Knowing Who We Are
Who are we? Pastor Eugene reminds us that our identity is found in our Creator.
Protestant Reformer John Calvin famously began his magnum opus, the Institutes of the Christian Religion, with this statement: “Nearly all the wisdom which we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” If rightly reverencing God is the beginning of wisdom, then it is also wise to know who we are in relation to Him.
The psalmist David understood this. Having seen divine majesty displayed in creation, David asks God in Psalm 8:4, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” This question is particularly pertinent in a pandemic.
In an article published over the weekend, Straits Times columnist Rohit Brijnath wrote: “Faith is being tested and human conceit is being punctured. For all our bragging about forecasts and algorithms, this virus has humbled us. We can't read the future, but we wish to exit the present. We're watching the corner of the TV screen and wishing the callous calculator that's measuring human lives lost—224,708, 224,709—would just, please, stop. We're a species not in control, and it's strange and a trifle scary.”
This crisis has indeed put us in our place and humbled us. So we can relate to David’s question: In the vastness of God’s universe and amid the impenetrable complexities of His sovereign purpose, who are we indeed? We seem so powerless, so vulnerable, so small and insignificant.
Yet we are not left to nihilistic despair, for we can know who God is and who we are in relation to Him. David’s question is hope-full, not hopeless. It expresses humility, wonder, amazement and praise. Our significance is not found in ourselves, our accomplishments or our circumstances; we are significant because God is mindful of us. He knows and cares for us. We are men and women made in His image, to know and enjoy Him forever. We are made to make much of God. Our identity is found in our Creator—to know Him is to truly know ourselves.
But we are also fallen in sin. We are rebels who have run from God. In turning away from Him, we have turned in on ourselves. We have sought to live self-dependent lives for our own glory. We have cut ourselves off from God and lost ourselves in the process. So we groan in sin and sorrow, in brokenness and suffering.
The hope of Psalm 8 is that God remains faithful, although we are faithless. Mankind has fallen far short of God’s glorious purposes, but God has sent the perfect Man—a new and better Adam—for us and for our salvation. He was “made for a little while lower than the heavenly beings”, but he has been “crowned with glory and honour”. Jesus came as a humble Servant, to lay down His life and ransom many from slavery to sin and death. Jesus obeyed His Father, in order to save disobedient humanity.
Through apparent weakness, Jesus has triumphed over sin and death. He has “established strength…to still the enemy and the avenger”. Jesus’ death is His glory, for God has exalted His Son as King forever and “put everything in subjection under his feet”.
Jesus, the resurrected King, lifts us out of the muck of our sin. By trusting in Him, we are forgiven and reconciled with the One who gives us true meaning, significance and identity. In Christ, we are becoming who God meant us to be. God’s image is being restored in us because we are being made new in the likeness of His Son, the perfect Man.
Jesus has gone ahead to prepare the way for us. One day, we shall completely share in His resurrection and glory. This is because of who we are: We are no longer our own; we now belong to Christ, and He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. We are a new creation, bought with the precious blood of our Lord and Saviour.
And we have a sure hope of glory. Therefore we can have confidence and certainty even in these anxious times, for we know who we are and who is the God who loves us in His Son.
At this Saturday’s Equip class (330-530pm, May 9), we will be focusing on the topic of our identity as men and women created in the image of God. Do join us to hear what the Bible has to say concerning the doctrine of man. The class will be conducted via Zoom.
This Sunday, we will be hearing from Luke 8:1-21 on the secret of soul sowing. May God help us to respond to His grace by receiving and sharing the gospel!
These are challenging days. If you need financial or family support, or know of anyone in the GBC community who needs help, please contact any of our pastors or write to email@example.com. As a family of faith, we want to provide practical love and care for one another. Please be assured that your request will be treated with sensitivity and discretion. For all other member care needs, please contact the member care team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also thankful for how God has called Desmond Soh to serve as pastor of Bethany Evangelical Free Church, beginning in July. Originally, we had planned to send Desmond and Wendy off at one of our worship services this month. However, due to the Covid-19 situation, we will do so at a later date. Desmond and Wendy have been an encouragement to many at GBC. Do pray that God will help them remain faithful and fruitful for the gospel.