into the future. We have not always existed, but we will continue on into eternity even after our earthly body dies. God created the human body from the dust of the earth, so our bodies are the quintessence of dirt. That isn’t very complimentary, is it, to say our bodies are the highest form of dirt! But it’s true. The human body is made of iron, zinc and other metals and minerals found in the earth.
Also, we are in the image of God because we have the ability to reason, distinguish right from wrong and have God-consciousness. Animals don’t have those abilities. Only people and God have those attributes.
God is a Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one being. He is not three gods. And we each are one spirit being composed of two parts, the soul and God-given spirit. Soul in biblical Hebrew means “creature that has life”. In that respect only we are like animals, as they also have a life force. People alone have a God-given spirit. The soul and spirit of mankind are used almost interchangeably throughout the Bible, but they are distinct from each other (Hebrews 4:12). Notice that Adam and Eve were not created completely in the image of God, and their natural descendants up to today are not completely in the image of God. God is a Trinity while man is only soul and spirit. This will be important later in this post.
God put Adam and Eve in the middle of a paradise. they had everything they needed in abundance. All they had to do was take care of the garden and follow one simple rule, don’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. That was easy enough for them to do. The prohibition should have been enough. Up to this point Adam and Eve had no concept of right or wrong. They were both naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25). Where there is no knowledge of good or evil responsibility and accountability are not imputed by God. Their eating of the forbidden fruit enabled them to understand good and evil and this ability became part of the human spiritual DNA. Man became forever separated from God. He is perfect and cannot commune with sinful people, which is all of us. Adam and Eve permanently separated God’s most loved creation from Him by giving us the knowledge of sin. Basically, sin is anything contrary to God’s will for us, including murder, robbery, having false idols like money and possessions, jealousy and “tell them I’m not home”. Being guilty of one is the same as being guilty of all sins because whatever we do outside of God’s will–even just once–separates us from Him. There is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to restore us into God’s grace (Ephesians 2: 8,9).
If you are not a Christian what you are is an eternal being of soul and spirit. You understand yourself to be just one being, but in reality you are two in one. You are eternally separated form God. I saw two signs on a Florida sign post once. The top sign pointed left and said “Beaches”. The bottom sign pointed right and said “One Way”: You can’t get there from here. And you can’t get to heaven because you are missing the all-important third part of the human trinity that God has intended us to have since before the foundation of the world, that remedies our alienation from Him. That third part is Jesus Christ. Jesus prayed before His arrest for “those who believe in Me to be one just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You; that they may also be one in Us…I in them and You in Me” (John 17:20-21).
Fortunately, God calls many people. He gives them the ability to feel that something is missing from their lives, and to seek Him. He is inviting you or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. The Apostle Paul, who wrote over half of the New Testament, was also such a person. He was a Pharisee who actively persecuted Christians for their faith. He ignored Christ’s call many times before Jesus confronted him on the road to Damascus. Jesus told him it was hard for him to fight against His call. (Acts 9:3-5). Jesus is calling you now. It would be wise for you to accept His invitation, because the most important decision you will make in your life is where you will spend eternity. Eternity never stops. It’s never over with. Things don’t get better or worse tomorrow or the next day because there is no time in eternity. Which you choose in this life, to be with God or without him, is permanent. Stephen Hawking died believing that science made God unnecessary and there is no heaven. Certainly he changed his mind when confronted by Christ. But then it was too late.
Being without Christ, you cannot understand the wonders and joy of living the Christian life. I can’t adequately communicate that to you and no one else can. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, the unsaved are like a slum child who chooses to continue making mud pies because she can’t comprehend the wonders and joy of a weekend at Disneyland. It’s beyond her experience. The only way to know what the true Christian life is like is to live it. It’s too late for Stephen Hawking: It’s not too late for you. You can still make a decision for Christ.
A Christian’s identity is in Christ. It’s not in the world. Christians are in the world, for the world, but not of the world. That is, a Christian is in the world for a little while to do God’s will for him or her. It doesn’t matter if a person is a doctor, mechanic, lawyer, ditch digger, police officer, waitress, butcher, baker or candle-stick maker. They can do any and all things God has planned for them to do through Christ (Philippians 4:13). So, if God is for you, who could possibly prevail against you? Jesus told His disciples that as long as He was in the world He was the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5). After His resurrection, the disciples and now Christians are the light of the world because His light shines out from within us (Matthew 5:14-16). Jesus wants His light to shine out from within you. Like Paul, it’s time you accepted His invitation.