“Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.”John Owen
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”St. Paul, Romans 8:13
“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.”Andrew Murray
Who are you?
Modern people are experiencing an identity crisis. Not only are we confused about who we are, but also about what we are. What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to male or female? Do those categories really exist in an objective sense, or are they just social constructs? These are questions everyone seems to be asking in our modern age.
The Bible has provided assurance to many for centuries in regards to these questions. In its very first chapter, it offers an answer:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”Genesis 1:27
To be human, according to this passage, is to be an image, a symbolic representation, of our Creator. We are made to reflect Him in His wisdom, righteousness, and holiness, and by this means to take dominion over the earth for the glory of His name.
Further, as St. Paul explains, this creational pattern also establishes distinct natural roles for men and women that reflect the relationship of Christ Jesus the Son to God the Father (1 Cor 11:3). Therefore, our gender roles, assigned by God Himself (and not our own desires or preferences), are an additional part of our identity. God has thus commanded that any sexual relationship outside of the institution of marriage between one (biological) male and one (biological) female is a disruption of the natural order, and thus a grave sin (Rom. 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, 1 Tim. 1:9-11, Lev 20:13).
In our culture especially, “sexual orientation” is intrinsically linked to identity. But this flips the biblical concept of gender on its head, making it a self-assigned rather than divinely-assigned reality. The assumption is that a person’s psychological desires represent his or her real self, while any realities outside of his or her own mind are merely roadblocks that lie in the way of achieving full self-expression.
But the picture presented in the Bible is quite the opposite of this. Our real self is defined by God and His created order, into which we have been placed with an objective purpose. Therefore, any psychological desire that gets in the way of this goal is the true roadblock to truly being ourselves.
The Bible actually has a category for psychological desires that get in the way of our true created nature. It calls these desires “sin,” “lust,” “the desires of the flesh,” and “pride.” In fact, it says of our psychological desires, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9), and, “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).
So who are you? You are an image of God, created for the special purpose of reflecting His glory. You are made with an objective, divinely-ordained role that is in accordance with, rather than in contradiction to, His physical creation, including your body. Yet you are also corrupted by sin, which causes your heart to desire that which is contrary to your nature.
Who is God?
Since you are a sinner whose heart continually rejects God’s commands, you ought to be afraid. This is because God is wise, holy, and just.
By His Wisdom, He has created a glorious, bountiful creation for our joy and sustenance, and also revealed just laws, both generally to our consciences and specially through His people in the Holy Scriptures. But despite knowing what He commands and what actions He reveals to be wicked and destructive, we “not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Rom. 1:32).
Because of His holiness (His perfect nature which is unblemished by any sinful impurity), He cast all of sin-stained humanity out of His presence. If He had not done so, we would have been entirely consumed by the fire of His holy presence, which is His wrath toward sinners.
Because He is both holy and just, He must punish all sin and rid the world of all impurities before He can fill creation with His glory and put everything back in order. And there is coming a day when He will return to finally judge the world and bring it to its glorious intended destination.
But because of the immense riches of His grace and love toward the world, He did not simply wipe out humanity upon our first sin. Instead, He called a people out of the world by His grace and through their line provided all nations a Savior, His very own Son. The eternal Son of God, through Whom the world was created, was sent by God the Father to become man and save the world.
Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, took on human flesh to identify with us. He took the sins and sufferings of His people upon Himself, and took them to a Roman cross, where He was killed unjustly as a criminal by the very people He came to save. In His death on the cross, God displayed both His perfect justice and infinite grace by pouring out the fullness of His wrath toward sinful mankind onto His Son.
After three days, Jesus rose from the grave by the power of the Holy Spirit, defeating death, and appeared to hundreds of eye-witnesses. Then He ascended to heaven and took His seat at the right hand of the Father as ruler of all creation, and sent the Spirit to likewise raise us up from the grip of death.
Therefore, when anyone confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in his heart that the Father raised Him from the grave, the Holy Spirit will give him a new heart that will enable him to walk in His ways and put to death the desires of the flesh.
But for those who remain in their unbelief and continue in their sinful way of life, God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world by His Son, Christ Jesus. Thus, the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Psalm 95:7-8). And Christ came into the world preaching, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
God has revealed Himself in Christ Jesus, who lived, died, and rose again to reconcile sinners to Himself. By conquering death for the sake of the world, He has taken back His rightful Lordship over all the earth. He therefore sends His gospel to all people, that all nations will turn and praise His name.
So do not harden your hearts to the grace of God and thereby reject the life that is offered in Christ. Stop parading in celebration of your pride, but instead turn to Him and boast in His everlasting love, that you may have life and have it abundantly.
Pride kills, but the love of God kills pride.