How awful to be identified as a “betrayer.” This is how Jesus referred to Judas on the night of his arrest. On the other hand, Peter denied Jesus not once but three times, yet the next time Jesus encountered Peter, he didn’t refer to him as the “denier.” Why the difference?
Judas had allowed his sin to literally take over his identity. Although he showed remorse for what he had done, scripture gives no indication that he repented of his sin. Peter, however, repented. He separated who he was from what he did. That’s what repentance does. It slices through our will and ushers us into freedom—freedom to become unidentified with our sin.
We all sin (Romans 3:23) but we don’t have to become so identified with our sinful behavior that the totality of who we are gets sucked into a label that sticks like Gorilla Glue. Are you an alcoholic or one who struggles with alcohol? An addict? Homosexual? Adulterer? A thief? An abuser? Whether or not we take on the identity of our sin rests on whether we truly repent of our behavior. Otherwise, we will become what we do.
But there is a positive side…
Jesus became his actions:
- Savior of the world—“And she (Mary) will bear a son; and you shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
- Faithful and True— “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.” Revelation 19:11
- Lord of lords and King of kings— “They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings….” Revelation 17:14
So how about you? Where do you find your identity? Have you over identified with your sin and let it define you? Or do you identify so much with the One who redeemed you from your sinful behavior that you can rightly be called a Christ-ian?