John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
I wonder what would happen if Christians began to live as if they really believed in another world beyond this one. We all say we believe in life after death and say that we look forward to eternity in heaven but I am not so sure that eternity is very real to many of us. If you think about it, all the doctrines of the Bible are just that, doctrines, until the Holy Spirit comes and gives us a revelation of the reality of each particular belief. When we are born of the Spirit this process begins to take place in our lives. Sometimes in bunches, other times here a little and there a little, we come to realize the truth of the teachings of the word of God. When the Spirit opens our eyes to the frailty and temporary nature of this world and the eternal nature of heaven, our perspective on everything is radically changed. Martin Luther had a way of making these spiritual realities very simple. Here are his thoughts on today’s verse.
“We can’t see or understand this spiritual birth. We must simply believe it. What is born of the Spirit is spiritual, and the primary benefit of this new birth is the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Nevertheless, Christians still have an external existence. While they live here on earth, they are nurtured by a mother and father, eat and drink, wear clothes and shoes, have a house and garden, and own money and property. They view all of this as if they were guests who were traveling through this land to another city—their true destination. When they arrive there, they will no longer care about the places where they stayed along the way. During the journey, they were always thinking, “Today, I am a guest. Tomorrow, I will continue my trip.” In the same way, a Christian also thinks, “Today, I am a guest on this earth. I eat and drink here. I live honorably and modestly in this life. But tomorrow, I’ll proceed on my way to an eternal life in the kingdom of heaven, where I am a citizen.” So Christians also journey through this life. When they come to the end of this life, they will let go of everything physical and enter a spiritual life that will never end.”
Like Bunyon’s Pilgrim Progress we are all on a journey, passing through this earthly land with heaven as a final destination. Only the spiritual birth can awaken us to this grand adventure. The funny thing for me is this, the more I long for the heavenly destination, the more enjoyable the journey becomes.