I Am Who I Am
“It’s natural because the animals do it.”
“I was born this way and God doesn’t make mistakes.”
If the way you were born is the way God meant you to be, why did Jesus insist “you must be born again.”? Why is the Christian walk about all of us – every human on Earth – needing to be born again?
You Are Not All That
Let me be blunt: the Christian faith is unique among the world faiths because it is the only one that not only tells you you fundamentally suck, but that nothing you do – nothing at all – will change the reality that you suck, and will never be good enough to exist in God’s presence on your own. There are softer, gentler, more P.C. ways of phrasing that, of course, but given the growing apostasy in the Christian church I feel it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Other world religions teach that you can do the right things, perform the right works, and make yourself “good enough” to earn the prize. Islam is a works-based faith where you do the right things, and follow the five pillars and you will receive Allah’s favor and admission to paradise. Buddhism is a works-based faith where you follow the eight-fold path, do the right things and deny self and desire, bring no suffering into the world, and you will achieve nirvana (which literally means not willing or not wanting). Hinduism is works-based faith and quest for getting off the great wheel or cycle of life, death and rebirth (called samsara), in order to achieve moksha, which is a type of heaven. Again, this is done through self-sacrifice, and practice of being “good” as defined by their holy texts.
All of this contrasts with Christianity which insists, that all humans are prideful, selfish, arrogant, self-absorbed and self-destructive creatures that really…if God ever let any one of us into Heaven, we would straight up ruin the perfection of the place. Can anyone deny the truth of this? Despite this frank pointing out of humanity’s flaws, Christians know that humans are loved – deeply loved – by God. Any parent understands the concept of loving a flawed being through all of their flaws. Children – especially the very young and teenagers – are typically very selfish, self-absorbed, sin-filled and sometimes downright crazy creatures. We love them anyway, because they are ours. As we are God’s, whose love for us is far greater still.
It’s All About YouSuggesting that we were “born this way” with certain desires, and so we should be accepted as is, is – quite frankly – an argument of pure selfish pride. Humans are born with plenty of desires that we must be taught to suppress or eliminate, like the desire to take whatever we want and have all the toys. Humans have “natural” desires for satisfying all kinds of outrageous lusts of the flesh, sexual and otherwise, and some downright deviant like pedophilia. We are born with the innate desire and drive to use our strength over others to beat them into submission if necessary. No one claims “I was born inherently violent and wanting to beat and rape all women I see, so you should just accept it.” To that and all other “natural” desires, Jesus Christ says – you must be born again.
You Must Be Born Again
This is elementary. It is Step One of Christian faith and practice: to admit your own suck, to be sorry for it, and to acknowledge that you yourself cannot overcome it. This is where the good news of the Gospel comes into play. That God Himself saw our helpless state and decided to sacrifice Himself to overcome the sin natures we were born with. It doesn’t mean we become perfect upon salvation, rather it is an admission that we need Him, and are willing to let Him change us. Without that submission, without that admission of guilt, one will not be allowed into Heaven’s perfection to ruin it by holding on to the sinful ways they were born with.
You must be transformed.
You must be renewed.
You must be born again.
Claiming to be a follower of Christ while also claiming “it’s okay ’cause I was born this way,” is pure contradiction. You cannot be a follower of both Christ and your own nature.