My wife and I turn 33 today. Yes, we were born the same day, 500 miles apart, and she has a twin brother, Josh. I will point out that I’m about nine hours older, so I get to be the leader!
We mark birthdays as milestones, as if surviving another year is a great accomplishment. To me, this is kind of like the trophy all the kids on the baseball team get whether they played well or not. In the grand scheme of things, 33 years is so little. That’s what I wanted to address today… 33 years in light of eternity.
I was born on September 3, 1977 and as soon as I was born, the clock of my life began ticking. Only God knows at this point when it will run out, but I was made for a season, physically speaking. Some of us get 33 years, others 100. Some have only 99 days or less. It’s not in our power to decide.
Though we don’t get to know the years of our lives beforehand, we do get to know the length of our existence. We were made for eternity. All of us are going to last forever somewhere. So my birth into this world was for a short and already limited season, but it was my second birth that prepared me for the ageless eternity that lies beyond this life.
I was born in a condition of sinfulness. I know there’s an innocency about babies, but we’re born with a bent toward sin that doesn’t take long to show itself (just ask my parents). The Bible declares in Isaiah 53:6, “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” That’s all of us, moving away from God together, separated from intimacy with Him by our sin. And thats the direction we’re headed for eternity unless God Himself intervenes… and He has.
God’s only Son Jesus was born to a poor young family in Bethlehem twenty centuries ago and he lived to the age of 33 as well. Then he was nailed to a cross to bear the penalty of our sin. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)
Jesus died so that we might trust in Him and experience the second birth (or, be “born again”). Our birthdays are nice to celebrate, but this second birth is what really matters. In a conversation with a religious leader named Nicodemus, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NLT) Being born again means that we’ve believed in Jesus as our only Savior on the basis of His dying for us on the cross. When that happens, we go through a miraculous and instantaneous transformation. We become brand new creations in Christ, prepared to live eternally with God in heaven.
So my birth into this world was special, but my birth into God’s forever family is far more important. It is absolutely essential that you place your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior during this life in order to prepare for the next.
I’ve met some amazing people while writing this blog. I’ve interacted with people of all walks of life, for which I’m grateful. I’ve conversed with atheists, Muslims, mystics, and people from a broad range of Christian denominations. Thank you for reading! And please hear my heart. The most important message I will ever write is what I’ve written above. God loves you in spite of the fact that you’ve sinned and rebelled against Him. He wants to save you and gave His Son’s life on the cross to pay the penalty of your sin forever. He invites you to trust Him and receive Him today.
It’s not about a denominational label, a religious heritage, or how many rules you can keep. It isn’t about being “basically good” (and thank goodness, because we’ve all blown that) or God being a kind of benevolent grandfather-figure. It’s about the fact that I’ve sinned against my Creator, but He has loved me enough to provide a Savior in Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by me.” (John 16:6 NKJV) You must receive Him. You can receive Him. I want to ask you to decide – to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior so that you can know Him not only in this life, but for eternity to come. Not as a special formula, but as an example of what you might say in your own heart, pray a prayer like this one…
Dear God, I know that I’ve sinned against You, my Creator. I’ve broken Your rules and I’ve gone my own way. I also know that You love me and have given Your Son Jesus, who died on a cross to pay the penalty of my sins against You. He rose from the dead so that I might trust in Him today. I receive Him as my Savior and I want to live the rest of my life for Your purpose, not my own. God, thank you for saving me… Amen!
If you’ve prayed that prayer, or if you have more questions about what it means to be saved, don’t hesitate to contact me today! I’d love to hear from you.
God bless you today!
photo credit: gabi_menashe