I was recently enjoying an unseasonably warm afternoon sitting on my porch swing with my 3-year-old granddaughter. The sun was not shining but the warmth was welcoming as we sat blowing bubbles. As we were swinging, I was looking at the new buds on my red maple tree that provides us with much-appreciated shade in the summertime. I drew my granddaughter’s attention to the buds and commented to her that those new buds would soon grow into leaves that would fill the tree. Her only comment to me was “and then they fall to the ground”. I told her that was correct, but that each spring those buds would again appear and the cycle would start all over again. She was only mildly impressed, or so I gathered as she changed the subject and went on to something else.
But it got me to thinking as I do every spring when I see the new buds on the trees and the blooms poking through the ground. They are a beautiful representation of the spiritual rebirth we have in Christ Jesus. Last season’s flowers and leaves are gone, but in the spring, they bring forth new blooms. And just like the buds and blooms, we become new creations when we die to self and become a part of God’s family. Since the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we have fallen short of what God created us to be. Romans 3 tells us that we are all sinners; not one of us is good. But God provided a way for us to be reborn through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross that “..who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God”. (John 1:12-13, ESV)
It is as simple as confessing our sins and asking Jesus to come into our hearts. This new life changes us from the inside out, just as the buds on the tree sprout from within the branches. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17, ESV) This is God’s gift of grace to us. We do not have to remain in our sinful, fallen state, nor does God want us to. His desire is that all people would be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:4)
There is good news! We no longer have to carry the burden of our sins. And even better than the tree, we do not have to “rebud” every spring. Our salvation is complete at the time of our confession and acceptance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We can live in the hopeful expectation of the glory that God has provided in heaven for us. No more shame or guilt; only gratitude and adoration for our Lord and Savior. We are reborn into God’s family. We are permanent new buds = a new creation!