Who am I? To be honest, we all think about this question more than we might realize. We are constantly weighing and evaluating who we are – our status – within our various communities. Where do we fit in? Who are our friends? What clubs or organizations are we a part of? What is my job status? Is it secure or will I lose it? Do I feel fortunate to even have this job or do I feel like I am better than the job I have? Do people like me?
Who am I? On social media, we see pictures of friends and relatives vacationing in exotic, warm places in the middle of winter. We see people we know spending time with friends, laughing, celebrating, enjoying each other. Maybe those pictures are your own. Why do we post them for the world to see? Is it not at least a little bit to secure our status? Is there not an element of fear that others might think less of us than we would desire?
Who am I? What do others think about me? How do I fit in? Would I fit in better if I lose a little weight? What will it take to improve my status? Should I wear trendier clothes? Live in a nicer house? Learn to loosen up my language and swear a little bit? Let down my inhibitions and indulge a little? Judge a little less and love a little more?
Who am I? Our God created each one of us as little reflections of Him. In some real sense, we were created to bear His image. He created us to live in significant, meaningful human relationships and communities. More than that, He created us to be joyfully and deeply fulfilled by communities in relationships of love. Sometimes that’s romantic love. Sometimes that’s the love of friendships. Other times, it’s the love of family. But all of it is a reflection of the infinite, boundless love of our Creator.
Who am I? From Day 1, we have been fallen image-bearers who are in a rebellious war against that Creator. Our love comes from Him. Our community comes from Him. Our status comes from Him. But the hard truth is that we are hell-bent on finding or earning acceptable status in every place except where it can actually be found.
Who am I? Truth be told, I am a sinner. No human status, no social position, no ranking system will ever change that. In fact, the more we try to climb the social status ladder, the deeper into our sinful nature we are at risk of going. Sinners don’t seek after God, but after social status. Sinners don’t want to hear God’s Word, but human affirmations. Sinner’s don’t look for community as God has given it, but as man has perverted it.
Lent is a good time to reflect, and to think about these things. But we must also think about this: We are not just sinners who are trying to scrape together some sense of social status. No, we Christians also know that we have received the highest possible status from God Himself. We aren’t just sinners, we are saints!
All of us who have been brought by the Spirit into saving faith with Christ have a righteous, blameless standing before God. Covered with Christ’s righteousness, we are citizens of His Kingdom. We are adopted through Baptism as sons of daughters of God. We have secure, favored status as saints before God because we have received God’s full and complete forgiveness through faith in Christ. We have been lifted out of the gutter of human social status because Christ has fully paid for the guilt of our sin on the cross. Even though we once were nothing but guilty sinners, Christ has canceled our debt.
Who am I? I am a sinner, yes. But I am also a saint, because Jesus has made me to be one. A saint, yes, but a saint who is on bended knee praying the prayer of the faithful saint in this world: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”
Who am I? I am a saint by faith, but not by sight, because when we look at it, our faith is usually in the “needs improvement” category. Embarrasingly, we saints must admit that we don’t act very secure in Christ’s righteousness. We saints act like we must still work to improve our position according to some human standard. In this life, we saints are still sinners.
Who am I? I am at the same time, a sinner and a saint. Sinners and saints who cling to the cross of Jesus as we look to Him and trust in Him for our very lives.
Join us this Lent as we, simultaneously sinners and saints, look to the cross together, pondering His death, waiting to celebrate His Easter resurrection, and looking forward to His return on the Last Day.
Pastor Thomas Brown