Faith: Our true identity is found in Christ Jesus |

Faith: Our true identity is found in Christ Jesus

David Henderson

We hear a lot about identity these days — identity politics, racial identity, ethnic identity, gender identity, or that oft heard phrase, “I identify as … ” Identity plays a huge role in our lives, individually and corporately. While we are individual persons, we nevertheless live in communities, some large, some small, that contribute a great deal to our identity and how we perceive ourselves.

While this sense of identity, or belonging to a particular group or community is important and vital to our lives as human beings, it can also devolve into a divisive tribalism that can spiral into bigotry, hatred and even violence. We certainly witness a great deal of this in our time. This negative side of “identity” can only be overcome when there is a shared value or purpose that is high enough to transcend the differences that divide us. For example, our various political identities can be transcended by seeing ourselves as “Americans,” and sharing a healthy patriotism.

The real problem arises, however, when our so-called shared values or purpose aren’t lofty enough to bind us together. In other words, we rally around a purpose or cause that is too low-level to transcend our differences. We then find ourselves in conflict with everyone else who doesn’t share our very limited, particular allegiance.

The Bible tells us in the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. This is our true identity. God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, is above all and beyond all. He is our ultimate purpose. In Him, “we live and move and have our being.” He is above all other allegiances, no matter how worthy, no matter how precious they may be to us. When we place anything or anyone else above Him, we find our lives and relationships disordered. In a word, the Scriptures call this idolatry.

Our identities easily become idols that we erect, unconscious of the fact that we are building temples to our own selfish pride. We find ourselves divided because we worship different “gods,” whether they are political leaders, race or our desire to recreate ourselves in our own image. It is no wonder that it appears as if we are descending into greater and greater chaos.

St. Paul writes in Galatians 3:27-28 that “as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

St. Paul also writes in Colossians 2:9 that “in Him (Christ) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” In Jesus Christ, God has revealed Himself to us in His full divinity, and in taking on our full humanity, has also restored the image and likeness of God in man.

What this means for us is that our true identity is to be found in nothing other than our identity in Christ Jesus. When we discover that we are most fully who we are only in relationship with Him, all other “identities” dissolve, all other differences are overcome, all divisions healed. We become one with Him, and we find ourselves capable of being one with one another. All “identities,” all divisions are transcended by our unity in Christ. Without Him, we are not who we are created to be, and we
will never find unity with each other.

Fr. David Henderson is priest at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Christian Church in Craig. He can be reached at

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