I’m at the Exchange: The Truth & The Lie, a conference hosted by Truth Xchange and The Resurgence. Over the next few days I’ll be sharing my notes, but watching this clip from Mark Driscoll’s sermon, Jesus’ True Family, struck me as an appropriate note to kick off the event. In this video, Driscoll talks about how our identity determines our activity:
The transcript follows:
There is a parable told by Jesus, as well as a teaching moment that we’ll enjoy from him. And in both of these, he’s working from identity to activity. And this is the reverse of how religion and most people in our world work. In our world, including, sadly, in false-teaching churches and non-Christian religions, it is predicated on activity establishes identity. So you do something to become someone. In religion, this would be you have to give, you have to serve, you have to pray, you have to go to Mecca, so that God would find you pleasing in his sight. You have to reincarnate, you have to suffer, you have to go to purgatory, so that God would find you pleasing in his sight, so that you could be in a loving relationship, or at least a forgiving relationship with him. So activity creates identity.
The secular version is: you’re defined by your appearance, by your job, by your performance, by your status in life. So it’s whatever you do or accomplish that determines your identity.
In Christianity, it’s completely the opposite. Through the grace of God, and the work of Jesus, and the love of the Father, we receive an identity. And out of that identity, there is activity, not so that God would love us, but because he already has, not so that God would accept us, but because in Christ, he already does. So who we are determines what we do. It is not that what we do determines who we are. That’s the miracle of Christianity. And so as God commands us to activity, it is simply the outworking of our identity. He makes us someone so we can do some things.
And Jesus begins by telling it in this way. Luke 8:16–18, he says, “In the world, be a light.”
“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
This is a parable from the Lord Jesus, and he establishes for the Christian, us being in identity as light. So here’s the story that Jesus tells in parable form. The world is filled with darkness. Sin, temptation, lies, that it is filled with darkness. It doesn’t know God. It doesn’t love God. It doesn’t seek God. It doesn’t savor God. The world is darkness, and Jesus is the light of the world. That’s what he says elsewhere. And Jesus is our great God and savior, and he comes as light into the darkness of the world.
And Jesus, where there is sin, he exposes it. That’s part of the function of light. Where there is error, he illuminates it as being erroneous. That’s part of the function of light, is to expose and to illuminate where there is need. And Jesus dies for our sin, rises for our salvation, and he places in the child of God, in the Christian, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the presence of the light, and life, and love of God.
This absolutely, inextricably, eternally alters our identity. The Bible says it elsewhere that olds things have passed away, that all things are made new, that we’re made a new creation, a new person with a new identity in Christ.