Some psychologists suggest that there is a critical formation of identity timeframe in American culture, usually adolescence. Young people who emerge from that time without a secure sense of their self-worth and a confidence that they are loved develop an “identity crisis.” From my perspective this is at epidemic levels.
Years ago I attended a conference led by Bill Gothard entitled “Basic Youth Conflicts”. He suggested that issues of adolescence that are not resolved with a Biblical world view will lead to serious adult problems. I think we see that in so many lives today in and out of the church family.
In 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, I believe that the apostle Paul lays out for us three truths that undergird our “identity.” First, he tells us in v. 14 that the love Jesus Christ has for us Secures our identity. The word is translated “controls” or “compels”, even “constrains.” But W.E. Vines tells us in his expository dictionary that the word literally means “secures”. When we know how much we are already loved by God and that it absolutely has no relationship to how loveable we are or are not, then our identity has a security that cannot be rocked. In fact, part of the problem is “self” identity. In Christ we are to “deny self” and we are then able to see from a “spiritual framework”.
Secondly, we discover in v. 17, that our Position in Christ Defines our Identity. When we are in Christ, we see that God sees us in Christ in such a way that we are already a new creation. We are not who and what we once were. Our past does not define us. Other people’s opinions do not define us. The voice of the enemy in our head does not define us. God’s Word defines us in truth. In Christ, we are new.
Finally, in v. 21 we discover that the price tag that God puts on us, Determines our Value. What we are worth is defined by what God was willing to pay to purchase us back from our slavery to sin. God equated us in value to the precious blood of Hiw only begotten Son. God made Jesus to be sin for us, even though He personally never knew sin, so that we might be made the righteousness of God.
Can you say, “WOW”? There is no room for an identity crisis in Christ.