Reflections – 2018.09
Who Am I? (Part II)
In last month’s article, we considered Moses’ question, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” And I suggested that the disciples might have said something similar when they were given the Great Commission – “Who are we to make disciples of all nations?” The LORD’s answer was meant to bring comfort: “I will be with you” or “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
As people, who we are cannot be separated from who the LORD is and what He is doing. There is a sense where this is true for all mankind. All of His creatures relate to Him as those who are beneficiaries of His common grace, receiving food, clothing, shelter and all gifts from His hand. But for the Christian, the awareness of that relationship is heightened, because His grace has been shown to us not only in the common ways, but in our salvation. And once we know His salvation, it becomes evident that His presence with us is what defines us (we are His people / He is our God) … We are people who “live by the Spirit”, who call Jesus Christ “our LORD” and who joyfully can call God “our Father” … Our identity is so tied in to who Jesus is and what He has done that it is hard for us to imagine a life outside of a relationship with God.
When we meet people who are not only imagining, but seeking to live a life outside of a relationship with God, one of the things which is always apparent is that the “Who am I?” question still has to be answered. People will seek to find their identities in a wide variety of ways, and wherever a person lands with respect to this exercise, is always an identity that is outside of God’s design. Culturally, one of the areas in which people in their struggle to understand who they are have come up with a solution that rejects God’s design is in the whole area of transgenderism. As there seems to be a growing pressure to basically let people be what they want gender-wise, it seems that the Church ought to at least know why gender matters in God’s design for creation and for mankind in general.
I spent some time this summer with our college and early 20s group discussing this topic, along with the related issue of homosexuality. We had some good discussions and I believe the time was fruitful. I want to recommend to you two books I read as I prepared for this time with our young adults:
What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung
God and the Transgender Debate by Andrew Walker
Both of these books spend time engaging with the Scripture’s teaching on gender, on sexuality, on identity. Both of these books are worth reading. I am happy to let you borrow my copy of either. In some ways, even as our culture changes, people still deal with the same kinds of struggles. The “answer” brought forward, however, by those who would normalize homosexual and transgender behaviors is not a good answer. The Gospel, however, is the good answer … and we have that by God’s grace to give to a struggling world … maybe this “new” world of gender fluidity is a little intimidating to you? Maybe you are asking, “Who am I to make disciples of people who are asking ‘Who am I’” and coming up with strange answers?” The answer to your Great Commission “Who am I?” question is the same and it will always be the same: The LORD says, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”