"No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." John 3:3
In “Hamlet,” Shakespeare has one of the actors declare, “They say an old man is twice a child.” The reference, of course, is to a man’s early childhood and his return to childish ways in old age. The latter we call senility.
As far as Christians are concerned, Christians of all ages and genders are twice children. They have their natural childhood and they have a spiritual one. They are the sons and daughters of their parents and they are the children of God, their Father. The latter status is achieved through conversion. This is their second birth brought about through the water of baptism and the Word of the Gospel. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). He explained it as a rebirth through “water and the Spirit” (John 3:5). Saint Paul likewise links up our childhood under God with baptism: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).
The truth of being a child for a second time is explained as a relationship established by divine adoption. “In love,” writes the apostle Paul, “He [God] predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ … In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:4-5, 7). Here the apostle also points to the benefit of being God’s adopted children. If we are His spiritual offspring, His true sons and daughters, we are then His heirs and heirs of eternal life.
How greatly blessed and enriched we are to be “twice a child!” We owe a debt of gratitude to our parents for bringing us into the world and giving us a Christian upbringing. Yet we are especially thankful to God for bringing us into His family. Be glad that you are “twice a child!”
PRAYER: Thank You, Heavenly Father, for all the blessings You grant in Christ for my double childhood. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)