Saved from Birth
We often talk about being sinners from birth. We inherit our sinful nature from our parents—it’s part of being human. Ultimately, we inherit it from Adam and Eve. We say that we aren’t sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners. It’s our nature. It’s a fundamental part of who we are. This is why the gospel is such good news. We can’t be good enough to pacify a holy God.
For our standing to be made right with God, something has to happen. The Bible frames it as a heart of stone being replaced with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). We also often hear that we are dead and God makes us alive (Ephesians 2:1-10, Colossians 2:13). This is the Christian experience. We can’t make ourselves right with God so something supernatural has to happen and we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
The last time I was reading the Gospel of Luke, something jumped out and shocked me. It was something I had never noticed before regarding John the Baptist. Luke 1:15 says of John, “for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb” (ESV). I had to read it a few times to make sure I read that right. John’s conversion happened before birth in his mother’s womb.
John is literally the only human we know of that this is the case for. We certainly see amazing conversions in the Bible such as Jesus confronting Paul on the road to Damascus and Philip being sent to the Ethiopian Eunuch. In all reality, when you think of a dead person being made alive, every conversion is amazing. However, what Luke tells us regarding John is especially spectacular because he explicitly states that John has been redeemed before he ever breathes his first breath.
I think this verse is meant to make us marvel at the incredible mercy and grace of God. It also serves to make us marvel at his power and ability to do whatever he wants. “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). We can’t put God in a box. He is amazing and he can do what he wants however he wants to do it. If he wants to save a sinner in the womb then he will. If he wants to blindside someone on the road then he will. If he wants to miraculously transport someone from one place to another to share the gospel with someone then he will. This is the amazing and one, true God of the universe.