Experience

Over at Internet Monk, there is an open conversation about whether or not experience is an important part of salvation.

My own response, (which probably is a repeat of what others have said):

In my own experience, sudden, momentous experiences have not been the norm.  Growing up in a Baptist church and going to a Baptist college, most people when sharing their testimony desperately try to pinpoint a specific time when “gettin’ saved” happened, because thats what they think is supposed to happen.  However, most of them make it pretty clear, that they through much time and thought and life realized, I believe in this guy and I’m following him, I’m not sure when it really started, but here I am.  I think thats the way it happens with most people.  Certainly one can have an experience where they were faced with a choice, “do i really believe this or not?” or “should I make this public right now or not?” or “if I believe all of this, then i shouldn’t be doing ____,” and that kind of thing, but I think its something that happens within the context of a process.

John Piper said once, “A decision for Christ isn’t nearly as important as a life for Christ.”  Even in the gospels, the disciples highly irrational decisions to follow Christ, but was that the actual salvation experience? It seems like it was a process for them too.

The New Testament seems to focus quite a bit more on where we are in the present rather than what experiences we’ve had in the past.  Take the entirety of 1 John, for example.

The church I attended in college was a little light on teaching the gospel than it really should be, but the average new believer begins attending as a non-believer, begins to learn new things about Jesus and God, gets involved, begins to really follow Christ and then realizes “I guess I’m a Christian,” and gets baptized.  The ones who do that rarely turn away, its the ones who begin “following Christ” based on an emotional experience who often go astray.

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2 thoughts on “Experience

  1. I agree… I’ve always seen salvation as a process!
    The whole idea of making a decision to get “fire insurance” by echoing a few words, doesn’t show a life following Jesus. We do a great disservice to the faith by preaching a part of the gospel and neglecting the call to follow!

  2. Absolutely the Christian life is a a relationship-in-progress. So is marriage, but you will always remember and celebrate the day it began. Live the life, but don’t discount the experience. No doubt Peter and the group of believers at Pentecost never forgot that one day when the Holy Spirit came. No doubt Paul never forgot that one day he met Jesus on the road. No doubt Moses never forgot that one day he met I AM. No doubt Kortney will never forget the Christmas morning she asked Jesus into her heart. No doubt I will never forget February 6, 1994 sitting in a church in Strawplains and realizing that even though I was a ‘good church kid’ I really was a sinner who needed Jesus. Before that day I had 12 years of head knowledge of who Jesus was. But that one day I met Him. I continue to learn more about Him and be amazed by Him, but that relationship began that one day.

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