“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” – Revelation 1:17-18.

The book of Revelation opens with the apostle John exiled to the island of Patmos. “It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast.” As he turned to see who had spoken, he beheld the Lord and was terrified and fell toward the Lord’s feet. Christ sought to comfort him in verses 17-18. Focus on one statement in that passage: “the first and the last.”

Jesus emphasized the reality of His eternal being again and again. He is, was, and always will be God the Son. All things begin with Him, all things end with Him, He is all and in all, He is timeless, He is from everlasting to everlasting, from eternity to eternity.

We are Christians first and last which is a clear statement about our identity. The identity is stated clearly. It does not say that I am a father first, or a businesswoman first. In Christ, we find our identity. We are no longer defined by our past mistakes, our failures, or our insecurities. Instead, we are defined by His love for us. We are His beloved children, and He has a perfect plan for our lives.

When you see yourself as Christ sees you, others may begin to see you that way too. If you are steady and secure in your identity in Him, your actions, speech, and life will express God’s love. You may find more opportunities to love others and Christ will be all the more glorified.

How can you do that? You just remember how God has loved you in all your imperfect, rebellious, stubborn, and challenging ways. God pursued you and put His love upon you despite those things. The Lord would call you to pursue others, set your love upon them, and forgive them when they sin against you and hurt you. When you practice these things, you will know what it means to live in harmony with God and people.

Having an understanding of our identity in Christ means you will never have to work to fit in or be someone you’re not.  Jesus has rescued you, redeemed you, and brought you into His family forever. God has the answer to our identity issues. It is all about who He is and what He can accomplish in our lives if we let Him. In all things, at all times, He is with us.  Every problem, every feeling of inadequacy, every painful circumstance- He is there with abundant resources to offer us. His love for us is truly unconditional, for once we have our identity in Christ, we become who we really are: Children of God.

Jesus called us to identify with Him.  Follow Him. Serve Him. Belong to Him. In doing so, we are choosing to find our identity in Him and in no other.

Discussion Questions:

  1. The only way we grow in our identity in Christ is by seeking the Lord because He is the one who restores and transforms us. Agree or disagree and why?
  2. Our fingerprints identify us as unique individuals with specific identities. According to Ephesians 1:4, what truth should be fully realized in order to find identity in Christ?

The Attributes Of God – God Never Changes

What are God’s attributes? Each Friday we will look at an attribute of God. This week, God never changes.  The Bible clearly tells us that God is unchanging. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)  Malachi 3:6 says, “I am the Lord, and I do not change…” While everything around us is changing, we can depend on God continually showing us His grace, love, and compassion. All our material possessions may blow away, but God is still there.

“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” –  Psalm 90:2

Just think about that for a moment. How many friends have you had and lost or become distant from over the years because you just “grew apart?” It’s because one of you changed. But God never changes. 

God is unchanging in His existence. There has never been a time when God was not. There will never be a time when He will cease to be. Psalm 102:27 says, “But you are always the same; you will live forever.” All that He is today, He has always been, and forever will be. He cannot improve for the better, because He is already perfect. His power can never diminish and His glory will never fade. His existence never changes.

His Mercy is unchanging. Psalm 100:5 says, “For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” The same is true with His sovereignty, holiness, power, faithfulness, goodness, patience, grace, and even His wrath. His attributes never change.

The God we serve is the same God today as He was the day He raised Jesus from the grave. He is the same God today as He was when He spoke the world into existence. He is the God who saves and He is the God in whom you can place your hope.  If God never changes, then that means His love is forever. His forgiveness is forever. His salvation is forever. His promises are forever. And His attributes are forever. 

 We should find extreme comfort in God’s unchanging nature. Every created thing in this life will let you down at some point in time. Whether it is circumstances, relationships, health, career, children, technology, etc. However unstable the circumstances around us are, God never changes. 

A.W. Tozer said, “God never changes moods or cools off in His affections or loses enthusiasm.  His attitude toward sin is now the same as it was when He drove out the sinful man from the garden, and His attitude toward the sinner the same as when He stretched forth His hand and cried, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’”  

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does God’s unchangeableness have the power to change us?
  2. How would we live our lives differently if we truly believed all God’s promises will never change?