Do you know who you are?

My favorite place at the Myrtle Beach marathon was the pre-race expo, and especially the bumper stickers that were for sale. One said, “If you find me on the road, please drag me across the finish line.” Or, “If you can read this, I’m not in last place!” Or, “This IS my race pace.” The next morning, I saw people holding some of the same signs, and many others. Some were signs of encouragement for the 6,000 runners who passed by. Some people were just trying to be funny, and they were. Like the guy just a half a mile into the race whose sign read, “One. Lousy. Parade.” Then, there was the lady holding up a sign about 10 miles in that said, “My husband knows a shortcut.” Or the one that said, “The Kenyans finished an hour ago.” Some were meant to be funny, but just were not. When I was in the most pain of the race, around mile 24, I passed a guy whose sign read, “Is that all you got?” The most encouraging sign I read said, “I am exactly .3 miles from the finish line.” That was a sight for sore legs. The only sign that was better than that said, “Finish.”
Paul holds up a sign in his first letter for Timothy, who was a sometimes fragile, sometimes discouraged young pastor, that says, “But you, O man of God.” Man of God! Timothy, Paul seems to say, remember who you are. You are a man of God. I wish we could know somehow what effect that had on Timothy. Did he break into a huge grin when he read that? Or did he break down and weep in relief and thanksgiving?
More importantly, would the testimony of God and his word be the same for you? What is your identity? Are you a man or woman of God? Would you be able to say with confidence that you are one of his “peculiar people,” as Peter refers to believers? If you are born again, having been purchased by the peculiar and unique manner of the blood of the Savior on a cross, you are a man of God or a woman of God, no matter your age. You have been made to “stand” because of what Jesus Christ did, not through anything you have done or ever will do. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
How are we able to stand? By grace. How do we get grace? Through faith. But where does it come from? Through our Lord Jesus Christ. What is the result of this grace applied to our lives? We have peace with God. How? We have been justified. What can we do as a result? Rejoice in hope of the glory of God. This is why Christians around the world will celebrate tomorrow, and indeed, why we celebrate every day. Jesus Christ hung on a cross for six hours one Friday, was dead and buried from 3 p.m. Friday until sometime before dawn Sunday, and then he rose again from the dead. He appeared to Peter, to the other disciples, and to more than 500 at once. Great news! Christ has conquered death for us who believe. Do you know him? If you do, then you know what many in the world can only dream about. You know who you are.

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