One of my students told me recently that she believes in reincarnation. She even went to a "specialist," who helped her "see" other lives that she's had, and how those previous experiences have affected who she is now. She is convinced it is all true. She said she knew I was a Christian and that I didn't believe that, but that I should research it anyway, and gave me the name "Dr. Brian Weiss" to refer to.
I had no idea how to respond to that.
I talked with Pam about this, because I really have no desire to research this field, and yet I want to be able to use this topic to somehow share the gospel with her. Pam, being thoughtful and brilliant as she is, said, "Well you know, in a way, Christians do believe in reincarnation."
She explained quickly, before I could call her a heretic, that she was thinking of three distinct lives - our life before Christ, our life now in Christ, and our life in heaven one day with Christ. I love this. So I decided to research it more. Dr. Brian Weiss could wait... a brief reading about him on his homepage was enough for me.
First, I remembered God's promise to his people in the Old Testament, to make them new - to not just change their heart, but give them a completely new heart and a new spirit - a new life.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 -
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
And the idea of spiritual reincarnation was the way Jesus told Nicodemus the gospel! It's the most well-known and most commonly used story in Christian evangelism.
John 3:3-7 -Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
I love Paul's description of our spiritual reincarnation, the contrast in our first life and our second life... and the love and mercy of Jesus makes all the difference!
Ephesians 2:1-7 -
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air... All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus...
Or, more simply put:
2 Corinthians 5:17 -
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
This description of our final reincarnation is the most exciting to me. As thankful as I am for the change and the new life God has given me on earth, my heart beats and aches for eternity - the life that is promised to me, full of pure joy and empty of weakness and pain. It will be a life so completely full of Christ that it will not only transform my heart and soul, but my body as well!
1 Corinthians 15:50-57 -
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise God for his gift of new birth, true life, transformation - the ultimate reincarnation!