A significantly modified version of this post appeared at the Boundless Blog. You can find that here. (I like them both.)
I was sitting in the church service when I heard the preacher say something that made me cringe: “If you can’t remember the day you gave your heart to Jesus, then you probably never were saved in the first place.”
I didn’t hear a lot of people say “amen,” probably because they were too busy trying to figure out if they were really going to Heaven. And I sure didn’t say “amen,” because I don’t think it lined up with what the Bible says about salvation.
Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:16). I think it’s interesting that Jesus used the metaphor of birth to help us understand salvation.
I don’t remember the day I was born, and you don’t either. The reason: newborn babies don’t have the capacity to understand what’s happening to them when they come into the world. And I think that’s true of a lot of Christians as well. They grow up in the faith, they agree with the beliefs of their parents, and eventually, they embrace those beliefs for themselves.
When are those folks saved? Are they saved the day they say the sinner’s prayer? No, the Bible doesn’t say anything about a prayer saving anyone. Are they saved the day they believe? Well, yes (Acts 16:31) – but for a lot of us, it’s really hard to tell when exactly that first happened.
That doesn’t provide a satisfying answer for most of us, though – we want to be able to point to a moment when we can say, without a doubt, that Jesus saved us. Okay then, here’s an idea: the next time another Christian asks you when you were saved, don’t get antsy if you don’t remember the exact day (or year) it happened.
Just tell them it happened one day 2,000 years ago on a hill in Palestine. If that doesn’t convince them, nothing will.