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Who You Say I Am

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. ~ John 8:34-36

I’ll admit, I’m a fan of the movies featuring a person or a team overcoming adversity, beating the odds, and winning the medal or the title. Remember the Titans, Blindside, even The Mighty Ducks. Great movies in my opinion. Today I have a very specific scene from Miracle on my mind.

If you know the movie, you know that one of the coach’s biggest challenges was taking college aged hockey players from rival schools with old scores to settle and get them to work together as a single team representing the USA. At different times he would ask them who they played for and they would answer with their college team, unable to let go of their loyalty to their schools. As they played their first international game in preparation for the Olympic games, their lack of team identity became glaringly apparent.

Our song today is one which reminds us that we have to adjust and embrace a new identity ourselves.

This song is a declaration of who we are as saved and redeemed children of God. It clearly speaks of our new identity in Christ. And it does so in a way which has us walking away humming the melody and carrying that truth into the random moments of our lives.

Why is this truth so important? I think it is important because it is so easy for us to forget, or to know intellectually but not in our hearts.

Too often we see ourselves and live our lives as still enslaved to sin. The truth of being a child of God seems too good to be true for many of us when we look at all the times we have messed up in our lives. And so we slide back into the mindset which tells us we can’t possibly be a child of God, he can’t possibly love us as much as he says he does, we can’t possibly deserve to be fully forgiven. But the result of salvation is to be fully adopted into the family of God.

This past winter I did the work to be licensed for foster care and adoption. It was an eye opening experience into the many people involved in caring for at risk children and supporting struggling families. Again and again the message of reunification was clearly expressed to all of us taking the class. Why? Because no matter the trauma, that bond between a parent and a child is incredibly strong. No matter the struggles in their family, the kids still love their parents and still want their family to be together. You can be the greatest adoptive parents in the entire world, and most of these kids will still want some connection to their biological family.

It’s hard to feel like you truly belong in a new family. Most of us haven’t had the experience of being adopted, but I’m guessing many of those reading today have been married. Remember that first holiday with the in-laws. Or the first time you realized they thought THAT was a delicious food? Or what about the first time they offered advice on how to raise your kids? As much as you may (or may not) love your spouse’s family, there are undoubtedly times where you are reminded that they aren’t the family you grew up with.

One of the lies Satan tries to whisper in our ears on a regular basis is that we aren’t really fully a child of God. He tries to get us to believe we don’t deserve to be part of God’s family. But Jesus has set us free from sin allowing us to become a Child of God.

This was idea of being a slave to sin and finding freedom through Jesus was a shocking one to John’s audience. First of all, the Jewish people of the time never viewed themselves as slaves. They were subject to a foreign government, yes, but not slaves. At least, not in their minds. Why? Because they only acknowledge God as the one, true King. As William Barclay observes in his commentary on John, to suggest the Jewish people were slaves in any form was a huge insult to them. Nevertheless, here is Jesus telling them they are slaves to the sin in their lives and it is He alone as the Messiah who can free them, not their status as descendants of Abraham or the Jewish race.

Jesus’ message still applies to us today. He is still calling us to embrace his forgiveness and find freedom from sin. Jesus is still the way to being able to declare with confidence: Who the Son sets free, is free indeed, I’m a child of God, Yes I am!

Follow Up

  • Check out these verses which talk about being a child of God:

  • John 1:12-13

  • John 13:18

  • Romans 8:14-17

  • Galatians 3:26

  • Hebrews 9:15

  • What are you still a slave to in your life? What part of your sinful nature do you have trouble letting go of?

  • Several years ago a great YouTube video circulated talking to this issue of identity. Click below for the one that applies to you!

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