And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

Luke 5:27-28

The first mention we have of Matthew (Levi) is that he is a publican. And that is not a good thing.

Publicans had a horrible reputation because they collected taxes from their fellow Jews for the Romans, and they often overcharged and pocketed the difference. This sin of theft and usury was rampant during the time of Christ.

But the definition of who Matthew is does not stop there. Jesus called this man while he was still living in his sin, and Matthew left the sin behind!

Matthew may have been a publican but he was also a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When someone mentions the name Rahab, what comes to mind? We immediately say, “the harlot.” Yes she was a harlot, but the Bible records her act of faith in Hebrews 11. She was not just a harlot. She was a sinner saved by the grace of God!

And that is how it is with all of God’s children. We are sinners, hypocrites, liars, and thieves, but that is not our full identity. We are sinners saved by grace. Our true identity is IN CHRIST.

The world and the devil may label you by your sin but your Heavenly Father does not. He sees you through the blood of Christ. God sees you as righteous.

We have no righteousness of our own that we can claim, but we can claim the forgiveness of God and not believe the labels the devil calls us. He is trying to discourage us and make us give up our discipleship. But we need to stop our ears and shout, “I am a child of the King!”

Remember the words of the Apostle Paul:

Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

Romans 8:33

No one – not any person, not the devil, and not even yourself can label you. Your true label, your true identity is – REDEEMED!

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