If you’ve been around church culture for any length of time, you’ve most likely heard someone answer the question: “How long have you been a Christian?” with the following response, “Oh, I’ve always been a Christian.” In which, that answer can typically be translated into the following – “Ever since I was in my mother’s womb, I went to a building that had a steeple on top or a cross on the side.” However, no matter how great and fancy a church facility is, sitting in a church building does not make you Christian anymore than sitting inside of a fancy McDonald’s is going to make you a McNugget.
Being “born a Christian” has to be one of the most common misconceptions in the church today. Maybe, that’s what you even tend to believe about yourself. There has never been a time when you were not a Christian. Your whole family goes to church – your grandma, parents and even your cousin that literally annoys everyone. It’s football games on Friday and church on Sunday. It’s a wonderful tradition.
I’m convinced there are many people who are sitting in church crowds every weekend believing that they are Christians when they’re not. They’ve never truly accepted God’s amazing grace, because in their mind there is no need for it. Grace is for the sex, drugs and rock-and-roll crowd. Not me. I’ve always believed. I am a person with good morals. I was born into this belief.
Ironically, Christianity is not something you’re born into, it’s something you’re re-born into.
Out of the 7.5 billion people alive on the earth today, not one of us were born a Christian. According to the Bible, every single one of us was born a sinner. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5).”
Our original ancestors, Adam and Eve, messed it up for all of us. In short, the man and woman were placed in the Garden of Eden and given a command by their creator to partake in everything the garden had to offer, except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was an opportunity for humanity to worship their creator by obeying Him, trusting His words and relying on Him to educate them on what was good and evil, instead of experiencing it for themselves. God said, “Adam and Eve, this is all yours—every tree, animal and fruit. Enjoy it all, but most importantly, enjoy Me as your creator. Trust My command not to eat of one tree, because it will kill you. It will kill your spirit, your soul and your heart. Disobey what I am telling you and it will immediately kill you spiritually and will slowly kill you physically. It will literally change everything.”
And yet, they disobeyed the voice of God by listening to another voice. Then the power of sin spread like a disease to every person who would live at any point in human history. (On a side note, before we beat up on Adam and Eve too much – if they wouldn’t have done it – it would have most likely been me to ruin it for the rest of us.) Nevertheless, this changed the birth-nature of mankind forever. Everything immediately changed. Adam changed. Eve changed. Mankind’s relationship with its creator changed, and every person born after them would be the same—born dead. We would be spiritually stillborn.
Therefore, we’re not born Christians, we’re born spiritually dead in need of a rebirth into Christianity. Every single one of us.
D. L. Moody, the great evangelist from the 1800s said it like this, “We are born with our backs towards God.” “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).”
So, what’s the solution to this problem?
"Be a good person!" Nope. Good acts by you can’t erase what’s already been done. Plus, our moral acts outside of God’s forgiveness is actually more sin, called self-righteousness.
"Be a member of a church." Not that either. Sadly you can be a member of the local church and not be a member of the family of God.
What is it? What can help us? What will save us?
Trusting in Jesus. He said, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because He has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:17 – 18).” Jesus didn’t come to condemn us, we were already condemned (found guilty and sentenced to death).
Instead, he came to save you. He lived the perfect sin-free life that you couldn’t. He paid the perfect sacrifice for your sin on the cross and three days later – He conquered the power of your sin through the resurrection. The cross was the payment of sin, and the resurrection was the receipt and proof that the “check cleared”!
So, you must realize you are not born a Christian, but instead realize your need for salvation and turn to Jesus by trusting in Him to save you from your condemned state. In the moment you do that, God’s Spirit will make His home in you and everything changes. You become a new person. A reborn person. A person, who is now born to forgiveness, to freedom and to eternal life.
You haven’t always been a Christian, but you have always been in need of Christ.
Be sure to check out Shane’s new book: 9 Common Lies Christians Believe
Shane Pruitt is director of Evangelism for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. He is also an author, communicator and blogger. Find is most recent videos and articles at www.shanepruitt.com.