Social progress and new ways of viewing wide diversity as a basic right of our humanity sound very positive. But there is also a lot of confusion. The new secular groups are persuading people to redefine themselves in various ways. In this context, there is room for a biblical Christian vision.
The call of the Christian is to follow Jesus Christ and not let the pressure of the world press us into the mold that he himself has formed. Yes, that is radical. But Jesus said that his disciples should be like a well-lit city on a hill, or even the light of the world, since they represented him in this dark world. But if the light of Christ is lost from his followers, there is a real sense that they have lost their way and stopped following him.
In this light, our identity as Christians must be sharpened and illuminated rather than muddied, diluted, or compromised by the pressures of confusing secular darkness.
With those thoughts let’s clarify what I mean when we define ourselves. We are focusing on the most prominent way we view our personal identity, the most central inner core of how we view ourselves.
Some people define themselves by their known family, their education, or their prestigious university. Others shape their identity around parenthood or a special relationship. Others become widely known as bloggers or authors associated with the title of a particular book. How do you see yourself?
Yes, there will surely be a multifaceted identity depending on the context in which we are thinking, but if we really belong to Christ, bought by his precious blood, then he is central. Jesus is the lord. He is from whom we receive our central identity as children of God.
However, if you have not yet put your trust in Christ and are still unsure of your identity, and you are not socially well integrated, this can be difficult. Some of the recent secular groups believe that it is their mission, for example, to tell the young, vulnerable or autistic person to transition from their current gender to another. As a result, many people who do not like their own body image or sexuality begin to think that a new gender will bring a wonderful change, such as an exciting journey into a new life. Unfortunately, there are accounts of young people who soon discovered that this was a journey into depressing confusion.
My Christian answer is that secular attempts to bring about a gender change do not result in the new life that was anticipated. The process is like a fake conversion, and anyone who seriously thinks that gender change or reassignment surgery will somehow give them a new life should carefully review their options.
At this point, you can challenge my own position and say: I am doing exactly the same kind of things, opening up hope for a new life, a new identity by Christian conversion, so who can say that Christian conversion is better than what comes out? secular?
Yes, that is a fair question. So here’s a short defense that I think is based on a secure foundation. The claims of Jesus are accessible. The gospel records are available for all to read. Jesus’ life and public death by crucifixion is the best known death in the world, and his bodily resurrection has many compelling evidence to support it.
All of these statements go together. The foundation of the good news of a new life in Christ is based on historical events. His claim to be the eternal Son of God conforms to his teaching and the signs given by God in the public ministry of Jesus confirm this. Jesus opened the eyes of the blind and touched and cleansed the outcast lepers. He forgave people their sins. His promises to give eternal life to all who trust him have been believed and verified in everyday life by millions of people. Today, this remains the only reliable message that offers forgiven sins and peace with God, through a Savior whom God raised on the third day.
The gospel of Christ has stood the test of time. We have nothing to hide. Check it out, look at his credentials in the New Testament Scriptures. See how they give a clear assessment of our condition in God’s eyes, that we are lost, hopeless, and separated from him by our rebellion against God. Then see the wonderful good news of God’s love in providing a Savior, who would replace us in his shameful death and bring the judgment of all who turn and put their trust in him.
So how do you define yourself? Is it because of secular beliefs that lack a basis for your individual worth and true meaning and leave you faltering in uncertainty? Or will you see that Jesus Christ is your life and that only he, in his death on the cross, has faced sinful rebellion against God from all who put their trust in him? When you are rescued from judgment by God’s unmerited favor, then you will know that ‘if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation.’ The old has passed; behold, the new has come ‘(2 Corinthians 5:17).
That really is the most wonderful way to see yourself!