Untitled design-7

Dear Church,

If we do a simple Google search and type in the phrase, “what do you identify as?”  You will be shocked to get billions of hits.  Identity is how we define ourselves, and it clarifies our purpose in life. The contemporary view is we find our identity by looking inward. Most often this view equates identity with gender or sexuality, turning identity into self- permission with the freedom to be whoever we want to be or whoever we say that we are or feel that we are. It dehumanizes people from being an intelligently designed, unique, and beautiful image-bearer of God into a person who is the sum and substance of their base desires. Recently I came across something called the “The Oxford Safe Churches Project”.  This is a project in which students from Oxford University in London rated local churches based on how safe they are for LBGTQ people.  The students awarded scores for each church after analyzing their sermons, blogs, statement of faith, as well as speaking with members and attenders. They used traffic light systems, Red, Green and Yellow to categorize churches based on their acceptance of LBGTQ people.

Now possibly churches like ours will get a “red” because we hold to a biblical view on identity. Yes, we are compassionate towards sinners, and want to welcome all sinners into our midst and minister to those struggling with gender and sexuality issues, still we will get a “red” because we hold to a scriptural view, speaking scriptural truth about sin, and offering grace to sinners.  According to their scale, churches that receive a “green” light have “internalized a queer identity and a large number of LGBTQ+ people…lead the church.”

Now, what is the scriptural truth we proclaim about identity? Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” We read that Animals were made according to their kind, but humans were made in a class above all creation in the image of the trinitarian God. Genesis 1:27 expands this account: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created Him; male and female He created them.” It says “as male and female” he created them, their biological sex is separate and distinct. Our God made us in His image by design with distinct capacities and roles. With different reproductive organs, with different external anatomy and most importantly with the presence and absence of the “Y” chromosome. You cannot disconnect Gender identity from biology, what you feel about your body does not triumph over what God created, what you can see and touch. So, if someone “feeling” that they are born into a wrong body does not make it right they cannot be ‘affirmed’ as normal. There is a reason why the phrase “according to its kind” or “according to their kinds” is used 10 times in Genesis 1 to indicate there are separate species and genders which are distinct and different created by God. 

We are ALL products of a divine design, created in the designer’s image with dignity, value, worth and purpose.  So, we don’t have to “find” our identity, we don’t have to “work” hard to establish it- we are already worth infinitely more than what we can ask for because of who made us. If we have been confused about our identity it is time to come before Jesus. In Him we receive our real identity, which was confused because of the Fall. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 says we become someone we never were before but the way God intended us to be: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  The Gospel changes everything and gives us all a new beginning. Let us find our identity as the image bearer of God and become our true selves. 

Be Encouraged,
Mathews

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