“Cogito Ergo Sum” is a philosophical statement coined in the 1600’s by Rene Descartes. “I think, therefore, I am” is that philosophical statement that has shaped the identities of humans for centuries. But our identities are much more complicated than what can be defined by this profound philosophical declaration. As true as this statement may be, the gospel informs us that we are so very much more than we think we are.
We see ourselves defined by gender, body type, and intellect - all biological as well as physical factors. Our environment shapes our identities and our professions. Our failures can shape our identities. Even our emotions, how we feel about life, can shape our identities. All of these factors, however, revolve around how we “think” about ourselves—how we see ourselves.
In the world we live in, where voices that are not our own fashion how we see ourselves, beyond bizarre in our day, we need to hear what the Apostle Paul has to say about who we are. For those who trust in Christ, the world must not be allowed to hijack our identities. How do we keep this from happening? To allow the truth of a Creator-defined identity to work its way through our entire beings is crucial. It is an identity not defined by other external voices, nor is it subject to the classification of our own internal cries. It is an identity crafted by the knowledge, by the belief, that those who belong to God by grace through faith are “in Christ.”
For the next few weeks, we are going to look at one of the most challenging, dare I say intimidating, passages of scripture to teach. I believe this to be true so much that I have never taught on it before. And yet it is in Romans 6 that we discover what it means to have a new identity as well as a new location for living. It is only when we discover who we truly are that we can experience what it means to live consistently with that reality.
Before we can ever talk about what it means to grow in victory over sinful habits that lead to death—the death of relationships, careers, and our lives as we know them — we must come to terms with what it means to live as an entirely new person. As a believer joined together with Christ, who you were is not who you are—whether you feel that way or not. It is essential that we settle this doctrine deep within our minds, or we will never understand who we really are inside this perfect union.