The unbelieving world has no definite standard, no supreme source, no consistent method, no reliable mirror for determining identity. Some lies sound more plausible, some uniforms look more popular, some complaints feel more cathartic, at least temporarily. The world has a mold (Romans 12:2), and the father of lies has offspring (John 8:44), but the template of hell is confusion, exile, and discontent.
Our Father gives us comfort, peace, and rejoicing. He tells us who we are, shows us in Christ what we will be (1 John 3:2), and seals us with His own Spirit as a guarantee of our eternal inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14).
As a church we affirm identity in the waters of baptism, around the table of communion, and through the process of membership. Baptism is the initial ordinance of identify professed and affirmed, communion is an ongoing ordinance of identity by obedience, and membership takes over the responsibility of affirming identity from another local church.
When it comes to membership, a local church must remember that she is part of the universal church. A local church must also affirm those into membership who call on the Lord’s name and are part of the kingdom of Christ and God. A local church must affirm the identity of her members through shepherding and discipling and discipline. The church also comes together to the Supper; we are regulars here.
As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim that you are the people waiting for and hastening the day of the Lord’s return (1 Corinthians 11:26; 2 Peter 3:12).