Sermon Recap: New Identity (Genesis 32:22-32)

This is a recap of the latest sermon in our new series: Grace Changes Everything. 

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As a church, we believe that God’s grace changes everything. It changes who we are, where we belong, and why we’re here. Many people don’t go to church because, they say, religious people are too judgmental. But for Christians who have received the grace of God in Jesus Christ, we should be the least judgmental people in the world. In Genesis 32:22-32, we learn that our identity should be rooted in the underserved love of God in Christ. 

Broken Identity

Jacob’s background and history show his need for grace. He had been defined his whole life as a cheater and lacked a stable community in which he was loved and accepted without reservation (see Genesis 25:19-34). Jacob’s identity was broken by sin. He needed God to break in. 

New Identity

God meets Jacob in a mysterious wrestling match. Old identities die hard—they often have to be wrestled away (Genesis 32:25). Grace is costly (Genesis 32:26). Jacob has to come to the end of himself before he can receive a new name. God renames him Israel (Genesis 32:27-28).

Confident Humility

In his brokenness, Jacob’s identity has been characterized by insecure pride. But now he has received a new name. He has faced God and lived. And he walks with a limp (Genesis 32:30-31). With his new, God-given identity he can go through life with confident humility. 

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. Jacob was named “cheater” before he had even come of age. How have others named you? How have you been negatively defined by the people in your life? 
  2. How have others judged you? How have you been made to feel unsafe by the people in your life? Are there ways in which you are insecure as a result?
  3. How has your broken identity emerged in sinful habits and behaviors? How have you hurt others? Judged others? Been jealous? Greedy? Arrogant? 
  4. God’s grace shows you you’re a sinner, and yet calls you a saint through the atoning work of Christ. Have you received His grace? Has that grace changed your identity? How?
  5. Having received a new identity, Jacob could walk in confidence, knowing that he was loved and accepted by the God of the universe. Does the gospel provide you deep security? How do you need to find security in Christ?
  6. Jacob emerged from his encounter with God walking with a limp. How has the gospel humbled you? How do you need to grow in gospel humility? 
  7. Walking in confident humility shows that you are living in your new identity in Christ. Did you walk in confident humility today? How will you tomorrow?