“I’m Batman.” You may remember that famous line from the Batman movies, but unless you are a comic book fan, you may not understand the depth of what Batman was really saying.
I know. My inner nerd is showing, but bear with me.
Batman is the secret identity of playboy millionaire Bruce Wayne. If you read the comics or watch the movies, however, you will notice a tension between his two diametrically different personas.
For decades, fans have debated who really is the one wearing a mask: Batman or Bruce Wayne. Is his true identity the carefree, millionaire playboy or the cold, detached crime fighter?
Most experts agree that dark, brooding Batman is his true identity and that Bruce Wayne is just a mask he wears to keep his enemies at bay.
Like many comic book superheroes, you and I have two identities as Christians.
You are a sinner. That is who you are. You were born that way. Some in our society might find such a statement offensive, judgmental or even a bit intolerant, but it’s true.
Contrary to popular opinion, people are not by nature essentially good. The Bible says so. King David confessed, “Surely, I was sinful at birth; sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). From the time we are tiny, we fight over toys, throw tantrums and lie to get our way. As we grow older, our fights, tantrums and lies simply grow more complex.
You are a sinner. That is who you are. At the same time, however, you are also a redeemed child of God. Your sins have been washed away in Jesus’ blood and the waters of Holy Baptism. You are forever forgiven. You are a son or daughter of the King of the universe and an heir of the happiness of heaven.
The reformer Martin Luther once quipped that we are at the same time “saints and sinners.” You have two identities, but only one is your true identity.
When you look into the mirror, who do you see? The devil whispers in your ear: “You are an addict.” “You are a pervert.” “You are an adulterer, liar, gossip and cheat.” He is right, of course, but that is not your true identity in Christ.
Because of Jesus, your sins don’t define you. You don’t have to live life with a scarlet letter hanging around your neck. When God looks at you, he doesn’t see filth and ugliness. He doesn’t see an addict or adulterer or liar. He sees his dear child. He sees a saint.
That is who you are. That is your true identity.