I recently got into a discussion on Twitter with a pastor in Georgia that I don't know about a topic that can bother me at times. His argument was that true Christians should have a definite salvation experience that they can point to. He said he based his argument on the salvation experiences we see in the New Testament. I, however, do not agree with him.
I was raised in church. My parents had me there every time the doors were open. From a very young age, I've known about God. The only time I did not regularly attend a specific church was for a season in college. I am now a student pastor at a Southern Baptist Church. I will confidently tell you now that I have a flourishing relationship with Jesus, but I am not 100 percent sure when my actual moment of salvation was.
I made my first profession of faith at age eight. I was very young and I knew that I didn't want to go to hell. At age eight, not a lot changes about your life after making that profession, at least it didn't in mine. I actually wrestled with being sure of my salvation on and off from eight until age 16. If I had to point to a salvation experience, it would be that moment at 16, but I can't confidently hang my hat on that.
Between 18 and probably what would be 23 or 24 I had a pretty persistent pattern of sin in my life. I would even tell you that there was a season in college where I just flat out rebelled against God. There was a moment though that God wrecked me in this sin and brought me to my knees. He broke me. Was that my point of salvation? Maybe? Maybe sanctification from 16 through these years was just very slow. I honestly don't know and I am ok with that.
What I do know is that now, at age 31, my heart treasures Christ. He is what I want. He is what brings my heart joy. That He would save a wretch like me is hard to fathom. The Holy Spirit bears witness to me that I've been adopted into God's family. I desire to live for Christ no matter the cost. I say that boldly and confidently despite not knowing my exact moment of salvation.
The church was just getting started in the New Testament. Those salvation experiences we encounter come from adults by-in-large and those in their households. There wasn't a church culture to grow up in yet.
We also must ask, "What about babies and small children?" David seemed confident he would see his new born baby again when it passed away. This baby did not have a definite salvation experience it could point to or even a definite faith in the future promise of a Savior that it could point to.
The apostles themselves aside from Paul had no definite conversion experience that we know of, just a call to follow Jesus. In this article J.D. Greear helpfully says this, "Conversion is a posture we take toward the declarations that Scripture makes about Jesus. The point is not how we felt or what we said at the moment of conversion; the point is the posture we are in now." The point is that our lives exhibit a change of heart, desire, and affections and Christ is our treasure and we are following Him.
Maybe I'm wrong. A previous church I went to taught that salvation had a point and was then a process. They said everyone should have that point (conversion experience) they could identify. Maybe they and the Georgia pastor are right, but for now, I don't think so.
I'd love to know what you think! Feel free to continue the discussion in the comment section or on social media.