On more than one occasion, we have written or spoken on the two questions that Jesus asked His disciples when they came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi. He asked first, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matt. 16:13). After receiving several views of the people, He then asked them, “But whom say ye that I am?” (Matt. 16:15), to which Peter answered that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God.
The emphasis put on those two questions has often been that each individual must personally come to the true understanding of who Jesus Christ is. This is so important that one will tend to go ahead again with yet another lesson on this subject. However, we wish to focus in another direction in this brief article. Our question is one that many may have hear in the theme song for the television program, “CSI”. The question is, “who are you?” Our title words the question, “just who do you think you are?”.
Many times in my life, I have both asked and been asked that question, usually jokingly, as if someone was expecting something greater than their status warranted. Yet, in the realm of Christianity, it would do us well to ask ourselves this very question. After all, the inspired word of God tells us to, “Examine yourselves…” (II Cor. 13:5). We have seen people who thought too little of themselves and those who thought too much of themselves. Both can be extremely harmful to our spiritual success. So, who are we anyway?
It might be good to start with the fact that we are a being created by God, but unlike the other animals upon the earth, we are of a twofold nature, both physical as well as spiritual. When God spoke of the creation of man, He said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Gen. 1:26). “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27).
We certainly are not made in the physical image of God, for God is a Spirit (John 4:24). It is that we have a spirit as God is Spirit that we are in the image of God. Solomon said that upon death, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecc. 12:7). This part of who we are should guard against us ever thinking too little of ourselves, for we have been make by God to be superior to all others of His creation, having an eternal spirit that will live on after this physical life is over.
However, it should also tend to guard against our thinking too highly of ourselves as well, for we are physical beings that will die as do others and will also fall short of the desires of God in many ways. Paul warned, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…” (Rom. 12:3).
A second important part of the answer of who we are, already alluded to in the last paragraph, is that “we are sinners”. As created beings, we have a responsibility to be in subjection to and obedient to He who created us. A failure to obey God’s word is called sin.
John wrote, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). This sin will separate us from God. The prophet Isaiah said, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2). Paul wrote that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
Therefore, it is not a good thing to be a sinner. However, numerous times the word of God informs us we are indeed sinners. The sweet psalmist of Israel, David, wrote of God looking down from heaven to man and saying, “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3). Paul wrote, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The apostle John, writing to Christians stated, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:8, 10).
Though there are many other answers to the question of just who we are, space will permit just one more and an important one it is. We are they whom God has loved so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross, paying the price of those deadly sins, redeeming us and delivering us from the eternal damnation that was due us as sinners. Paul wrote, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
He told Timothy, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the word to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (I Tim. 1:15). The Lord Himself stated, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Having been given the one thing that made us different than all the other creatures created by God, the eternal spiritual part of man, we were also therefore given the freedom of choice.
God has provided the means of salvation forsee just the highest of His creations here on earth, but it is up to each and every one of us to examine ourselves and who we will be, one of the saved or one of the lost (Josh. 24:15). (Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.