Who do you think you are?
On 13 October, a long time ago, I was born. On 10 November one month later, I was born again. And although my birthday is the day I celebrate each year, 10 November is even more significant. This is the day I was baptised. On this day God placed his mark on me and declared: you are mine! Often when I contemplate this, I think of how different my situation could have been. For instance, if I wasn’t born into a Christian home, I have no doubt my journey through life would have taken me on quite a different route.
God said to Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV). These words are such a comfort to me, because they declare loud and clear that God knew me and had plans for me before I was even conceived. When we come to Baptism, whether as babies or adults, it is entirely the work of God. My parents would never have made that decision unless it was the Holy Spirit who moved in them first. In all this I see how God knew me long before my existence. I also see that if it were not for his mercy and grace I would be eternally condemned, since my sinful condition by its very nature is in continual rejection. This realisation clearly shows me just how totally reliant on God we are. Martin Luther described us as beggars before God, yet I think he is too kind in his analogy, for even beggars need the prompting of the Holy Spirit to come to God.
We can never overestimate just how dire our predicament is. This is such a serious business that it took the Holy God himself to come in flesh, live and walk amongst us, take on our sin and die a criminal’s death! It is clear any decision we make toward God is solely his work in us! “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV) What precious words!
Our sinful rags require washing in the Lamb’s pure sinless blood so that we are acceptable to a Holy God. He loved us first (John 3:16,17), not our doing, a work that is totally, wholly his, outside of our arena. His idea, his decision (see John 6:44, 15,16).
And it is this same truth working in us that fills us with the fruit of peace that passes all understanding. May the Holy Spirit continue his work in us to keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Our identity is entirely in Jesus Christ, redeemed, baptised children of God – that’s who we are!
To God alone be the glory. Amen!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of peace that comes with the knowledge that we are yours. Not by our own doing, but because of everything you have done for us. We pray that this peaceful fruit is seen by others so that all glory is given to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.