“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
It’s not often that I’m short of inspiration when it comes to writing, but every once in a while, as is common with those frequently engaged in creative endeavors, I draw a blank. It was, in fact, while looking at the virtual blank page on my Mac version of Microsoft Word that inspiration struck. What is blank if not a perfect place to start? From blank you can say anything, go anywhere, or do anything. Blank holds limitless potential and is wholly unspoiled. Every new day is a blank page on which to write a new story, every new opportunity a blank canvas on which to paint a new masterpiece of experience, and every new life a blank slate upon which a new story will be written.
There are plenty of people in the world that would give anything to get back to blank. The harsh realities of life from which they have suffered have etched deep wounds on the tablet of their heart from which they have not yet healed. For others, bad choices have scrawled a story of failure in the mind which they cannot forget; their confidence crippled and their hearts filled with guilt. Sometimes you can see eyes filled with the weariness of a life without purpose, without hope, and without direction; eyes which reflect the futility they feel deep in their soul. What wouldn’t these give to have their slate cleared, their history deleted, and their past erased, just to get back to blank?
Where can one find a new beginning when already years into life’s race? How can one who has seen too much of the ugly side of life recover their innocence? How can one find a second chance to live a life of meaning and purpose rather than of regret? It’s not possible from a human standpoint. No one can rewrite the past or undo the thing that was done or unsay the hurtful thing said. No one can back up to yesterday and say what should have been said or do a retake on the opportunity squandered. But what if you could? What if you could go back? What if there was a sponge that could wipe away the problem, the pain, and the past? What if you could be born again?
The good news is that God specializes in do-overs. In fact, since the Garden of Eden, God has been on a restoration project with the entire human race. No, God did not remove the teeth marks from the forbidden fruit, but He did have a salvage plan in place; a contingency in the light of what He, in His omniscience, knew would be the inevitable failure of mankind. He didn’t take Adam back to the day before he disobeyed God’s only prohibition in paradise, for that would be one and the same as taking from Adam the right to choose in the first place. He couldn’t “undo” what Adam did, but what He could do was to provide another Adam.
Jesus, the last Adam, came and passed the tests the first Adam failed. Not only that, but He payed the price for the first Adam’s failure by serving as his substitute on the cross, and since we were all “in Adam” so to speak, when he made that dreadful choice in the Garden, Jesus served as our substitute as well. He did all of this for one reason. To get us back to blank. To erase the record of our sin and failure before the Judgement Seat of God and provide an acquittal of our guilt.
Now, when anyone accepts what Christ did for them, and receives the free gift of life God offers through Him, his old life becomes a blank. As the apostle Paul said, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away.” But it gets even better, because God draws a new image on the tablet of our heart. In place of the old image of guilt, inadequacy, and failure, He paints a new picture of forgiveness, reconciliation, and righteousness. Better still is the fact that this new image is written in the indelible ink of the blood of Christ, who died that the book of our life could be rewritten. “Behold, all things have become new.”
You can be born again. In fact, Jesus said we must be born again, if we’re to discover this new life (John 3:3). The cross is the intersection at which we part with our poorly written past and turn the pen over to the one who will write the new story of our life. It is a story with a “happily ever after,” but it’s also a story written, not only for us, but for all the others who are desperate to believe that their story can be rewritten too.
“He came to my desk with a quivering lip,
The lesson was done.
‘Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher?
I’ve spoiled this one.’
I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted,
And gave him a new one all unspotted,
And to his tired heart I cried.
‘Do better now, my child.’
I went to the throne with a troubled heart,
The day was done.
‘Have a new day for me, dear Master?
I’ve spoiled this one.’
He took my day, all soiled and blotted,
And gave a new one all unspotted.
And to my tired heart He cried,
‘Do better now, my child.’”
(Quote from the book, Can Man Live Without God? by Ravi Zacharias)