The Necessity for Labels
"For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized." 1 Corinthians 11:19
Labels. We all have them. We label ourselves a woman, a mom, a wife, and a Christian. Typically, we are told to reject labels for the sake of keeping the peace. However, oftentimes people will stay away from labeling themselves out of cowardliness. Perhaps, it may cause a debate or discussion you want to avoid, so instead, you stand behind the “I don’t label myself" sign. Labels can also help keep us from danger from false teachers and heretics, to warn others and dividing genuine believers from those who deny the Truth.
If we are trying to understand something deeper or make an analysis or evaluation, we have to categorize, generalize, and classify things, and to do this we use labels. I've been labeled Reformed, Calvinist, Christ-follower, Protestant, or even Evangelical and guess what? I am all five of these, and I wear those labels gladly.
The danger comes when we find our identity in those labels. Our identity must always be rooted in Christ alone.
Essentially, when I label myself "Reformed", I mean I marvel at God’s holiness. I glory in God’s goodness, that He should save a wretch like me, totally undeserving, bent toward evil. It also says I rejoice in God’s sovereignty, and He chose to save me for His glory, not because of anything I did or would do or any potential good in myself. I am a bigger sinner than I could ever imagine and God is an even bigger Savior than I ever thought possible. My only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own, but I "belong, in body and in soul, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever, amen" (Heidelberg Catechism).
God of Grace, we rejoice in Your sovereignty, that You chose to save us for the praise of Your glory, not owing to anything we did. We thank you for Your Son Jesus and His finished work on the cross. We proudly wear our labels that we are Your children who have been plucked from the very grave we deserve. Thank you for setting us a part for Your glory and Your gospel. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Take a moment to consider the labels you have placed on yourself (or others). Are they glorifying and honoring God?