I am part of a group of guys who meet on Wednesday mornings at 6:00 a.m. to study the Bible, work out the implications of the gospel into our lives, and pray for each other. Today was particularly nourishing manna for my soul. We are going through “The Gospel-Centered Life” curriculum and are in chapter 3, “Believing the Gospel,” where the authors state:
“Our souls must become deeply rooted in the truth of the gospel so that we anchor our righteousness and identity in Jesus and not in ourselves. Specifically, the gospel promises of passive righteousness and adoption must become central to our thinking and living… By faith, we must cling to the gospel promise that we are adopted as God’s children (and that) Jesus’ righteousness has been credited to us apart from works (Rom. 4:4-8). We don’t need to do anything to secure God’s love and acceptance; Jesus has secured it for us.”
They go on, saying:
“At the root of all our visible sins lies the invisible struggle for righteousness and identity.”
That nails it for me. Just like Adam and Eve in their post-forbidden fruit eating condition, I struggle with issues of insecurity every day. I want to run and hide, too, or find some kind of fig leaf to cover up my guilt and shame. If I don’t run, I will fight for my name, my righteous identity that I need to protect. But what if I no longer had any name to protect; only a name to praise?
This is possible, because in the gospel, Jesus’ name is my glory, not my own. When I actively believe that, rather than run or fight, I can face the music of my sin and need, and better, hear the beautiful symphony of God’s grace, where Jesus’ imputed righteousness is celebrated as the end of the struggle in the fight for identity (Rom. 10:3). That is the song that I need to hear every day, lest I grow discouraged and lose hope.