Who are you? Where do you find your identity? These are important questions. Questions most of us ask at one time or another. Who am I?
People look for identity in many places. Some turn to DNA samples and family trees. Some take a pilgrimage; others retreat in solitude. Some find identity in their work; others hop from job to job, searching for purpose. Some pour themselves into their families; others leave relationships hoping to “find myself.”
When some asks me who I am, I will probably tell them my name, occupation, where I grew up and attended school, a little about my family, and interests. From that information, you can begin to understand who I am and what’s important to me. Part of my identity is who I am as an individual, but much is derived from the people I’m a part of. You also gain a sense of my identity by what others say about me.
God’s Word has a lot to say about me as an individual. It tells me that God created me as both a physical and spiritual being. It is with my body and soul—i.e., my eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses—that I relate to God, to other people, and to this world. Not only does this give me a sense of identity; it also means that I am accountable to God.
God’s Word tells me that He created human beings in His image. In the fall into sin, we lost the ability to live by faith in God, in perfect love toward one another, and in a proper relationship to creation that was intended. However, we still possess unique dignity as the highest of God’s creatures.
God’s Word tells me that I am, by nature, a lost and condemned sinner. I was conceived and born in sin, and I have sinned in thought, word, and deed, by what I’ve done and by what I’ve left undone. But nevertheless, God chose to love me and show His grace and favor.
God’s Word tells me Jesus redeemed me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. That is more valuable than anything this world has to offer.
God’s Word also tells me that my salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit. I cannot rely on myself in any way for the assurance of my salvation—not my thoughts, feelings, words, or deeds. Toward this end, God put me in the Church where the Gospel is declared to me in the spoken Word, in Baptism, in the Absolution, and in the Lord’s Supper.
As members of the Body of Christ, we Christians still maintain our own identity even as we are united under one Head, Jesus Christ. We are not assimilated into the collective like the Borg in the Star Trek series. God places His triune name on us in Holy Baptism, but He knows and calls each one of us by our own name. God knows each of us so intimately that the very hairs on our head are numbered.
In Christ, we discover our true identity. It tells us who we are, where we come from, and best of all, Whose we are! We are God’s dear children, brothers and sister of Christ and in Christ. What could be better?