Very early in my relationship with Julie, she told me something that left me wondering, “What???” She said, “You’re the second-best thing ever to happen to me.” I was afraid to bite, but still I asked, “What’s the best?” She replied, “My baptism into Christ.”
It’s kinda hard to beat the Lord.
On May 19, 1957, the best thing ever to happen to me took place when I was baptized into Christ. Even Julie comes in second to Him.
There is no question about it, no debate, no polls to take. May 19, 1957, was and will remain the most important day of my earthly life, because here is what happened when my parents brought their nineteen-day-old son to the brand new St. James Catholic Church in Montague, Michigan.
I was united with Jesus Christ in His death and His resurrection. (Romans 6:3-5, Colossians 2:12)
I was washed and cleansed. (1 Corinthians 6:11, Ephesians 5:27)
I was sanctified (made holy). (1 Corinthians 6:11)
I was made an heir with Christ having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:7)
I was forgiven all my sins. (Acts 2:38)
I was justified (made righteous) in the eyes of God the Father. (Titus 3:7)
I was clothed with Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:27)
I was given the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
I was made a member of the one Christian Church. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
I was saved. (Mark 16:16, Titus 3:4, 1 Peter 3:21)
I was renewed. (Titus 3:4)
I was reborn. (Titus 3:4, John 3:5-7)
I was given the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)
All of this happened when the water was poured over me and the priest said, “Gregory John Eilers, I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” May 19, 1957, became my rebirthday, the day I went from being dead in trespasses and sins to being alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:2-5), when Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice (1 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 10:10) became the gift which I have carried with me, and will carry with me, all the days of my earthly pilgrimage.
As with being physically born, I had nothing to do with being spiritually born (John 1:13). Just as I did not understand—and often didn’t know they were even happening—any of the gifts my parents gave me in my infant days, yet those things worked for my benefit—being fed and clothed and inoculated and the like, especially being given their name—I did not need to understand what was happening at the baptismal font. Just as my physical life was pure gift, so was my spiritual life a gift.
Whether being born, or being born again, it’s all grace, all gift, nothing we do, all done for us, first by our parents, then by our Father in heaven, through the work of His Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
On the date I am posting this, sixty years ago today was, and shall remain, the most important day in my life, the best thing ever to happen to me. I received all of the gifts which I need in order to walk my pilgrimage to eternal life, to the day of the resurrection of all flesh, to the day when Jesus Christ will make everything right (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) by making right all that has gone wrong because of the sin I inherited from Adam, through my parents (Psalm 51:5).
Happy rebirthday to me! Alleluia!