This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. 2 God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. 3 The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, 4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.[b] He is Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.
6 And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people.
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.Romans 1:1-7 (NLT)
Several times, I’ve met people who seemed to be going through an identity crisis. This seems most common at milestone years in one’s life, where one may feel the need to “find themselves.” Often, the person will look for contentment in things like Corvettes, boats, or something else with wheels. Perhaps they hope that their identity can be found in a new large house. Or, maybe, a new career that is so far out of their typical wheelhouse that the change seems outright bizarre. Or, in some extreme cases, the person may feel the need to “find themselves” by having an affair or even abandoning their family to live on an island in the Pacific.
I believe the church has been. in the midst of an identity crisis for many years. The church claims that God is the supreme focus but often acts in ways that make us go “hmm.” We forget that our identity has already been decided. We are the people of God, we are beloved, we are forgiven. We are children of God. I believe Paul’s greeting to the Romans is intended to remind the reader of who they are and of whose they are. Paul goes to great lengths to remind us that we belong to God and that God has already declared us His beloved. That’s who we are and that’s the message that God wants us. to pass along. Not only do we belong to God, others are claimed by God as well if they but believe. That’s our identity.
In a time when the church often acts like it doesn’t know whether it belongs to Jesus or to the world, let us claim our identity in Christ and Christ alone. Especially at the dawn of the Christmas season, let us renew our commitment to Christ and Christ only.