You’re Not Unique.

IMG_4298In today’s world uniqueness and individuality are praised and encouraged ad nauseam. You can be anything you want to be, do whatever makes you happy, or as the Fleetwood Mac song says “You Can Go Your Own Way.” I really have no problem with being unique, but sometimes I think our hearts aren’t in the right place. What are we really trying to prove by standing out from the crowd? Have our personal preferences and unique personalities become the only thing people see when they see us? Sports, hobbies, games, relationships and everything else we spend time on sure shine a light on what’s truly important to us. Making yourself happy isn’t unique at all. In fact it’s the gold standard in this world of sin and selfishness.

Growing up, I thought I was unique. Upon starting high school I started listening to rap music, wearing baggy clothes, and talking like an idiot. I didn’t want to conform to what everyone else in the small North Dakota town I grew up would describe as the norm. Luckily for me the fear of my father kept me from doing anything really stupid. My parents would probably have described me like parents today would describe their “unique” kids. “He’s a good kid.”  “He’ll grow out of that.” “It’s just a phase.” The problem with my uniqueness was that it was not unique at all. I wasn’t unique and neither are you. In trying to be unique I was really only thinking of myself and what I wanted. I was and still am truly a son of Adam. Born into sin; I just can’t help myself. I want to do things my way and I’ll be damned if I let anyone tell me I can’t do something.

I know what you thinking. “So you’re saying that wearing certain clothes, listening to certain music, or enjoying the many great things God has given on this earth is sinful?” I’m no Pietist but in this world of sin it doesn’t take much for things to go from hobbies to coveting to breaking of the 1st commandment. I regularly buy a $3.00 cup of coffee instead of giving money to the homeless. I love coffee more than my neighbor. I love watching my favorite television shows more than I love reading Word of God. I’m a damn sinner. The world will embrace your sinful uniqueness as your own “personal choice”. You can’t trust the world to judge things correctly. You can’t trust yourself to make the proper decisions on your choices in life. The devil is in your ear 24/7. He knows the things you want and the things you want to spend your time on. The world, the devil and your sin are a perfect combination for making bad choices.

Enter in the Word of God. The Holy Bible is truly unique. This true and perfect Word of God teaches and strengthens us in our lives here. The law condemns us of our sinful drive to be unique apart from Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ assures us that we are forgiven because of his perfect uniqueness. In this world, we are not unique. In Jesus Christ, we are unique. He takes all our sins to the cross. Our individual forgiveness is unique. As redeemed children of God we are unique in our father’s eyes. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are all unique. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world is unique. Our salvation is unique because our savior is unique. Jesus Christ is all the uniqueness we need.


You’re Not Unique. — 18 Comments

  1. “I regularly buy a $3.00 cup of coffee instead of giving money to the homeless. I love coffee more than my neighbor. I love watching my favorite television shows more than I love reading Word of God. I’m a damn sinner.”

    That was my favorite part of your post after years of “life application” sermons.

    I’m glad I was well into my childhood before the “you are special” and “you are unique” craze got going. Even better was that by reading the Bible, I knew the truth about myself. Even so, that didn’t keep me from being seduced by the message. If ever there was a time that I was an antinomian, it was the years that I had fully bought into that message, rejecting the truth (ugly time in my life). It is freedom to once again believe and confess the truth; I am a wretched poor sinner, a spiritual beggar, forgiven by the work of my God, my Savior, bleeding and dying for me, in my place, and giving me his obedient life, his righteousness, gratis. This is truly good news!

  2. Is it a sin to buy a cup of coffee? Or to fix up your house, or to eat a good meal out for that matter? I’m not sure that it’s all that wrong to enjoy some things in life we’ve been given as temporal blessings.

    Maybe buying that $3.00 cup of coffee helps support people who make a living in that way. Maybe when you’re in the coffee shop you greet the same people with a smile each time and you get to know these people enough to talk about Jesus to them. Maybe that coffee enables you to have more energy to work your daily vocation. It’s interesting how many good things can be hidden in that cup of coffee that we don’t realize.

    I have a hard time thinking buying a cup of coffee is sinful…but correct me if I’m wrong here.

  3. I suppose I could make coffee at home and use that money more wisely. That’s what my wife always tells me. I know for me, when I buy coffee it’s because I need caffeine. I rarely think about my neighbor and their vocation. I never meant to say drinking coffee was sinful. I mean coffee…really? As a sinner I rarely make a choice with my neighbors intersts first. If you do, congrats on that. I do think instant coffee is sinful though.

  4. @Letetia #1
    “I regularly buy a $3.00 cup of coffee instead of giving money to the homeless.

    Your buying coffee is probably no more “sinful” than giving money to the man on the corner to buy cigarettes. [Or as one’s cardboard stated, “Truth, man, I need a beer.”]

  5. If you want to be unique, support a pastor that stays true to Scripture and our Confessions and REFUSE to TOLERATE those who stray. We’re all sinful screw-ups and facilitation and/or toleration of heterodox beliefs/practices makes us all even bigger screw ups.

  6. helen :
    @Letetia #1
    “I regularly buy a $3.00 cup of coffee instead of giving money to the homeless.
    Your buying coffee is probably no more “sinful” than giving money to the man on the corner to buy cigarettes. [Or as one’s cardboard stated, “Truth, man, I need a beer.”]

