Who Do You Think You Are? / Finding Your True Identity in Christ by Mark Driscoll
Outspoken, gruff and even abrasive are a few words that describe Mark Driscoll’s style in teaching and ministering. Yet, he also brings a healthy dose of biblical faithfulness and theological creativity whenever he writes. Who Do You Think You Are, his latest work, is no different. Combining close interpretation and application through the book of Ephesians, Driscoll draws his readers into the text without a fluid combination of insight and story, meaning and questions. The great draw for this book should be its simple yet profound message of finding our identity in Christ and not the million other things that we vainly run after. Driscoll reminds us that we are living in age of identity crisis, where the latest catastrophe brings out the true idols of our heart, whether they be in sex, money, other people, etc.
In the second chapter Driscoll seeks to open up the course of study throughout the entire book by introducing us to the book of Ephesians. The book of Ephesians centers upon the bedrock belief that our identity is to be found in Christ, that we are in union from him through and through. Not only this, but “As Christians, we live from our identity, not for our identity. We are defined by who we are in Christ, not what we do or fail to do for Christ” (19). Why is this so helpful? For one, many believers get the mistaken notion that God is looking over us with a scowl over every act that we perform. We then seek to please him for the sake of escaping his fury. Yet, God is already pleased with us because we are in fellowship with him because we are in union with his Son, Jesus Christ.
The chapter entitled I Am A Saint was particularly helpful as a reminder of our relationship to sin and its effects. Driscoll draws our attention to an important point that, “Rather than sinners, the Bible overwhelmingly calls us “saints,” “holy,” or “righteous” more than two hundred times. Biblically, then, the primary identity of a believer in Christ is not as sinner but as saint. While we still struggle with sin in this life, as Christians, our identity is not found in our sin but in Christ’s righteousness” (35). Sin has had a devastating effect on the whole scope of our person, from the mind and will to the emotions. Yet, the Bible calls us back to our standing before God as saints. How does this help us? For one, we are not defined by our sin (My name is Mark and I am an alcoholic). This kind of identification betrays our true identity in Christ by substituting an activity for an identity (35). Driscoll goes on in the chapter to write about how believers should relate to their sin: remorseful, humble, and to know that temptation will come but is only an opportunity to sin, not a coercion against our will. Driscoll time and time again reiterates a foundational truth that the imperatives of the Bible flow out of the indicatives. He writes, “We say no to sin because we are holy in Christ. We do what we are. Our identity determines our activity” (39). We betray our true identity in Christ when we succumb to temptation and follow after sin and its deadly consequences.
The thesis of this book is refreshing and remarkably gives me a sense of freedom knowing that my hope is found in nothing else but Christ, and his Spirit guides me in loving him well. Another thing I thought was very good was that Driscoll handles the issues of Ephesians, including predestination and Satan, with great insight and an eye toward their practical application. The chapter entitled I Am Victorious was excellent in that it pulled together the truth about Satan and his lies while not claiming too much or too little for his power. Overall, I was greatly encouraged by this book and hope that others will find some powerful truths here.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson and Book Sneeze for the review copy in exchange for review.