12 things St. Paul has to say about your human identity

statue of saint paul overlooks saint paul seminary courtyard
A statue of St. Paul overlooks the central courtyard at The Saint Paul Seminary.

St. Paul, also known as the Apostle Paul, and his Scriptural writings have profoundly influenced Christian theology and continue to provide guidance and inspiration to believers worldwide. Among the many themes he explored in his letters, perhaps none is more central than the concept of human identity.

There’s no wrote, one-word answer to the profound question “Who am I?” But Paul’s teachings on identity can be a source of comfort and encouragement for any Catholic struggling to understand and accept himself or herself — a challenge we all face, but one that’s particularly relevant for young people today.

Paul’s teachings can also inspire Catholics to embrace their role in sharing the Gospel with those in their families, parishes, workplaces and communities.

In this article, we will explore 12 declarations from St. Paul on human identity. (Note: These declarations can be a source of reflection during individual prayer or used when praying over someone else.)

1. You are a son or daughter of God.

St. Paul reminds us in Romans 8:16 that we are not just creatures of this world but children of the Almighty. This declaration underscores our divine heritage and the intimate relationship we share with God. As sons and daughters of God, we are called to live in a manner worthy of our heavenly Father, reflecting His love, compassion, and holiness in all we do. We can also be confident that He loves us like a father — not for what we do or achieve, but for who we are: His children.

2. You have received a spirit of adoption, not a spirit of slavery or fear.

St. Paul emphasizes that through our faith in Christ, we have been adopted into God’s family. According to Romans 8:15, we are no longer bound by the fear and bondage of sin but have received the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to cry out “Abba, Father.” This adoption brings us into a new, liberating relationship with God, one built on love, trust, and freedom.

3. You are an heir to the King.

In Galatians 4:7, St. Paul reminds us that as children of God, we are co-heirs with Christ. We inherit the eternal riches of God’s kingdom. This declaration assures us that our identity is rooted in the promise of an inheritance that transcends worldly possessions, offering us a share in God’s boundless love and grace.

“… it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” — Romans 8:16

4. You are a new creation in Christ.

Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that through our faith in Christ, we are transformed into new creations. Our old self, marked by sin and brokenness, is replaced with a renewed self characterized by righteousness and holiness. This identity shift underscores the power of God’s grace to bring about profound personal transformation.

5. You are dead to sin and alive in Christ Jesus.

St. Paul’s declaration in Romans 6:11 reminds us that, through baptism, our old life of sin has been crucified with Christ. Through His resurrection, we are made spiritually alive in Him. Our identity is not defined by our past mistakes — nor the mistakes of our ancestors as a result of the fall — but by our union with the risen Lord, offering the hope of a redeemed future.

6. You are a temple of God, and His spirit dwells in you.

In 1 Corinthians 3:16, St. Paul emphasizes that as believers, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, making us living temples of God. This declaration underscores the sacredness of our bodies and the responsibility to honor God with our lives, seeking holiness and purity in all we do.

apostle paul icon
The teachings of Saint Paul can be a source of hope and inspiration for anyone struggling with his or her identity.
7. You have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

In Ephesians 1:13, St. Paul highlights the sealing of believers with the Holy Spirit. This seal — bestowed during the Sacrament of Confirmation — signifies our authenticity as children of God and our security in His promises. It serves as a mark of God’s ownership and protection, assuring us of our eternal identity in Christ.

8. You are equipped with the spiritual gifts for the work of ministry.

Paul reminds us via Ephesians 4:12 that each believer has been uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit for the service of God’s kingdom. This declaration emphasizes our role in building up the body of Christ and fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives, contributing to the greater good of the Church.

9. You have strength for everything through Christ who strengthens you.

St. Paul’s famous words in Philippians 4:13 assure us that we can overcome challenges and adversity through the strength of Christ dwelling within us. Our identity as Christians is marked by resilience and confidence, knowing that we can face all circumstances with His empowering grace.

10. God will fully supply for all that you need.

Paul reassures us that our identity as children of God comes with the promise of divine provision (see Philippians 4:19). Our Heavenly Father knows our needs and is faithful to meet them. This declaration invites us to trust in God’s providence and live with contentment and gratitude.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:19

11. You are a fellow citizen with the saints and a member of the household of God.

In Ephesians 2:19, St. Paul reminds us that our identity extends beyond our individuality; we are part of God’s larger family. As fellow citizens with the saints, we are connected to a rich heritage of faith and belong to the household of God, experiencing the unity and support of the global Christian community.

12. Christ has raised you up and seated you with Him in the heavenly places.

Paul’s declaration in Ephesians 2:6 speaks of our elevated identity in Christ. Through His resurrection, we are raised up and seated with Him in the heavenly places. This identity calls us to live with a heavenly perspective, seeking to align our lives with God’s eternal purposes.

In conclusion, St. Paul’s declarations on human identity provide profound insights into the Catholic understanding of who we are in Christ. These declarations offer hope, purpose, and a sense of belonging for those grappling with questions of identity.

Through faith, we can embrace our true identity as beloved children of God, heirs of His kingdom, and co-laborers in His redemptive work.

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