Who Does God Say That I Am?

woman shaped by PotterGod alone has the right to bestow my identity because “It is he who has made [me] and [I am] his” (Ps. 100:3). I am His creation (Gen. 1:27). All people were created in God’s image, not the image of animals. God is holy, not sexual, sensual, or captive to instincts. God says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16).

But the Fall into sin introduced horrible corruption to the human race, so that now the thoughts and desires of people are sinful and centered on serving the self (Gen. 6:5; Eph. 2:3). Christians, however, have been given the Holy Spirit who begins in them a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15), and starts to re-form the image of God in them (Col. 3:10). All of us struggle with our sinful human nature because we are sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, but we are not bound to that human nature because of the washing and renewal of our Baptism (Tit. 3:5-8). In my Baptism, Jesus Christ restored my identity as an “heir” of eternal life. I am strengthened to “abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against [my] soul” (1 Pet. 2:11). Re-creation in Christ makes me God’s adopted child who is invited to cry “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15).

My body is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” bought at great price (1 Cor. 6:19). I am a treasure of God for whom Jesus gave all He had. In Christ crucified, I reclaim my identity. Since Jesus is holy, God declares me holy through faith in Him. “I have called you by name,” God says. “You are mine” (Isa. 43:1). “‘I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:18). Jesus spoke to my full person and human identity when He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mk. 12:30).

I hold to a body-soul anthropology or understanding of the origin, nature and destiny of mankind as expressed in the Athanasian Creed. I believe I will be resurrected, not as a disembodied spirit, but with a perfect body joined with a perfect soul. In heaven, I will not be an angel but my resurrected body will be like that of angels (Matt. 22:30). I will neither marry nor be given in marriage. This is a sound argument against the idea that human beings are fundamentally “sexual”. If that were true, in the resurrection I would be somehow less than human.

Adapted from
The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon)

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