Raising the dead; turning water into wine; feeding 5,000. These are all well-known miracles. Have you considered, however, the miracle of a redeemed person? Yes, when one sinner turns to the Savior, something not only wonderful but also miraculous happens. Literally miraculous.
Jeremiah gives an interesting analogy that hints at the nature we all have before conversion. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil." (Jeremiah 13:23, ESV). By our very nature we were darkness, children of wrath and incapable of pleasing God. In contrast, God by his very nature is light, without a shadow or hint of darkness. How can we be in the presence of a shadowless God when darkness is a part of who we are and sin is running through our very bloodstream? To solve this dilemma, we needed more than just a change of habits or improvement on some character flaws. We needed to become a totally new creature. Somehow we needed to go from wicked-from-head-to-toe to holy and spotless in his sight.
Thanks to the cross, that's just what happens every time someone is saved. Consider for a moment how miraculous that transformation is. Instantly, the person's spiritual DNA is rewritten. He actually becomes a child of God; by adoption, yes, but also biologically. Think about it: Just as we were born to our earthly fathers, we were also born again to our father in heaven. Now we even share the same genes, We have the ability to love like he does, the inclination for doing righteousness like he has, and - solely because of Jesus' perfection inside of us - the same spotlessness he has. Do we still have our sinful nature? Yes. It continues to make us struggle, stumble and fall every day. Fortunately though, because God's seed abides in us, that nature no longer has dominion over us. What an amazing thing God did for us and not because we deserved it, but because he loved us and knew that we desperately needed a change.
Anticipating this new year, I'm sure many are looking forward to a fresh, new start: maybe getting more physically fit or having a more successful year at their job. Let's also celebrate one of the most remarkable of all "new starts" the miracle of a new creation. As for those who haven't received that liberating transformation and forgiveness that Christ alone brings, I'd ask that you please consider receiving him this new year. Let the sins of 2013 and the old man of this past year be cast aside, and may 2014 be the date where "From that point on, [your name] was never the same again!"
God bless and have a happy new year.
Caleb Hoverson, of Burlington, is a home-schooled sophomore.