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Our Greatest Birthday

Our Greatest Birthday

     Birthdays are the celebration of the day we were born. If asked, what would you say was your greatest birthday?   The answer to this question often depends on how many we have had and what happened on those days. Some might say it was their 16th, when they were allowed by law to receive a driver’s license.   Some might say when they were old enough to vote. Others, when they were old enough to marry and start a family. Young children might think of some of the gifts or theme parties that occurred on their birthdays and that one would be the greatest or most memorable. Some of us have enjoyed quite a few more birthdays than others, so our answer might be harder to determine.

   How many would say that the greatest “birthday” we ever had was the one in which we were re-born?   Is that not a birthday?   Jesus said it was. We are all familiar with the night-time conversation in John 3:5-6 that Jesus had with Nicodemus.   He was speaking of one being born of the Spirit.   Does that birth not constitute a “birthday” – your spiritual birthday?   Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

     The problem with a lot of folks today is that they are unaware, or unsure how this “new birth” is to come about or that the kingdom yet exists.   John 1:12-13 tells us that Jesus gave us the power to become sons of God. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.    That “power” according to what the Spirit had the apostle Paul write in Romans 1:16 is the gospel. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 

     But how does this power work? Some people claim that this verse teaches that all one has to is believe.   Children are not born to parents in the physical realm simply by them believing they can have children.   It takes more than believing in the spiritual realm as well.   In Mark 16:15 Jesus explained what was to be done with this gospel.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  Then in verse 16 He tells what the gospel directs one to do.   He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  So, when one is baptized into Christ, they are born spiritually and at the same time become a child of God. This is their spiritual birthday. Remember that Jesus told Nicodemus that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  

     What does baptism do?   An explanation of 1John 5:8 can help us to see how this works. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.  The Spirit brought the gospel and delivered it to those who wrote it. The gospel tells us we are to be baptized in water for the remission of sins.   When one is baptized in water in accordance to the teaching of the gospel, they contact the blood of Christ, which cleanses one from sin. This is how they bear witness in earth. This is also why Christ died on the cross.

    Under the O.T. Law the blood of bulls and goats was offered. But, that blood could not remit sins as Hebrews 10:4 informs. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.  Before, in Hebrews 9:22 we are told why Christ came to die and give His blood. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. This blood of Christ also ushers us into spiritual life. The blood of Christ must be contacted.

     It is Romans 6:3-4 that points out that we are baptized into His death. And, It was in His death that Christ shed His precious blood.   Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  This is also when one is “born” into the kingdom of Christ. Jesus told Nicodemus that a “re-birth” had to occur.   This is when one is born again. And that birth requires the water and the Spirit.  

     Now that we know that the Spirit brought the Word of God, we might better understand Romans 8:14-17 as well as the benefits of being born into the kingdom of Christ. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  One can only become a “son” by being born or by being adopted. (The same thing in the N.T.)

     Another benefit is found in 1John 5:4 where the Spirit tells us:  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.   One must overcome the world to be with God for eternity.   Have you been re-born?   If so, that is indeed your greatest birthday.   If not, you need to examine your beliefs and faith, then obey the gospel so you can be a child of God. This will not only be your greatest birthday, it is also the most important one you will ever have.  

                                             Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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