In a recent film, one of the characters was musing on super heroes and their alter egos – their other identities. Spiderman, for example, is Peter Parker, and Superman is Clark Kent. But there is a major difference between them.
Peter Parker was an ordinary guy until he was bitten by a radioactive spider and acquired some of its powers. He became Spiderman – but his true identity is really Peter Parker.
Superman, however, was born a superman on the planet Krypton. All his powers are natural to him. Clark Kent is the identity he assumes so he can mingle with ordinary human beings. His true identity is really Superman.
And what about the rest of us? Here we are, ordinary human beings, flawed and struggling. Sometimes we rise above ourselves and can do great things. There are countless stories of people who have dedicated their lives to alleviating suffering or caring for others. There are superb teachers and doctors who deserve our praise and thanks. But no matter what great things they do, their true identity is human beings, and they can never be anything else.
But when we give our lives to Jesus Christ, something amazing happens. The Bible tells us that we are a new creation – the old has gone, the new has come (2 Cor.5: 17). So what happens to our old self? Are we like Spiderman in that we are still Peter Parker but now we have special powers to do things that ordinary human beings cannot do? Some might think so. But God is not in the business of patching up or refurbishing our old lives. We are born again. And what are we born as? “To all who believed in his name he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1: 12).
Our very nature changes. We once were in Adam, that is identified with Adam. Now we are in Christ, that is identified with Christ. We are now new creatures, sons of God. We are like Superman, who dresses as Clark Kent to mix with ordinary people, but is extraordinary in reality. We may still look like ordinary people, but we are not. What a shame that so many of us don’t quite believe it and carry on living like before, carry on expecting things to be like before, but maybe with an extra bit of help.
Do you know your real identity? Do you live every day knowing you are a son of God and that he has given you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)? Would it make a difference if you did?
Inventing the Individual: Book Review
4 months ago