My youngest turned 19 today…19!
I’m not even sure how that is possible, seeing as I just turned 19 a couple of years ago.
Our family loves to celebrate birthdays. We stretch them out as long as possible. Birthdays also remind me that our birth is what determines our identity. This is true both physically and spiritually.
Today’s Good News is even after we’ve been born physically we can experience a re-birth, or what Jesus called being “born again”. I realize this term has picked up a lot of baggage over the years. We may jump to mental images of the TV evangelists yelling, “You must be born again!” And while the message may be true, somehow it’s been severely tainted by some of the messengers.
Being “born again” simply means we experince a spiritual birth. When we are physically born, our spirit (which is our ultimate identity) is still unborn. It’s described in the Bible as not yet being alive – it’s dead. So, although we may be physically alive, we haven’t experienced spiritual life, yet. We may have knowledge about spiritual things, but our spirits aren’t alive until we are “born again”.
You can read Jesus’ discussion on this at the beginning of John 3. Interestingly, this is the discussion that leads into the well know John 3:16.
And Peter writes this –
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
~ 1 Peter 1:3
Just as our physical birth gives us our physical identity, our spiritual re-birth brings with it a whole new identity. This identity is sometimes difficult for us to grasp or believe, but the Bible says this identity is actually Jesus’ identity given to us. Which means we are now seen by God as holy, blameless, a saint, without blemish, perfect.
I get it if you look in the mirror and say I don’t see those things in me. That still does not mean it’s not true. The reason it’s true is because this is what God has declared to be true about all who are “born again”! It’s not based on your merit, but on Jesus’ merit. It’s not based on what you’ve accomplished, but on what Christ accomplished. This is incredibly freeing.
Physical birthdays are great – celebrate and cherish each one. Yet, without trying to be morbid, they also remind us that life is fleeting. Spiritual birthdays, however, reveal to us that we are destined for eternity with our new identity, and we can celebrate that re-birth forever starting right now! And that’s Good News!
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