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I am who I will be

Queen_Victoria_1843I just listened to this fascinating story on tape from my Systematic Theology C course taught by Stanley Grenz:

A story is told of Victoria, who was to be Queen of England in the 19th century, that she had a nanny, who is a very good nanny in that she repeatedly told young Victoria that she was destined to be Queen of England, that one day she would be Queen. And at one point, the girl said to her nanny: “Is it true? Will I one day truly be Queen of England?” And her nanny said: “Yes, you will.” At which point, Victoria responded by saying: “Then I must begin now to act like a queen.”

Often when we approach the question of our identity or answering to the question of “Who are you?”, we tend to find the answer in the past or present. Some may say that I am who I am because I had such an upbringing and such experiences, i.e. I am largely defined by my circumstances. This is a common view in the realm of psychology and social sciences. Some may say that I am who I am because I made certain decisions in the past and I continue to make decisions that define who I am at every moment, i.e. I construct my identity and destiny. Hence the saying: I choose/buy/consume, therefore I am.

But rarely do we approach this from an eschatological viewpoint, finding our identity in our future destiny. As Christians, since we are destined to be risen glorified saints meant to participate in the eschatological community of the new heaven and new earth, we therefore are able to live out our future identity in the present, in community and in holiness, for which the Holy Spirit is continually shaping us for that potentiality and ushering us into that vision of the Kingdom. Just like what I mentioned in my last post: the true identity of the bulb planted in the soil is not what it seems to be now, but the beautiful tulip flower it will become.

Therefore, our identity is not dictated by our regretful past or our present ambivalent choices, but by the future destined and promised by the loving God. That is how we can be liberated to run towards the finishing line with confidence and with no regrets (Phil. 3:13-14).

I hope to talk more about this in my church’s upcoming TAGGED camp ~ Finding Your Identity.

Note: Stanley Grenz describes this as the “ontological priority of the future”, which I think came from Wolfhart Pannenberg‘s eschatological theology. Correct me if I am wrong.

Posted in Posts in English, Psychology, Regent, Theology.

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6 Responses

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  1. Edmund says

    And isn’t it fascinating that YHWH’s name can easily be translated as “I will be who I am” from Ex 3 and 6 (through the context)?

    So “I am who I will be”, because “He will be who He is”!!

    • Anson says

      Hmm, very Interesting….. what you said seems very 禪.
      I seem to get it, but maybe I don’t.
      Could you offer us a little bit more explanation?

  2. Edmund says

    Not 禪 at all. What I mean is, God is a god who is faithful, as revealed to Moses through the Exodus event. He is the Lord of Israel, and He is determined to save all humankind through Abraham’s dependents. And ONLY because YHWH is faithful, our future is secure. And only then can we think about our identity in terms of the future — a future that has already begun through Jesus as true Israel.

    • Anson says

      Ah, now I understand lah.
      I am who I will be, because He will *always* be who He is =)
      What a succinct statement of such theological depth!!
      Very useful for future sermons, haha =)

  3. Anson says

    Btw, do you receive email follow-up notifications when I reply you?
    Just wanted to know if this new feature works or not.

  4. Edmund says