    Oh, if only this was the depth or breadth of my sin! I am thankful my sin runs much deeper than trying to decide if or how I can justify buying a cup of coffee, when I could use it to love and serve my neighbor. I am thankful that I am so wretched that only Christ’s righteousness can save me from God’s wrath that I so richly deserve. I am thankful that I have none of my own. I am thankful for the gift of grieving over my sins, making the Gospel as sweet as honey.

  7. Good article. I get a kick out of the mentality that says, “Let’s all be different, together.”

    In a generic sense “being yourself” is OK, especially in relation to spiritual gifts and being fearfully and wonderfully made. The world, though, will encourage a person to “be yourself” at the expense of loving God and loving your neighbor. “Yourself” is a sinful, fallen, corrupt human being.

    My daughter has tried this line on me a few times, “You never let me be myself!” My response is, “No, because yourself is acting wrong.” I’m about to ban all Disney Channel shows in my house…

  8. @Letetia #7
    Oh, if only this was the depth or breadth of my sin! I am thankful my sin runs much deeper than trying to decide if or how I can justify buying a cup of coffee…

    Sorry, Letetia! I should have copied the “coffee comment” in the original.

  9. No worries, Helen. I’m glad your post led to saying what I did. It’s a relief to say it after years of hearing my wretchedness was really just a mostly curable case of wrong choices and mistakes and “oopsies” in place of God’s thundering Law. Instead of Gospel, I heard “try again” and “try harder”.

  10. I love the theology of the cross in the article. We’re all miserable sinners who can do nothing good and therefore require Christ as our only means of salvation.

    But in what I perceive as an effort in hyperbole, you manage to diminish the work of God in creating man. He purposefully made us unique, or anyone could be a pastor.

    Romans 12:6-8 NKJV
    [6] Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; [7] or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; [8] he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

    So maybe we could tweek it just a little bit. As your message of giving to the poor illustrates the fact that God did in fact make us unique, as stated in verse 8 or we have problems with the inerrant Word.

    So maybe we can tweek it just a bit to we are unique in somethings, but one thing about everyone is the same: sin and the absolute need for Christ.

  11. @Big Boy

    Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 1 Cor 12:4-11 ESV

    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Col 1:15-20 ESV

    Who is unique in the above passages?

    Unique: being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.

    In the body of Christ, who is unique? Is it not the Head of the body, who is Christ himself?

  12. @letetia

    Your questions harbor logical fallacies.

    I said The Lord has provided some with some measure of gifts and another a different measure of gifts. Our measure at which he dispenses those gifts make us unique. Or we would have all the same exact gifts in the same exact amount; which only then could we be not unique. And in which case anyone could be a pastor.

    Uniqueness and equality are not mutually exclusive characteristics. I can have two cars, one with a big engine and a heavy body, another with a small engine and a light body, and they go the same equal speed; but both cars are unique. We are all equal at the end of our lives, as I stated in my post, we are sinners incapable of salvation by any means save one. This is our undeniable need for Christ.

    Nor did I question the head of the body, and imply my equality or spiritual gifts to be equal to The Lord.

    I do say God has made each of us special in some ways, and to say otherwise diminishes His creation and His abilities.

  13. @Big Boy

    Can you point out the logical fallacies my questions harbor?

    Your response to me introduces both quantity and equality. Neither were part of the article or the discussion until you introduced them in your response to me. Neither word is synonymous with the word “unique”. My response includes a definition of the word “unique”.

  14. @letetia

    Unique, while verbally defined, requires both quantity and quality in COMPARISON to the others within a category of which you are attempting to categorize the subject. This would be in addition to anything else required to derive at a conclusion that one subject is different than another.


    I have two jars, they both have red jelly beans. They are the same.

    It turns out, upon closer inspection, I have two jars, both have red jelly beans, but one jar has ten, while the other jar has 20.

    Closer inspection yet, I have a jar of jelly bellies, and a jar of jelly beans.

    Closer inspection yet…

    Apply that principle to my posts and this blog.

    I think you would rather just argue, than actually say your wrong and learn, and I will pray for you.

  15. @Big Boy

    Thank you for praying for me. I do ask questions in order to learn. I’m often wrong and willing to admit it. I apologize that I’m just not understanding what I’m wrong about. I may not understand your argument and that certainly could be the problem, but I’ll stand on this: Christ is unique. This is true. May I be less and less so.

  16. First, I am unique. I am the only one of me that has ever existed, and God loves me — not merely some large group of me-like-things.

    Second, you are a damned sinner, not a “damn sinner”.

    Have a nice day.

  17. In the world, we are all unique. Does God look at our uniqueness by worldly standards or by his standards? The main point I was trying to make was to look upon the uniqueness as Christians we all have in Christ. His saving grace is for all sinners who confess that their hope and salvation is totally based on Jesus Christ and not what we deem at good or justifiable in our works and uniqueness. If that makes any sense, sorry I need more coffee.

    You make a good point about the damned/damn sinner – not sure I am using that right – I have always thought it was damn sinner. With faith in Christ I can’t really call myself a damned sinner because he took my damnation. I’ll just go with damn sinner – maybe a pastor on here can correct me.

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