Wednesday, September 5, 2012
My Spiritual I.D.
My Spiritual I D
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43: 1)
Do you have a legal document that tells others who you are? In the U.S. every child born receives a social security number and a birth certificate.
Your birth certificate and SS number are proof of who you are.
Your birth certificate lists your time and date of birth, the hospital and city where you were born, how much you weighed at birth, and the names and address/addresses of each of your parents.
Your SS number is unique to you alone. There is no other person in the U.S. or anywhere in the world for that matter, who shares that number with you. It identifies who you are. You will be asked to present it for any legal document you submit to anyone, and for all important paperwork.
The single most important I.D. people in the U.S. carry however is a driver’s License. Your driver’s license is a laminated card which contains a picture of you, shows your date of birth, weight, sex, and the address where you live. Most young people here in the U.S. obtain a driver’s license at the age of 16 after they pass their driver’s training course. It is something they will carry with them their entire life. Your driver’s license is legal proof of who you are, no matter where you go.
As a young teen getting my first driver’s license, I can still hear my mother instructing me; don’t ever go anywhere without it! It tells others who you are. If you get into and accident and aren't able to speak the police will be able to identify you and notify your family.
I took the instructions my mother gave me seriously and always obediently made sure I had my license whenever I went out, even if I wasn’t driving. But there was one time when I forgot it. I was out of state spending time with my cousin in Phoenix, AZ. I was new to the area and the evening after I arrived, she took me out and introduced me to some of the local gathering places for young people. For whatever reason (I have no idea why, but maybe I just forgot it) I didn’t take my purse.
My cousin was driving and as she pulled into one of the city parks, a police officer pulled up beside her. She had not been driving recklessly or broken any laws, but I think he just randomly pulled her over, maybe because she was young and it was a Saturday night. He was just being cautious and making us aware of his presence. Of course he asked each of us for our I.D. and I didn’t have mine. I honestly don’t think he believed me when I told him I had forgotten it at home. I’m sure he thought we were up to some kind of “no good”, but he finally let us go and told us to go straight home. I couldn’t believe it! The one time I didn’t have it with me, I get caught! Now, forty some odd years later, I don’t recall ever having repeated that mistake again (well maybe a couple of times over the years).
We should each recognize that our I.D. is a very important document because it is proof of who we are. I am not aware of what laws and regulations are in effect in other countries, but pretty much everyone in the U.S. over the age of 16 has and needs some type of picture I.D. If you don’t drive you may have what we call a State I.D. or maybe if you are a student you have your Student I.D. But do you have a Spiritual I.D.? Do you know what a Spiritual I.D. is? Do you know where/how to get one? Let’s talk about it.
I obtained my Spiritual I.D. on April 23, 1950. That is the day my parents brought me to baptism. I was one month old. We are all born into this world sinful. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5). We inherit the virus of sin from our parents, and their parents, and so on down the line. Many people feel that babies are sweet and innocent and don’t sin, but they are wrong. They may be sweet, and they are innocent in that they aren’t aware of their sin and don’t know any better, but still they ARE sinners. As little sinners, they need God’s forgiveness in order to be fit for heaven. They need to be washed in the blood of Jesus through faith in order to be saved. I tell you the truth; no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit (John 3: 5, 6).
At one month of age, even though I was too little to understand it all, I was born again through my baptism and became alive in Christ. I now belonged to His family of believers. Through the waters of baptism connected to God’s Word, The Holy Spirit put faith in my tiny little heart and I was washed clean of my sin and reborn into a new life. There was rejoicing in heaven that day! There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10). The angels rejoice jubilantly over each person on earth who is forgiven through faith. God loves all people and doesn’t wish that anyone would go to Hell. He [God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3: 9).
Faith comes from hearing the Word. Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ (Romans 10: 17). But it also comes to us through the Sacraments i.e. Baptism and Holy Communion. A newborn baby is too little to read the written Word and understand what it means for his/her soul. The Holy Spirit, through baptism, places faith in the hearts of babies and little children who are too young to understand. Through baptism their sins are forgiven. Through baptism God showers His never ending grace upon each little child so that when He looks at him/her He no longer sees a sinful little human, but the holiness of Jesus.
Many people have the mistaken idea that baptism is something we do for God. They feel it is something we should let our children decide upon when they become old enough to understand. Baptism is not our commitment to God. On the contrary, baptism is God’s commitment and gift to us. It is His way of saying; I love you and you are Mine! I promise I will never leave you. I will watch over you and protect you. I will bring you home to be with me forever when your life here on earth of over.
Parents, it is your God-given responsibility to bring your child to baptism. Jesus himself tells us; Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Luke 18: 16).
My baptism certificate is my Spiritual I.D. It is the I.D. which says I belong to God. It tells me I am saved through the blood of Jesus shed for me on the cross so many years ago. It is proof that I am His forgiven child. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3: 27). I carry His name with me every day that I live. It is not a guarantee that I will never leave Him, but it IS His guarantee to me that He will never leave me. I pray that he will watch over me and keep me in my baptismal grace until the day He calls me from this earth.
Unlike my driver’s license or state I.D. I will not need to present my spiritual I.D. for legal documents here in this life. I won’t need to present it when I stand before God on the last day either because he has a record of it in His Book of Life. However do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven (Luke 10: 20).
Have you obtained your Spiritual I.D, yet? Have you been baptized for the forgiveness of sins? Are you an heir to His eternal kingdom? Have your children been baptized? If you and/or your children haven’t been baptized and you are interested in finding out more about it, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to direct you to someone in your area who can tell you more about it and help you make it happen.
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children (Acts 2: 38, 39)
Goria Dei! (All glory to God!)
Special note to parents:
God does not tell us in His word what happens to little babies who are killed through abortion or who die before birth or before there is time for baptism. It is not my intent to put fear in the hearts of already grieving parents who have lost children to death before baptism. For your comfort, remember that our God is a just God, but He is also a merciful, fair and loving God. We can trust that in His almighty wisdom He takes special care for the souls of helpless infants. All life is precious to Him.
He does command baptism however, and entrusts these little lives to us as parents, to be cared for and nurtured. It is our responsibility to make sure they have all that they need, not only for their bodies (their physical good), but especially for their souls (their eternal good). Eternity is forever. Therefore why would we not, when it is within our power to do so, want to afford ourselves the comfort of knowing for sure that their souls are safe in His loving arms?