A friend asked me a good question the other day. After reading my first post he turned to me and said, “when were you saved?”
I was at a loss for words, which if you know me at all, is unusual. After thinking a few minutes, I told him I wasn’t sure. Not that I’m not sure I’m saved, just not exactly when.
Let me explain. I can point to three times in my life that God got hold of me.
The first time I was maybe 5 years old. Having been raised in church and in Sunday school since infancy, it seemed normal for me to answer an altar call that day. I know there were many discussions in the church as to whether I was too young to know what I was doing. I don’t think I was. I knew that I loved Jesus and that He loved me.
The second time I was 17. I was still in church but I sure wasn’t living like a believer. I had , shall we say, ethical issues of a guy/girl nature. I had one language for church, and another away from it. But, most of all, I had decided to never trust anybody but me for my safety. After getting beat up a couple years before, I vowed to never be a victim again. So, at any given time I had as many as 3 or 4 blades on me. Everything from a razor blade case cutter to a machete in a sheath down my back. Even a 6 inch hunting knife in a sheath up my sleeve. That summer I visited my brother in Oregon and while listening to his pastor preach one Sunday night God spoke to me and convinced me that my safety was in Him not me. I remember going to the car and putting away all the blades that I had. To me, that was an act of sacrifice. I stayed in church and became the perfect hypocrite. While I said the right things and could discuss doctrine with the best of ’em, my inward and home life was horrible. I think I truly believed but I had no clue about putting it into practice.
The third time I was 31. As a direct result of my hypocritical and abusive lifestyle, my wife called me one day to let me know that she had no intention of staying with me. She hit me in a way that she knew would hurt me most. This drove me back to Him and I finally let Him remold and start to rebuild.
Back to the question. Sitting there, mulling this over, I came to the conclusion that it really doesn’t matter that I know when I was saved, just that I am. To worry about when it happened and try to ‘pick’ which of the three times was ‘real’ is a waste of energy.
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:10-11 (NIV)