By Jeter Livingston
It has been said that every culture in the world asks the same questions; the answers to these questions come to make up the worldview of that culture, the way that this particular culture interprets the world around them. One of those questions is, “Who am I?”.
As we seek to build a culture here at Wellspring, that is a burning question for us, isn’t it? Who am I? Who are we? How we answer that will determine in large part how we will proceed as we build on what God has called us to do as Wellspring. As in all things, the answer to this question is found in the revealed Word of God.
In a well-known document called the Westminster Confession, the question was stated thus: What is the chief end of man? In today’s terms, it is “What is the chief end of humanity? The answer is given as follows: The chief end of humanity is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever!”
Who are we? Why, we are creatures created for the glory of God AND created to enjoy (live with, benefit from, serve with, find fulfillment in, et cetera) God forever! That is why we are created! That is why we exist! That is where we find all that we are longing for! Ephesians 2: 10, puts it this way: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV). (By the way, if you really want to know who you are, meditate on the entire book of Ephesians.)
We can briefly take apart this verse to help us understand who we are.
One, we are the handiwork of God. We are His creation. He made us, He sustains us, and very importantly, we are in His image. He imbued us with qualities of Himself. We are self-aware, we can think, we can create, we can plan. To be sure, these qualities, this image, was ruined by the Fall. But in Christ, through the point and process of sanctification, those qualities can be regained.
As created beings, we are not independent. We are not our own. We belong to the One who created us, and we have an obligation and a responsibility to follow His will, not our own. Joyful obedience and faith are the characteristics that mark the creature made in God’s image. And, all those things that human beings long for – love, acceptance, peace, meaning, joy and so on – are found in following the will of the Creator.
Two, we are created in Christ. Having just come off the Easter season, we all probably understand that it is in the Resurrected Christ that we have been reborn and the life that we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God. We regain the position for which humanity was originally created and which was lost in the Fall. As the Resurrected Christ is forever alive, so we in Him have eternal life. That is who we are: Those alive in Christ.
Three, we created to work. We are people with purpose. We are given good works to accomplish: proclamation in word and deed of Who God is, working alongside Him to fulfill His will, taking care of all aspects of His creation, bringing good news and healing to a fallen world that desperately needs it. And the list goes on.
It is not so much a person’s career that is important. Any career worth having is one in which these good works prepared by God can be accomplished. If they cannot, they are not worthy of the believer’s time and effort.
Note well that our standing with God is never based on doing these good works! It is forever based in the finished work of Christ. And because of Him we now get to, and are able to, do what God planned all along for us to do!
In this moment in history when there seems to be bad news on every hand, the Good News of Jesus should be being shouted out by His followers. So many today seem confused and ignorant about who they are and are franticly flailing about for an answer. Sadly, many who call themselves believers are among them.
Knowing who we are enables us to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. It brings contentment and fulfillment. What better gift can a parent give a child than to help them come to understand who God has made them to be. Whether we have biological children or spiritual children, let us be about helping them understand who God has created us to be.