In photography, the basic elements in creating an image are subject and exposure. You cannot have only one; both are required. The way to identify a photographic image is to observe subject and exposure combined. See image.
Have you ever struggled with finding your identity and purpose in life? Have these been illusive concepts for you at times? Perhaps the dilemma is not in the questioning but rather in the unbiblical presuppositions that you have as to the nature of the answers to the question. If we, as believers in Christ, view identity and purpose from a secular world view, we will always be left confused and self-focused. If, however, we effectually embrace our calling from what the scripture teaches, we will be God-focused and will leave the entanglement of the foolish pursuit of self actualization behind.
In the book of Hebrews, the writer makes the argument that the two essential characteristics of the Lord, Jesus, are that He is both king and priest. This means that he is the sovereign God as well as the mediator between God and man. Jesus holds a dual office simultaneously. This teaching is critical to understanding the Gospel. If Christ is not both king and priest, we have no hope of salvation. This doctrine is dealt with in other portions of scripture. The Gospel of Matthew focuses on the kingship of Christ. The Gospel of Luke focuses on the priesthood of Christ. In addition, the Old Testament book of Zechariah made prophetic claims that describe this very teaching.
Zechariah 6:13, “Yes, it is He (Jesus) who will build the temple of the Lord, (the church) and He will bear the honor and sit and rule (king) on His throne, and the counsel of peace (priest) will be between the two offices. (king and priest)”
So what is the implication of all of this for the believer? Once we have established this Christology, what is next? What does the Bible then teach regarding our salvation?
Revelation 1:5b-6a, states, “To Him who loved us and released us from our sins by His blood—and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.”
Here, we see the answer. Every believer in Christ is called and placed into His kingdom; the church. This is our identity! And, every believer is made to be a priest to God. This is our purpose!
To be in the kingdom of God, we share in the inheritance and hope of all who are justified by the blood of Christ. To be priests of God, we share in the free access to God and in the call to be servants of Christ. Another way to see this is that we have received grace to be adopted into the kingdom of God and we produce works of faith as result of that truth!
Thus, the way to identify a true Christian is to observe their place in the church and the manifestation of their holiness in the Lord.
The secularist will insist that you must find yourself. “I had to believe in myself,” is the common refrain from those who talk about recent accomplishments. The production of a goal oriented lifestyle that adheres to the definitions of humanistic identity and purpose is the religion of many. Christians are free from these concerns. We no longer have to be bound by worldly ambitions. We no longer have to be held back in the blurry fog of “finding yourself.” Rather, in all you do, do all to the glory of Christ!
“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5