|Posted on September 19, 2018 at 10:45 AM|
Do you believe in God? I’ve heard that question asked in various contexts my entire life. My response has always been in the affirmative since only a fool would deny the existence of a Higher Power, Creator, or some concept of God. But what exactly does it mean to believe in God? Are we just talking about belief in the existence of God? Or is there more to “believing in God” that includes developing a personal relationship that is mutually beneficial to us and God? Important as this question might be, it seems to me the more relevant question would be, “Does God believe in me?”
Our true identity as persons is not based on who we believe we are, but rather who God believes we are. Who we believe we are, our self-image, is developed through a combination of experiences including our own performance, the opinion of others, and our circumstances in life. This picture of our selves naturally changes over time and may be good, bad, or ugly depending on our unique set of experiences. A negative self-image can be devastating emotionally and relationally while a positive self-image helps us live a healthy and productive life. Who we really are, our real self-image, is determined by who God has made us to be. What God believes about us is revealed by who he has made us to be despite our performance, the opinion of others, and our circumstances in life.
Thankfully, we are not left to wonder what God believes, but have his revelation in both the “living Word” and the “written Word”. In a nutshell, what God believes about us is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. From the written Word we know God sent his only begotten son into the world not only to show us who God really is, but also to show us who we really are. The entrance of sin into the world through Adam’s transgression in the garden distorted the image of God in man by obscuring the likeness of God. Because of his redemptive work on the cross, however, God in Jesus, has reconciled the world to himself so that we may experience the reality of being created in the image and likeness of God. What God believes about us is that we are his children, “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ”.
Our union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection as expressed through the rite of baptism is the foundation of our identity based on what God believes about us. Our union in his death assures us that our natural, sinful persons were crucified. When Jesus died on the cross the natural, sinful persons we were as descendants of Adam died with him. Our burial with him assures us that the death of the old persons we were is complete for eternity. Never again will we be identified as the old persons we were. Being joined to his resurrection guarantees that we are brand-new persons “made alive in Christ” and able to “walk in newness of life” by the resurrection power of his indwelling Spirit.
In a very real sense what God believes about you is what he believes about Jesus. You are his beloved child in whom he is well pleased. You are secure in his love and significant in his eternal plan. You are no longer the same person you always thought you were, but a brand-new person in Christ. The important question now is simply do you believe what God believes about you? Faith in what God believes about us is the basis of our hope that frees us to love God and others. As the apostle John said, “We love God because he first loved us” and “whoever love God loves his brother”.