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THAT PROBING QUESTION OF IDENTITY:
LIKE A DECAYING TOOTH,
IT IS NOT SO MUCH THAT IT IS A HARD QUESTION,
BUT THAT IT TAKES SOMETHING TO FIX IT.
two basic cases for the persons of the human race who are aware of the
Gospel of Christ.
THE FIRST AND STRAIGHTFORWARD CASE
1. The person who is within Christ, the Redeemer, accepted by and because of Him, covered by His covenant, the Divine to the human.
In this case, the person is
1) a son or daughter, by adoption, of God.
2) a member of the commonwealth of heaven.
3) guaranteed a life in the presence of God, which nothing can or shall quench.
4) like children, given a place and a station appropriate, by the Father.
5) given a command to use talents, and to love.
6) given the facility to love, and to love truth, and to know it.
7) given a peace so profound that, like a vast South American forest, it goes on without a hint of stopping.
8) governed by God, inwardly resident by His Spirit.
9) free in this, that what is essentially desired is obtained, and what is not desired is forbidden; and
10) granted the privilege of battle, with victory the normative outcome, against the enemies such as "the flesh", residual sinful pull; the world - the glamorous but deceptive system which desires not truth but will, and the works of man; and the devil - the decidedly unglamorous but still for many, fascinating pretender to the throne of God, who loves to romp within the unhallowed hearts, like some sort of virus infection.
It is clear that such a person is an individual, though carefully complemented by others, whose first allegiance is to God, from whom all substance, spirit, reality and understanding is drawn both in substance and perspective, and moreover, dynamically, as one follows the way which is set forth by God.
THAT is the identity in this Christian person's case; and it has an inward and indeed intensively personal side, as expressed symbolically in Revelation 2:17:
"To him who
overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give
him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows
except him who receives it."
THE SECOND AND AWRY CASE
1. In this instance, the person, the individual is compromised, having no heart for the word of God, the salvation in Christ or membership in the family which God has created through Him.
2. This one is able to conform to some extent to worldly essences, autonomous desires, narcotic escape plans, for which physical drugs are merely a symptomatic expression, since the initial "drug" is psychic. However, while a persona, a mask, a form which meets some measure of approval from heart and mind of the 'wearer' of this position, or from others, or both, may be chosen, or even unconsciously adopted: yet it is still devious, or delinquent or deceptive, including the rank possibility of self-deception.
3. There is necessarily a tension in all this. The reason is this: the fact is that such a person OUGHT in nature, by construction, in psyche, by creation, in mind by knowledge to be in conscious keeping of God, while in spirit rejoicing in fellowship in a way of which the hunting dog and the owner are merely a distant but expressive example. Instead, however, that person is on his own, as if he had made himself; and worse, attributing in many cases his self to himself, or to some combination of himself and 'nature' or 'principles' or 'process', he makes a cocoon of fantasy of which the question might well be asked, and that with a good heart: WHO AM I ?
A. "I am a rebel from God, ignorant where I should be knowledgeable, irresponsible where I should be responsive, without the Lord where I should know Him, adapting and adopting such parts of the divine program as appeal to me, and taking these over as far as I may, and rejecting absolutely, to the extent anything absolute may be found in such a situation, whatever elements I do not like, or plan to keep.
B. "My person is the butt of forces not necessarily in keeping with my manner and style of life, and like someone playing chess without adequate plan, I am ever available for take-over bids, consciously recognised or manipulative, which may be mounted against me.
C. "To some of these I even consent, either not recognising them for what they are, or confused because of my authority, which I use, and my limits, which invade it,
It is not always easy to 'solve' an identity crisis, because of the incursion of a measure of deception, preferred or unconsciously clung to - like a drowning person hanging to a vine by a raging river-side. When one hides in the darkness, committed to the absence of light, either by intention or by implication, what light reveals is by the nature of the case, blurred or hidden.
Ostensible solutions range from
BUT WHAT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD THE GOSPEL ?
Those who look at this site, are unlikely to be in this condition for long; however a word on the topic may be to the point for some.
who have never heard the gospel are special in one regard, that their negative
response to the merciful covenant of God is not formulated,
and while in essence they belong to the non-believer category, the ultimate
end is less immediately defined, though the deserts of sin are not. That
final criterion in Christ, the desired mercy of the merciful God, has in
such cases not been exhibited on earth, namely the rejecting
of the advent in kindness of Christ (John 15:22-24, 3:19ff., Titus 2:11-3:8).
Foreknown to God are all His people before the world was (Ephesians 1:4,
Romans 8:29ff.), and in His own way and time, for Christ's sake, He secures
them, as He secures us all, by the Gospel without our input or aid as seems
to Him good.
(See The Kingdom of Heaven..., Ch.4.)
For the Christian,
on the other hand:
Identity is simple:
One is a child of an all-wise Father, whose creative powers included the fashioning of one's whole being, body, mind, spirit and soul (cf. SMR pp. 348ff.).
One waits on the Saviour for help in all internal struggles with evil, all external conflicts with it, and loves the good, the just and the true, finding in God the creative dynamic for living, which is parallel to the creative thrust in which His imagination made one in the first place.
There is the intensely satisfying reality that the ONE SOURCE is omni-competent and better than any or all others who have been, could be or will be.
Belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9, Luke 24:25-43, I Corinthians 15:1-19) means that death is no spectre, but a spectacle for His own developmental plans; and where that belief is absent, as the Bible declares, so is Christianity. The case is therefore both simple and straightforward.
(On the bodily resurrection
of Christ, see: BAB
BB Appendix IV, Ch. 15, Extended Endnote 2
The Magnificence of the Messiah, Endnote 1, SMR Ch.6, and Index; KH 9, Section 14,
On becoming a Christian, see That
Magnificent Rock, Ch. 2 Part
I and Ch.3, with Barbs,
Arrows and Balms, Ch. 14 and A Spiritual
Potpourri, Ch. 12, esp.
section III, Illustration. You may wish also to read in SMR, pp. 520ff.,
where a number of simple and clear-cut scriptures to the point appear and
are summarised for this purpose.