Here’s a twist—in Christ you have been born twice, so you have a new Father to resemble, and there’s a whole new heritage stream coming down to you. That means you have two family trees. It also means you have two birth certificates. One is earthly, one heavenly. On one is the date and place you entered this world. On the other is the date and place you put your faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord of your life. In the case of the latter, that’s the moment God brought you from spiritual death to life through your faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Your spiritual birth certificate announces that you were born again, that you are now and forever a son or a daughter of God.
We see this in John’s Gospel where he describes our new birth this way: “Yet to all who did receive him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13).
You may feel you aren’t good enough to earn God’s love and to deserve a place in His family. Or you may be striving, hoping your good deeds outweigh the bad and land you in heaven one day. But forget that. It’s hopeless. And God isn’t counting your sins anymore because He already laid them on His innocent Son when He died in your place on the cross.
See, the power of the gospel message is this: sin doesn’t make you a bad person. No, much worse than that. Sin makes you a spiritually dead person. “The wages [result] of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23a). And being dead is a major problem because dead people can’t do a thing to help themselves.
That’s why what God has done for us is called good news! Jesus didn’t leave heaven and die on a cross to make bad people better people. He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sin and rose again so He could bring us from death to life. The verse continues: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
God’s love set a rescue plan in place for you, not because you deserved or earned it, but because of His great love for you. “See what manner of love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). That’s what we are because we have been born again as sons and daughter of God. God’s love is described here as lavish. It’s not paper-thin or dirt-cheap. His love is not flimsy or silver-plated. It’s solid gold. And there’s enough of His love every moment—for all your highs and lows in life—and for every circumstance you’ll ever face.
I love how Eugene Peterson describes God’s love in his version of Psalm 36: “God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, his purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks. How exquisite your love, O God!” (Ps. 36:5-7 MSG).
There’s something more profound than just having a new spiritual birth certificate. You also now have the spiritual DNA of God. When you were born physically, everything you got came from your earthly parents. But your spiritual birth isn’t about getting anything at all from your mom and dad. They may have influenced you in your faith, encouraged you in your understanding of Jesus and shown you what it looked like to follow Him. But when you were born again, everything you received in the new you, you got from God.
That’s fantastic news for you and me, because it means the domino effect of our human DNA, those particular characteristics that constitute the sin nature, can be broken by the power of the life and death and resurrection of the Son of the living God. The old has passed away. A new life has begun. We are sons and daughters of God. Everything has changed.