If God’s initiative of grace first became evident in creation, election, covenant, torah, and blessing in Old Testament times, it blossomed and began to bear fruit in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The gospel story is depicted from four perspectives by the Gospel writers and is fleshed out in the life of the early church as recorded in Acts and the epistles of Paul and others. It is the story of a grace lived out through the lowly birth, the beckoning life, the sacrificial death, and the powerful resurrection of Jesus Christ. That story of grace is an invitation for all of us to become children of God, and it has the potential for transforming our identities by a redemptive love that turns the alienation of estrangement from God into the intimate relation of beloved children embraced in the family of God.
This same Jesus both models for us and teaches us what integrity truly means. Through his incarnation he shapes our human identities, demonstrates how great God’s love is for us, brings us into intimate relationship with God as God’s children by adoption, and empowers us through the Holy Spirit to participate in God’s redemptive work in the world. He enables all of us to become children of God, loved, strengthened, and gifted for service in the kingdom of God.
All of this is an initiative of grace, conceived and implemented by God. We are undeserving recipients of this grace, but the offer of grace lifts us up to become the crown jewels of God’s creation. God’s love is so deep and wide, that even the most sinful among us are beckoned to cast off their corrupt natures and put on the glorious nature of true humanity fully embodied in Jesus Christ. We creatures made by God are invited to become children of God who follow in the footsteps of the Son of God. In that experience, our identities are transformed through the unifying of our inner and outer lives. We become new creations in Christ Jesus—children of the Most High God.