Still talking about the book that I recommended on Monday. (You have bought a copy, right? Or reserved one from the library? Go do so!) It’s “Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches” by Russell D. Moore.
It’s practically a Christian buzz word or hot phrase these days to say “My identity is in Christ. That’s what matters. Nothing else.” I’m sure I’ve said it myself. But…confession time…I’ve never completely known what people mean by that, to be honest.
Do they mean that nothing else matters on earth?
Does it mean that no one should call them mom or dad or grandma or CEO or pastor because they don’t identify with that role? Should Phinehas grow up calling me Christian Jayme, not Mom? Should Jeff call me Christian Jayme, not ‘dear’?
Does it mean that they are confident in everything they do because they know that Jesus has their back?
Does it mean that it doesn’t matter what they do or what they say or what they don’t do or say?
What does it mean?!?
Mr. Moore talks about how the early Christians and Jews were in conflict over circumcision. The Jews had the rite of circumcision as a way of saying “We are God’s people.” If Gentiles could now be God’s people because of Jesus, didn’t they need to be circumcised too? What was the thing that would identify them? Without something, how would one ever know if they were in or out?
From the book:
The New Testament reminds … of our adoption so we’ll remember that we are here by the Spirit, not by the exertions of our flesh. Because we’ve been brought into an already-existing family, we ought not to be proud, as though we were here by family entitlement (Rom. 11:11-25). We’re here by grace.
But our adoption also shows us just how welcome we are here. This is not, after all, the first time, God has adopted. Too often we assume that the Gentiles are the “adopted” children of God, and the Jews are “natural-born” children. But Paul says that Israel was adopted too (Rom. 9:4) … Israel was an abandoned baby, wallowing in its own blood on the roadside (Ezek. 16:5)
…Circumcision answers the question, “Are you part of the family? Are the promises made to you? Are you in the covenant?” … It’s a lack of faith, a lack of repentance. If they are clinging to their identity in Christ, being found in him, then everything else is rubbish. Yes, we’re part of the family, but we don’t point to our own circumcised flesh to prove that; we point away from ourselves and to a circumcised, law-keeping, faithful, resurrected Messiah (Col. 2:11-13)
…We now come before God as sons bearing the very same Spirit as was poured out on the Lord Jesus at the Jordan River, a Spirit through which we cry “Abba!”
This means repentance. We recognize and know that we never could have found ourselves in this family “through the flesh” — whether that striving was through biblical circumcision or through pagan orgies or through modern self-absorption. Our identity is found in another – Jesus of Nazareth. (page 30-31)
So, it isn’t that nothing else matters at all. Other things matter. The roles that I have on this earth. The people in my life. It’s that nothing else is as defining as being a Christian. It’s that nothing else determines my eternal destiny. It’s that I don’t have to point to anything as proof of being a Christian. Other stuff is nice (good deeds, baptism, evangelism, being a wife, being a mom), but it isn’t the definition of me.
Read Full Post »