Why should we be born ‘again’? Does passive Christianity necessarily equate to being unchristian?
This question relates more to people who were born and raised in Christian homes, where they were taught the deity of Jesus and His Sonship to the Father. From childhood, they were taught the purpose of Jesus’ death and resurrection, as well as what is right and wrong.
After all this, then, why should the child, who has lived a relatively decent life, be born again?
Every child is a sinner from birth
We always have to start with the right idea concerning the identity of every child born into a Bible-believing family. Often, we classify the children born into such families as “second generation” or “third generation” Christians. Or we assume they’re the next generation of whatever denomination we belong to.
We have to remember that any child born into the world inherits the sin-tainted human nature, which comes from Adam, and is in desperate need for a Saviour to secure their relationship with God through regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
We often classify children as second- or third-generation Christians. We have to remember that any child born into the world inherits a sin-tainted human nature
Lack of passion while doing what is pleasing in God’s eyes
Unlike their non-Christian counterparts, children born into Bible-believing families have the advantage of being taught the Scriptures from a young age (through family prayer, Sunday school, church meetings, etc.). They are aware of the Bible’s positions on various matters.
While such an upbringing has its positives, the often neglected negative is the familiarity with the Christian life. Children in such families don’t have adequate exposure to what the Bible says is sin. All they’ve seen is the community they were born into. This is where familiarity breeds contempt and, as a result, they don’t appreciate being in a Christian family.
If we ask them how passionate they are about Christianity, they may not have a life-changing experience to talk about, because there really was never a need for one. They always lived decently under their parents’ care, so why this special experience of being born again? Isn’t that only for those who are in total darkness?
In other words, Christian kids often do what’s required, simply because they grew up with the habit of doing those things and living decently.
Everyone born into the world is in a depraved state of mind
We must understand that every child born into this world is in total depravity (which means they are insensitive to sin, its effects, and how destructive it is to others). Every child has the potential to become the worst sinner the world has ever seen.
Adolf Hitler was a church-going choirboy who grew up with a religious background. Who would have thought that he would one day be responsible for the deaths of six million Jews and countless others during World War II? It is because of God’s grace that the world doesn’t become even more terrible. In other words, we are worse than we could ever think of ourselves.
Every child has the potential to become the worst sinner the world has ever seen
Everyone born into this world has an evil heart that is estranged from God
We must understand that every person, even though he or she may look decent on the outside, has an inner being, or heart, that is full of evil. This corruption makes it impossible for us to be in a relationship with God, because we are naturally inclined toward evil and things God hates. God’s Spirit doesn’t dwell in a person unless he or she has been purified by His Son. We need the purifying work of God in us.
Everyone born into this world doesn’t abstain from sin and doesn’t always do what God loves consistently
We often take solace in the fact that we are relatively decent. So why the need to be born again? Scripture presents us with a couple of problems here:
Everyone who is born in this world curtails the display of his wickedness for the fear of being caught or exposed
Often, we see children of Bible-believing Christians behaving decently when they are under their parents’ control, but once they are away from their parents, they indulge in everything they never had access to, thus revealing their potential to sin against God.
A passive “Christian” is someone who doesn’t give any weight to the fact that he/she is a sinner from birth and totally depraved — to the point that there is no limit to the sin they can commit. Such a person fails to see the evil nature of his/her heart, from which all sins arise. They will do a good deed because it is their habit, or by obligation to parents or peers. They don’t find pleasure in obeying God out of love. Rather, they do it for the sake of others around them. Being Christian is not a matter of passion for them; it’s just a ritual they follow with no excitement. They haven’t been made new, haven’t had their hearts converted, haven’t had their passions renewed, etc. So, therefore, a passive “Christian” is necessarily a non-Christian.
We may be decent, but we realise that being born again is something that Jesus required of a highly moral man like Nicodemus, who was one of the leaders of the Pharisees and a member of the Jewish council. If Jesus made it plain and clear that such highly moral people like the Pharisees needed a spiritual rebirth to see and enter God’s kingdom, it is highly essential for everyone, especially children of believing families, to be born again.
Jesus made it plain that even highly moral people like the Pharisees needed a spiritual rebirth to enter God’s kingdom
Jesus insists that unless there is a regenerating work of God in our lives — i.e. unless our sins are forgiven (outward cleansing), unless our hearts are transformed (inward cleansing), and unless the Holy Spirit indwells us — we can never have God as our King. We can never experience the work of God, who removes sin and its consequences from this world.
When one truly experiences spiritual rebirth, they can never be passive, because they have been revived from spiritual death to eternal life. They are passionate in obeying God. They are eager to walk with God and count it as a joy to do so. They do it irrespective of the situation they find themselves in. They are aware of their sins and take them seriously.
This write-up is intended to answer the reader’s questions, but also to remind believing parents to hold on to the six aforementioned points. We must communicate to our children the glorious truths of the gospel and also explain the reality of the deity of Christ, His all-sufficient death and resurrection, and how sinners get accepted to God’s kingdom as sons, thanks to the work of our Saviour.
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