I have been a Christian for 25 years or 10 years depending on how you want to count it and depending on what soteriology you prescribe to.
Now some of you are saying, “it is only the first sentence of the article and you have already lost me,” right? You may be confused because I used the word soteriology. Others of you may be confused because I can’t give you the date and time when I crossed over from death to life. And some of you are confused by both. For those of you who were confused by the word soteriology here is all you need to know, it is the snobby way of saying, “how one receives salvation.” For the ones confused by the fact that I can’t give you my exact moment of conversion, well… join the club. It confuses me too.
I know when and where I was born. March 21, 1987 around 5:00am in Clinton, MO. That moment is a concrete and a documented event. You can look at my birth certificate, it will tell you. But the truth is, I don’t have such a record of my rebirth. My testimony is more like a journalist trying to tell the story of a tree that fell in the woods that no one saw. He could confirm the fact that the tree is laying on the ground and can thus conclude that at some time it fell over, but it would be impossible for him to give us a moment by moment depiction of what occurred when it fell over and what caused it to happen. And so it is with the moment of my salvation.
If I am honest this used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. At times I (as well as others) would question the genuineness of my conversion because of the lack of ability to give a time and place. While I sometimes wish I could provide a detailed account of this event and that it was something visibly miraculous like Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:1-19 I have become OK (if not in love with) the fact that I can answer with a much more simple, “God chose me.”
When someone asks, “how did you become a believer?” the only answer I have is “God chose me.”
What’s my testimony? “God chose me.”
How old was I when I was born again? “I don’t know, God chose me.”
My conversion was a miracle, not unlike Paul’s. However, it was invisible in the moment, while being every bit as potent. How then do I know that I am saved? If I can’t point to the moment I crossed from death to life how do I know it happened? Simple. In the words of Lecrae, “My whole life changed.”
Whether I was saved at the front of First Baptist Church when I was 5 years old or if it was sometime when I began pursuing a deep personal relationship with God when I was 20 there is one thing I know; I once lived by the flesh and now I live according to the Spirit.
See I know I am a believer because the most powerful of all miracles happened to me. My cold dead heart began to beat. My desires began to align with God’s desires. My mind was transformed. I realized just how much nothing I am absent from His grace. My heart for others’ salvation and for their relationship’s with God grew. I began to loath sin and was granted the grace and power to put it to death in my life. When I would sin (and when I still do) I would become convicted about it and ask for the Lord to forgive and free me from it. I gained a heart to be around the body of believers. I developed a heart to worship God both in songs of praise and acts of obedience. I experienced the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including some of the ones that make people uncomfortable like visions, dreams, healings, speaking in tongues, prophecies and such (Please note that I don’t think the experience of any one specific of these gifts is necessary in order to maintain or gain salvation).
But more importantly than all of these evidences is the one thing that only I can know for sure. I talk and walk with God in Holy communion. It is a real communion, one where I hear from God and know He hears me. This is not audible nor is it 100% tangible, but it is more real to me than the physical world. For me the idea that God doesn’t exist, or that I am not under His grace nor been adopted as a child of His is more ludicrous than saying I wasn’t born or that my parents aren’t real and that they didn’t bear me and raise me.
None of this is to say that the salvation testimony (had by so many), which is able to be narrowed down to a specific time and place is some how fake or less than. But I would rather have an invisible miracle that is accompanied by a transformed life, than a visible miracle that is absent from said life.
For me, the evidence of salvation is proof of salvation. And that is more than satisfying.
So, for those of you who find yourself like me and are not able to define the moment of salvation, don’t fret. Instead, examine the fruit of your life and try to recall life before you started following Christ. Is it different? Can you honestly say that you walk with and talk with the Lord on a regular basis? If so, then live life free from the fear of hell and marvel in the miracle of your salvation.