My older sister has traced our family’s genealogy all the way back into the 1600s. The name Nyquist means “new branch” or “new twig”in Swedish (it would be written Nykvist today in Sweden). My great-grandparents emigrated from Sweden in the 1880s, around the same time D. L. Moody began his Bible school in Chicago, and started farming in a Swedish area of Burt County, Nebraska. My dad is a full-blooded Swede—and looks just like it! My Mom is half Swedish and half French.
Not every family is able to trace their history back this far. While we may be fascinated to learn bits and pieces of our earthly ancestry, if we know Christ we can be certain of our heavenly heritage. Through the redemption found in Christ Jesus, we have become the sons and daughters of the King.
Through the salvation found in Christ, we exchanged the limitations of our earthly identity for an eternal one: “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are” (1 John 3:1). God loved us and redeemed us.
In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul contrasts our earthly existence with the spiritual regeneration and eternal hope that comes from being born again. He compares our physical existence to a temporary tent. “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God” (v. 1).
In Christ, we exchange the old for the new, the imperfect and incomplete for that which is incorruptible. In Christ, Paul explains, we become a new creation: “The old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (v. 17).
We can be thankful that God’s regenerative work in us has nothing to do with our earthly heritage or our personal accomplishments. No matter whether your ancestors were royalty or peasants, no matter what continent your family of origin claimed, we all need God’s salvation through Jesus in order to be part of His family. In Him, we are made new.
It can be interesting to seek our roots, to discover more about the places and people from which we came. But we must never forget who we are in Christ. In Him and through Him, old things have become new. We are no longer slaves to sin, but we have an eternal future secure in Christ. We are a new creature, perfected in Christ, a child of the King. In Him, we are complete.