Identity and identities

The identity of the Christian is in Christ. A dedicated communist will find his meaning in Karl Marx and his works, a Nazi in Hitler. The Christian will find that (unlike these two examples) serving Christ brings freedom. That is because the Christian has actually died and been resurrected anew, in his or her core identity (Colossians 3:2-5, Romans 6:3-12). When it does not feel like it, that is the old outward self clinging on to life. This old self is not to be healed, but put to death.

A discussion arose in the first churches paralleling that in western society today about ‘white privilege’, except that the issue was ‘Jewish privilege’. The question was settled by Paul, much of whose writing is concerned to hold Jew and gentile together in the church. He told the Galatians (3:28) that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek. For internal matters, the church must be colour-blind. The house meetings of Church 14-26 mean there is no question of dedicated pews for differing races, social classes, etc.

It is fine to be a British Christian, black Christian, Labour or Conservative (US: Democrat or Republican) Christian, etc – but Christian must be the noun and everything else adjectives, because identity in Christ is primary; one cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Every Christian is in a privileged position to introduce to Christ people having the same subsidiary identity as themselves.

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