Identity remains despite restoration
Did you hear about the man, upon learning that our bodies completely regenerate all of our cells every few months, filed for divorce?
He claimed his wife was not the same woman he had married.
This humorous thought is a modern version of an old philosophical question regarding a boat used by Theseus, a character out of Greek mythology. Returning from a heroic voyage, his ship was kept as a memorial to the man and his heroic acts. However, over time, as the ship began to decay, parts of the boat were replaced by new material. Eventually, all of the boat's original material was replaced, begging the question, was it still Theseus' boat?
A similar question can be asked regarding a Christian experiencing the benefits of God's restoration.
The Apostle Paul tells us if we are in Christ we are new creations; the old passes away, everything becomes new. Does this change mean our initial personhood no longer exists?
Although we might draw such a conclusion, the opposite is actually true. In God's regenerative work, our uniqueness is not removed, but enhanced. As God created each of us to be distinct individuals, His grace works to replace the damaged portions affected by sin. In the end, we are made completely new, revealing the whole essence God intended for us before sin had its influence.
Who we are is far greater than the sum total of our parts. Our identity is retained by the image of God, throughout our restoration.
Pastor Mark Holmes is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and has served the Darrow Road Wesleyan Church since 1997.