I was privileged to be present for the birth of all three of my boys. Each experience was wonderfully unique. The first is the most memorable. As second-year preaching school students we lived in a small two bedroom apartment. Our midwife was over an hour away. She didn’t make it. Armed with a three-page emergency list entitled “What To Do If Your Midwife Is Not Present,” we welcomed our little boy into our arms. I’d never held a newborn before, not like that. It was life-changing.
The anticipation is realized happiness. The anxiousness is replaced with relief. The pain melts into pride. This is our boy.
It may be a tautology to declare that birth is a beginning, but it is not a useless declaration. We know that life begins before birth, that a child in the womb is a distinct, living being. Yet there is something special about a child’s first breath, first cry, first hug. It is the beginning of a slow march toward independence.
In the beginning a child needs help to do everything. But soon they are sitting up, rolling over, and crawling. Eventually walking, eating solid food, and talking become normal. All of that begins at birth.
It should be no surprise that a Christian’s inception is identified with birth. Jesus’ notable nighttime encounter with Nicodemus introduces us to the idea of the new birth, not a physical return to the womb, but a birth of Spirit and water (John 3:3-5). Any wishing to become children of God must be born “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12, 13).
Sin kills. When we sin we become spiritually dead, cut off from the Creator and severed from his spiritual blessings (Ephesians 2:1-3). When we carry out the desires of the body and the mind we are living in darkness (1 John 1:6).
For that to change we need a new birth. We need to be made alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5, 6). Just as a child is born into the world full of purity and promise, those who once were dead in sins and trespasses (Colossians 2:13), can be made alive again without sin (Romans 6:3, 4). Those who are baptized have their sins forgiven in that moment (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
What a beautiful moment when one is born again. A moment full of happiness, relief, and pride. A moment of new beginnings. A moment of purity and promise.
But just as birth is a beginning for physical children, so it is also for spiritual ones. We would not leave a newborn to fend for himself. We must not treat baptism as an end.
We must consider ourselves dead to sin (Romans 6:11). That means that as we begin our walk with Christ, we truly begin our battle with sin. We have been set free from sin to become slaves of God (Romans 6:22), we must not submit ourselves again to the yoke of slavery.
Rather, happily, we are to grow up in Christ our Lord.
“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).
Even though growth can be painful, children earnestly desire to mature. Stagnation is unhealthy in youth. Christians must not dodge development. God expects his children to grow (see 1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12, 13).
Just as children are born into a physical family, Christians are born into a spiritual one. Reach out to your new brothers and sisters and encourage them. What a blessing to have a fresh start! What a privilege to live for Jesus!
If you are a new Christian, never stop striving, never stop moving, never stop learning. Grow!