What Do You Say About Yourself?

“So they said to him, ‘Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?'” (John 1:22 ESV)

In the John’s Gospel, John the Baptist was being asked who he was by the priests and Levites. With clarity, he told them who he is not–“I am not the Christ” (v. 20). But in verse 22, he answers them: “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

To be sure, John the Baptist was in a special, providential place. God used him as the instrument to introduce the Messiah to the world. That is the strict context. However, I think we should ask ourselves what the priests and Levites asked him: What do we say about ourselves?

By asking this question, I am not advocating for self-affirmations. That Joel Osteen-esque self-help mumbo-jumbo is prosperity theology nonsense. What I am advocating for is for Christians to know who we are in Christ. In a world full of people who don’t know who they are, Christians need to be confident in our identity as followers of Jesus Christ.

We are Justified

Society is saturated with individuals who stop at nothing to justify themselves—but never achieve it. We all crave self-justification and to know not only that what we do is right, but who we are is right. Around every nook and cranny is another person seeking justification from his or her peers.

Christians don’t have to do this. We have been justified in Christ! “Therefore, having been justified by faith,” the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 5:1, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The peace we receive through our justification squashes the need to look for justification elsewhere. And even better: we’re justified by faith. Romans 3:28 declares, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”

Christians didn’t earn justification. The faith we exercised to believe in Jesus Christ was a gift from God, so we may not boast in anything (Ephesians 2:8-9).

As the world continues to look for justification, may Christians be confident in our justification because we know it hinges on Christ—and He’ll never fail us.

We are in Christ

What do we say about ourselves? Our most fundamental reality now, after conversion, is that we are in union with Christ, the Son of God. That is marvelous!

Galatians 2:20 reads:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Everything we do, we do in Christ. We no longer identify with our flesh, but with Christ. Christ lives in us, through the Spirit. Though we fail, struggle, and misstep sometimes, our union with Christ is our identity.

We are God’s Children

Though culture loves to say we are all God’s children, that is simply not the case. Only those who have been saved by God, via adoption through the Holy Spirit, are children of God (Romans 8:15-17). And it is a massive privilege to be God’s child.

The late J.I. Packer said this:

Adoption is the highest privilege that the gospel offers: higher even than justification. Adoption is a family idea, conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as father. In adoption, God takes us into his family and fellowship— he establishes us as his children and heirs.

Knowing God, pgs. 206-207.

We must stand firm in our relationship with God as His children. And we must remember that our heavenly adoption was all of grace—we had nothing to do with it.

We are Ambassadors of God

In 2 Corinthians 5:20, the Apostle Paul writes,“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians‬ ‭5‬:‭20‬).

What do we say about ourselves? We are ambassadors of God, sent on His mission to proclaim the excellencies of Christ to a lost and dying world. It is our duty, our delight, to share the gospel with all people so they might be reconciled to God.

What Do We Say?

Friends, in a world filled with people who don’t know who they are, let’s be certain not only about who we are, but whose we are.

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