We’re often told that we can define our identity by what we feel – but where does the Bible say our identity comes from?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Thinking Biblically about identity

The Bible teaches that in the beginning God created human beings, male and female in His image [1]. Jesus repeated this when He was talking to some religious leaders, what He said is recorded in Matthew 19:4.

He answered, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female…

Matthew 19:4

It should not surprise us that since God is Father, Son and Spirit, He should also make humans diverse, that is male and female, equal but different, and made up of body, mind and spirit. The fact that God Himself took on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ shows that He is concerned not only about our spirits, but about our bodies and emotions as well.

Spoiled by sin

Sadly, human beings sinned against God and many things became disordered. These things included our relationship with God, our relationships with other humans, and both physical and mental illness and death became part of our lives. God gave instructions about the way we should live that underlined the differences between men and women, but sadly we tend to think we know better, and some of these differences have been ignored or even abused. We have in many ways, over the years, looked for ways of expressing our identity which were different from the way God has created us.

Redeemed by Jesus

God did not leave us in confusion but came in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life on our behalf, took the penalty of our sin Himself on the cross and so made it possible for our relationship with God to be restored. He also sent His Spirit to live in those who have experienced that restored relationship giving them a new identity in Jesus Christ. This makes us free (whatever has happened in the past) to be the person God created us to be. For some this will be a more difficult path than for others, but this does not change our identity in Christ. Jesus did not promise that following Him in this world would always be easy. But if we make Jesus number one in our lives, we can know His healing power and the power of God’s Spirit living in us and overcome difficult areas one by one.

As Christians in the western world, we live in a society where we are taught that we can define who we feel we are and do more or less what we like with minimal moral constraints, certainly in areas of personal identity and sexuality. This is not what the Bible teaches.

The future

One day in heaven the struggles will end and God will restore everything that was lost because of sin [2]. In the meantime, let’s press on, thanking God for who He has made us and offering God’s grace and pastoral care to friends who are struggling.

  1. Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
  2. Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”