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By Brian Price 01/01/2015

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Jesus said, "Ye must be born again." You are not born a Christian. You have to be born again. What that means is a spiritual rebirth. I recall a conversation a while back that I had with someone who was against Christianity. Their claim was that because a person is born in a society, such as America, with Christian values, that is the reason why they are a Christian. While their argument may be valid to some degree, it is not entirely true. It is true that a person has a greater chance of becoming a Christian and going to heaven if he is born into a Christian family. There is no doubt.

It makes perfect sense to make that conclusion since all of his childhood he is surrounded by godly influence, Christian teaching and preaching, and the prayers of family and friends. The Bible does say, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6

The Bible even details the life of John the Baptist as being "...filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb." - Luke 1:15. John the Baptist had parents who believed the Bible, who walked in the statutes of the Lord, and who raised John to be the prophet of the highest. And we can read that John the Baptist was indeed the greatest prophet born of women (Luke 7:28).

But the flip side to the argument is free will. Although someone may be born to Christian parents, it does not guarantee him access into heaven. It just simply gives him a better chance. To get a good glimpse of what I am talking about, let us look at Matthew chapter 3, in which we see John the Baptist, and his only recorded sermon to the people of his day.

"1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." - Matthew ch. 3 (King James Version)
As we read here, John the Baptist boldly said to the people in verse 7, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."

The people thought that because they were born sons of the friend of God, Abraham, that this somehow gave them access into God's kingdom. Such was not the case. If they were righteous by birth, then they would have no need to repent. And that is why John told them to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. These people, although born to a great patriarch of the faith, still needed to be born again just like everyone else.

"19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.
20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." - Ezekiel 18:19-20 (King James Version)
As we can see here from the book of Ezekiel, God said that the soul that sins, he shall die. The son and the father are two separate individuals, and each shall be judged for his own sin. Likewise, each shall be justified for their own righteousness. Another passage in Ezekiel says the following:
"Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness." - Ezekiel 14:20
God said that if he brought judgment upon a land, and regardless if three of the most righteous men in the Bible had any children, only they would escape his wrath. The only way their children would have escaped God's wrath was if they made a personal choice to turn from their sin and place their faith in God for themselves.

I remember attending a Bible study one time, and the man leading the Bible study told us of his testimony growing up in the home of unbelievers. Both of his parents were not religious, and he himself grew up to be non-religious. The only reason why he became religious was because he heard the gospel for himself, and he made a personal choice to believe on Jesus Christ for his salvation.

A woman once called into a radio program led by Bob Larson asking for help to deliver her from Satanism. She was demon possessed, and as she tried to speak to Bob Larson over the phone, the demon began to manifest himself and to speak with another voice through her. Bob Larson addressed the devil, and as he was talking to the devil about the woman accepting Jesus Christ, the devil responded, "She has not yet made that choice." Bob Larson responded, "She will make that choice." She later did make that choice and she was saved (See the video "Demon Possession Is Real!")

My friends, people have to make their own choice to become a Christian. It is not something you are born into. John the Baptist appears to be an exception, but an exception that God made because he chose John for a specific purpose. All of us have to believe in Jesus Christ for ourselves.

The Bible says, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" - Romans 10:14

So although it is true that many people have a better chance at getting saved when they are raised in a godly home, it is not always a guarantee. Which is why we must pray in faith for our children to be saved. It is God's will that all men be saved.

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