In Isaiah 56, the Lord says that foreigners and eunuchs who keep Sabbath and hold fast God’s covenant will be given a place in the Lord’s house and a name better than sons and daughters, an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. He says that He will bring them to His holy mountain and make them joyful in His house of prayer. In the Old Covenant, the house of God was fiercely guarded. The ugliness of sin was underlined by the fact that anyone with a defect, blindness, physical marring, missing limbs, hunchback, or eunuchs were prohibited from going near the presence of God. But baptism is the sign of the New Covenant that Isaiah foretold. It is the gracious promise of God to all nations, all people, all outcasts, all the broken, blind, lame, eunuchs, that by the blood of Christ and His life-giving Holy Spirit all may enter the house of God.
We might wonder: exactly what has changed? Sin is still sin; God is still holy; and all those defects are still real. There are still people in this world born broken. There are still barren women, blind men, disease ridden bodies. Why is it that they can now draw near? The Ascension of Jesus means that we all have a man in glory. We have an older brother at the right of the Father who is completely whole, who has no defect, whom death could not hold, who ever intercedes for us. He is our ticket, our passport, our guarantee of entrance. But God doesn’t leave us untouched. Isaiah says that eunuchs will be welcomed into God’s house and given a name better than sons and daughters, an everlasting name that shall never be cut off, and He will make them joyful in His house of prayer. This is only possible if people really can be born again. This is only possible if the Holy Spirit regenerates and heals the fundamental problem of sin and guilt and death in us, in our bodies.
Every regenerated man, woman, or child is reborn by the Holy Spirit and made a child of God. This means God is your Father, Jesus is your older brother, and the Spirit of God fills you, assuring you of forgiveness, producing the fruit of God’s life in you, equipping you for service and ministry. But the new birth is not strictly genealogical. The promise is for you and your children, but the basis is not biology, the basis of regeneration is not generation. You are not saved because your parents were saved. Children who grow up embracing the grace of Jesus do so because Jesus loves them and their parents, not because their DNA matches.
This should not cause us to fear or worry; it should actually come as a great relief. If the genealogies in the Old Testament teach us anything, it’s that blood and genes are really only good for sharing sin and guilt and defects. We need the Holy Spirit; we need to be born again. But this means that in our regeneration, when we are reborn in Christ by His Spirit, we all become orphans and eunuchs humanly speaking. We all become orphans and eunuchs because the new birth is not by flesh. When you are reborn in Jesus, the power of regeneration is all of God and His grace. You receive a new Father, a new family, and any children God gives will be completely miraculous.
We baptize all who call on the name of the Lord and their children because the promises of God are sure. But baptism is an objective, public proclamation that only eunuchs will inherit the Kingdom of God. Only those who have been born from above, only those who know they have no human father and no chance of biological children, only those receive a name greater than sons and daughters, an everlasting name that can never be cut off.