TODAY’S VERSE TO PONDER: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB)
On Monday afternoon, January 15, I will embark on a five-day cruise to The Bahamas, accompanied by several friends. That night just after 8 o’clock, I will steal away from the crowd for a few minutes to observe a silent, private birthday.
It won’t be a celebration of my earthly birth anniversary; the 49th anniversary of the day I came into this world as a baby, I observed two months ago in October.
Next month, while sailing across the seas God poured across the earth underneath the stars He hung in the sky, I will celebrate my re-birth as a Child of God.
It was on Sunday night, January 15, 2012, that I became a Christ follower after years of dancing around the edges of my faith but having never truly, humbly bowed my head and asked Jesus Christ to become my Lord and Savior. On that night six years ago next month, I became a new creation in Christ.
Sadly, I have sinned every day of my life since.
I don’t declare “I am sinner!” because it is something that brings me pride; it certainly does not. I declare it because it is an honest acknowledgment that though I asked and received from God the precious gift of salvation, I remain an imperfect human being. I make choices every day that fall short of God’s will for my life.
If I am honest, I still slip into disobedience far more often than I want. I still have some pretty unfortunate human habits, hang-ups and hurts, but on the night I prayed the prayer of salvation, as the Scripture says, “old things have passed away and look, new things have come.” I became a new creation. I was re-born a member of God’s family.
Thus began a long journey through my humanity that someday will end in the presence of God. By acknowledging Jesus Christ as the Son of God, I took the first tentative steps toward eternity in Heaven. I was re-born.
I stepped out of the darkness of sin and into the Light of redemption. I was no longer separated from God by my sin, but I was brought into union with Christ. I was no longer dead spiritually, but I had new life, everlasting life imparted by the Holy Spirit within me. I was no longer hopeless; I was re-born with lasting hope in eternity and security in the joy of knowing God through Jesus Christ.
When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I put my life in God’s hands. I joined the family of believers who all are being held securely in God’s hands, and He is never letting go of us. On those occasions when my imperfect humanity shows through and I push back against the perfect embrace of God, the presence of the Holy Spirit reminds me of my mistake. Without the gift of salvation, I would be oblivious to my own sin.
If I had to rely solely on my own abilities and strength to try to lead a God-honoring life, I would fail every time. I have at my disposal for every day of my life the Word of God, the Holy Bible that provides the training for how to be God-honoring. I have access to Jesus Christ as my advocate when I sin, the same Christ who took on the sins of the whole world when He was crucified on the cross, was buried and then arose from the grave. I have the presence of the Holy Spirit, one of the three persons of Almighty God, living within me; yes, I can grieve the Holy Spirit when I am sinful and disobedient, but I also can fill up my Spirit with worshiping, studying, prayer and humbling myself before God and repenting of my sins.
I am so grateful that God loved me so much that He sent Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, to earth to make the sacrifice so that I might be able to pray one prayer, believe in Christ, confess my sins and ask forgiveness, and be made a new creation. Honestly, I can’t wait to stand on the deck of that ship next month, look out across the infinite beauty of God’s creation, bow my head again and celebrate my Spiritual Re-Birthday.