When you meet someone for the first time, what do you do? Perhaps the first thing is to tell them your name. But, do you ever add a description? Do you add titles? “Hello, my name is _____ and I am a pastor/teacher/doctor/student etc.” Those are titles. Many of those titles we earn. We go to school for years to earn specific titles. And, perhaps the longer you go to school, the more boastful you may be of your title.

There are some titles we do not earn, but are given. “You are ugly!” “You are trash” “You are annoying/loser/not smart” “You’re a BOOMER!” (I got help with these insults from our 7th and 8th grade class). These may be titles which are given to us by other people. We don’t like them. They hurt us. They make us feel poorly about ourselves. They are not earned, but people think they belong to us. They make us want to crawl in a corner and be left alone. They are titles no one wants.

As bad as those titles may be, there are some which are far worse than those. I will warn you before you read them, they hurt. They are not fun. They make us feel ashamed, embarrassed. But, they are true. They are earned. They are deserved. They…are us.

“You are…a liar. …a cheat. …an adulterer. ..a murderer. …a failure."

Is that the way you would introduce yourself to someone new? “Hello, my name is______ and I am…a sinner!"

Today as I write this, it is January 10, 2020. Only a few days ago, many of you made New Year’s Resolutions. There are some which most people make like wanting to lose weight or spend more time with family. But, did you make a resolution to sin less? Did you make a resolution you wanted to follow Jesus more and your sinful nature less? How are you doing on those resolutions? It is only 10 days into the New Year. Can you say you haven’t sinned? Can you say you have been perfect?

I can’t. “Hello, my name is Greg and I am…a sinner!"

It hurts. It is a title which no one would boast. A sinner! Yikes. This title makes us want to run and hide more than any title another human would give us. This title is shown to us by God’s word. The bible clearly shows each and everyone of us should have that title permanently tattooed to our foreheads.

But, there was something else which happened at our foreheads…water was applied, words were said, a baptism occurred. And, at that baptism, a new title was given to us. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1). At your baptism, God wrote a new title on you…Child of God!

This Sunday we are thinking of Jesus’ baptism. He didn’t have sins to be washed away and yet, he took all our sins. And, when he went to the cross, there he took those sins. At the cross, those sins died. At our baptism, our sinful nature dies. And, through our baptism, we are connected to Jesus, to his life and death, to his baptism.

Because of all Jesus has done, God the Father LAVISHES his love on us. Love which is poured out in the blood of Jesus shed on a cross. Love which takes away sin. Love which opens heaven. Love which gives us a different title, the best title, a permanent title. It is a title you can boast about.

“Hello, my name is Greg, and I am…A CHILD OF GOD!”