The first sermon in the Relationships by God’s Design series was about identity. (Read the Synopsis here). Based on Galatians 2:15-21, we talked about how our primary identity is “in Christ,” and mysteriously, with “Christ in us.” We drew some immediate implications:
(1) identity is driven by external forces—we are caught up into Christ—rather than internal forces, which is the common refrain in 21st century Western culture
(2) we are justified by Christ, not by sexual ethics
(3) we cannot expect others to behave by Christian moral standards if they have not yet met Christ. The first goal is for them to know Christ and be “in Christ,” and then live from that identity
As you can see by the implications that were drawn out, this sermon was meant to be a foundation for the rest of the series. Our identity is not driven by our marital status (single, divorced, married, etc) or our sexual orientation. All that stuff is secondary compared the primary identity “in Christ.”
As this series has progressed and I have engaged in more and more Sure enough, I have had many conversations in which this topic has come up. It’s amazing how often we need to come back to this foundational truth.
That being the case, I want to reinforce it by reminding you of it. Please go back and review the synopsis of the first sermon (see here).
Also, I want to provide more resources on the modern distortion of identity. In some settings, you wouldn’t think this is a contested topic, but it is. Here are a few resources that will help you scrutinize the modern sense of identity and replace it with a more Christian sense:
First, from Alan Noble, the book You Are Not Your Own. Those familiar with the Heidelberg Catechism will recognize that Noble took the title from Q&A #1. What a perfect reminder of identity and where it comes from. In the book, he dissects all the modern assumptions about identity. For a great interview about this, check out this Holy Post podcast episode, starting at 31:35.
Second, from Carl Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. The subtitle of this book says it all: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution. For a great interview of Trueman about these identity issues, listen to this podcast or watch this video.