Ancestry Matters

Nicodemus asked Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old?” John 3:4

In recent years there has been a lot of interest in ancestry. Online access to data enables us to discover some of our ancestry without even leaving home. There is also a television program dedicated to searching out the ancestry of well known people. There have been surprises one way or the other. All kinds of questions may turn out to have unexpected answers.

One thing is certain and that is that if we are able to trace our ancestry back a hundred or so generations we would discover that we all have Noah and his wife as ancestors. If we follow that back further we discover that we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. As descendants of Adam we inherit the curse that his sin brought – death to intimacy with his Creator evidenced by bodily death (Genesis 2:17; 3:17-19). The consequence is that all of Adam’s descendants have inherited a sin nature, no intimacy with our Creator and bodily death.

We are helpless to change our ancestry. That is history and no amount of rewriting will change the fact. People who try to rewrite history by denying our ancestry in Adam and replacing it with a fiction story are only deceiving themselves and fail to understand Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus’ question. Rather than rewriting history we need to have our ancestry actually changed. Hence we have Nicodemus’ question that ordinarily would defy an answer.

When Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again (born from above)” (John 3:3) He was saying that he needed a new ancestry. Not surprisingly Nicodemus realised that this was humanly impossible. On another occasion Jesus said. “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). This is essentially what Jesus was endeavouring to communicate to Nicodemus. What was necessary in order for Nicodemus to enter the Kingdom of God was impossible with men but not with God.

Everyone trying to enter God’s Kingdom by their own effort will fail because he cannot change his ancestry. John made this clear in the early part of his Gospel. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). Faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ is the condition that must be met and then God will create us new in Christ. That which is impossible with men God achieves in response to faith in Christ.

By the birth of Jesus into the world and the His death and resurrection He is able to change our ancestry from the first Adam to the last Adam, Himself. In Christ alone we have God as our Father.

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