It's been cool lately and I've enjoyed being able to open my windows and have the breeze go through, rather than having to live in AC air. Yesterday as I raised up the window and grabbed the stick from the well of the sill, I noticed for the first time that the stick was budding.
I thought it was strange, because I've had the stick for a couple of years and it has always been dead. It was dead on the ground when I got it, it languished dead in the windowsill through winters, rains, and heat, and it was dead when I used it to prop up the window all this time. Here is a photo:
Looks like a dead stick, doesn't it? Well, it is!
But then a leaf grew!
Actually, two leaves are growing!
So the stick is like us before we're saved. We are dead in our sins. We bear no fruit, we have no life. Sure, we are walking around and living and working and marrying and stuff, but we are dead sticks walking.
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins," (Ephesians 2:1)
But when we are born again, we are first justified. This means being forgiven, we are now having a right relationship with God. It is a legal term of justice, the Judge giving a pardon. Then we are regenerated.
"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses," (Colossians 2:13)
"...even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:5)
Regeneration means born again, a rebirth, having new life. The next step in His process is sanctification, which means the process of God molding us as His clay to become more Christlike in all we think, say, and do. Sanctification is a long process, a lifetime, and then an eternity. It is the process of living a holy life. We cannot do this apart from Jesus. Justification is a one time event happening in one moment, the moment God forgives you of sins.
Regeneration is the glorious moment of new birth. Paul captures it in chapter Titus 3:5:
"he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,"
If God makes a dead stick bud, then He can make you bud too! Seek Jesus for forgiveness of sins, He will wash them away and renew you as His new creation in a holy rebirth and subsequent sanctifying growth that will last all your life, in this age and the eternal one to come.