Every day many people begin the search for an answer to this question. Since the appearance of the book, ROOTS, searching for and examining one's family tree has become very popular. Many adopted persons are searching for their biological parents. Laws sealing adoption records are being challenged in the courts and adoption agencies are being court ordered to divulge information which the biological parent/s gave in strict confidence.

These things grow out of asking the question: "Who am I?" Many searchers will not be able to trace their ancestory farther than ten generations and those who can, eventually will reach a point beyond which no more information can be gathered from the distant past.

Knowing who one's biological ancestors were will not provide a complete answer to the question: "Who am I?" If by searching for and examining your family tree, you were to learn that you are a direct descendant of an European king, a German peasant or a Liverpool thief, what would that information really change about you? Would such information transform your three bedrooms and a bath into a castle in Spain? Would your economy import become a golden carriage drawn by six white chargers and escorted by footmen? Even if such transformations were possible, would you really want them to be performed?

This is not an effort to find fault with one who desires to trace his ancestory. It is only an attempt to show that whatever one may find out about his biological ancestory is relatively unimportant. All such information can provide only an incomplete answer to the question: "Who am I?"

Paul showed in Romans 2 that it does not really matter who I am biologically. In the judgment what I have been will be the really important thing. On "the day of the righteous judgment of God" He "will render to every man according to his deeds" (verses 5 & 6); "tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, ... but glory, honour, and peace to every man that worketh good" (verses 9 & 10).

Individually we are responsible, before God. God revealed in Ezekiel 18:20, "the soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

Who am I? If I am not a child of the kingdom, I am a child of the wicked one (Mt. 13:38). If I am a child of the wicked one, when I die, I can expect to be "burned in the fire" (Mt. 13:40) of "tribulation and anguish" (Ro. 2:9). I can expect the intensity of such punishment to cause "wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Mt. 13:42). these descriptions make the destiny of a child of the wicked one very unappealing to me.

Who am I? If I am a child of the kingdom, but become an offender who commits iniquity, I can expect the same fate that awaits the child of the wicked one (Mt. 13:42).

Who am I? If I am a child of God and remain faithful till I die, after the end of the world, I can expect to be among "the righteous (who) shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Mt. 13:43).

The doctrine of predestination teaches that, before the world began, God predetermined the destiny of every one. If that is true, why did Jesus invite, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden" (Mt. 11:28)? Why did He commission His apostles, saying, "go ... into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:15 & 16)?

The Lord's invitation is extended to all and the gospel is for all. Peter told Cornelius, "In every nation hw that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:35). And Paul wrote, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:26 & 27).

Children of the wicked one do not have to remain in the devil's family, destined for "tribulation and anguish." If you are not a child of God, my friend, you can become one of His children by believing the gospel and being baptized into Christ where we are all the children of God (Gal. 3:26 & 27).

Who am I? If I am not a child of God, nothing else really matters.

By Fred Shewmaker

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