Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Being myself (3)

My 'self' - my identity - is above (hidden with Christ) and ahead (waiting to be revealed at his coming).  Let's be clear: this is my real self, my real identity now, based on what Christ achieved then.  But it is still concealed, even from me, and pursued by faith in expectation that it will one day be given to me.

Whilst all of this might seem to open up an intolerable gulf between my experience of myself and my true self (although is it worse than the non-Christian's awareness of the gulf between who they are and who they want to be?), it also lays to rest any notion that overcoming this gulf might be my work.  It is not.  My true self is not something to be achieved, but something to be received.  Moreover, identity is not threatened by any of the things that might seem to stand against it - my own under-achievement, other people's scorn, or even death itself.  No, death is the gateway to resurrection, and therefore to my true self.  The only thing that can really threaten my identity is unbelief, since faith is the (subjective) link between me and my identity in Christ (as the Holy Spirit is the objective link).

So, there is a certain relaxation here.  But we need to be careful: it's not the relaxation of saying 'God loves me just the way I am'; it's the relaxation of saying 'God loves me in Christ and will bring me together as one person united in him'.

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