Born Into Church or Birthed Into Christ?
The title above is a bit paradoxical, but based upon explanation it should be clear. Some know church but they do not know Christ and what it means to live for Him. Many people are aware of the medical delivery room, but they have failed to connect to or understand the critically necessary spiritual delivery room of Christ. The Bible and time period connected to biblical epochs spans three dispensations: Patriarchal (Adam to Moses), Mosaic (Moses to Jesus), and church-age (resurrection of Christ through the end of time). Through each time period God had a special relationship with His creation. During the patriarchal and Mosaic covenants, there was no real God-choice involved for the people. Being the people of God has always been based on His sovereignty and election, but the church-age process is qualitatively different from the other two. The question stated above is, born into the church or birthed into Christ?
For example and as just one of the patriarchs, God selected Abraham out of pure election. Abraham was not selected by God because of his track record of righteousness, he was selected out of the pure sovereignty and election of God (Genesis 12:1). This selection process of Abraham transcends and continued through the Mosaic covenant, because the lineage of Abraham leads to the Old Testament covenant people of God. Yet, there is a distinct difference in how one became a child of God under the Old Testament in comparison with the New Testament or church-age. From a Nation of Israel perspective, people were physically born into the family of God. Moses was able to become a shadow and type of messiah because he was born into Hebraic lineage established by God through His earthly vessel Abraham. Becoming a part of the kingdom of God in the Old Testament was based upon physical birth and not spiritual choice. If a child was born to Hebrew or Israelite parents, they were instantly of Israel, and passages like Deuteronomy 6:3-10 provided instruction in how the children should be consistently taught about their God and His delivering and sustaining power. Additionally, customs existed without choice, such as Jewish boys being circumcised at the age of eight days (Leviticus 12:3).
It is imperative to make clear that church-age kingdom inheritance is not through physical birth or lineage, but through spiritual conversion. Josiah, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, David and others, where born into God’s kingdom without a choice. Some of the men and women of Israel elected not to follow their God inherited at birth. People today must make sure they clearly understand that no one is added to the body of Christ based upon their parents or biological lineage. Jesus commands us to come to Him. Even as the biological people of God known as Israel, Jesus the Christ went to them under a choice-condition to fulfill the relationship, but they rejected Him: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).
Through the spiritual era in which we live today, we come to God by faith and choice and not by force. Every person who wears the name Christian, despite the sovereignty and election of God, has come to Him by choice and through obedience to His will. I am not a child of God because my parents were Christians before I was born, I had to come to faith and embrace the covenant of God as an individual, while remaining thankful for the spiritual guidance and prayers from my family. Were you physically born into the church because of your earthly family, or were you spiritually converted and birthed into the body of Christ?
In Acts 2 and in response to the powerful preaching of Peter, when it was emphatically announced that they were guilty of killing and hanging on a tree, both Lord & Messiah (Acts 2:36), “…they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Because the Word had reached their soul the preacher said, “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). In churches of Christ we say a lot about Acts 2:37-38, but the word pricked in the text is vital to understanding the essence of birth into Christ. The Greek word for pricked is κατανύσσω/katanýssō and it means to pierce thoroughly and to pain the mind sharply or
agitate it vehemently or violently. This Greek word is only used in the New Testament once. Being birthed into Christ requires a radical transfiguration of the mind and far too many have come to Christ with such a passive, casual, and cavalier attitude, they were born into church familiarity, but never birthed into Christ. Through conversion, did the Word violently agitate your mind?
Jesus said “…Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:5-7). Our physical birth process can never place us into Christ, we must by the Spirit, be birthed into Christ. For those who feel they were born into church by way of identity, they may know church culture, customs, politics, and linguistics, while not knowing Christ. When one has truly been birthed into Christ and not just identified with church because of familial affiliation, the outcome is unmistakably clear. John the revelator said about such true spiritual birthing into the body of Christ, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9). Unlike circumcision, no one is forced to be baptized, thus it is the expectation of all baptized believers that we want to live for Jesus through lifestyle.
Where are you in this spiritual process? Are you just hanging around church and church folk because it is habit and part of your social milieu, or has your life been truly transfigured by the Word, Blood, and Holy Spirit of Christ, paid for through the cross? Remember Christ died and rose again for you. You are the clay In The Potter’s Hands and God has paved a way to save you today!
Dr. Ammar Saheli
Rest In Paradise:
Nellie Jean Jones