Saturday, March 21, 2009

I Don't Know!

No, I haven't become an agnostic! But I am compelled to write a brief note here concerning something that at one time in my life was absolutely earthshaking, & I'm not even sure that fully explains the importance it carried in my mind at that time. It was literally a matter of life & death to me. The issue I refer to is knowing the exact time that I was born again. There was a time in my young Christian life in which I had heard that unless a person knows the exact time he or she was saved, that it is very likely the person is not saved! For whatever reason, I uncritically accepted it at that time as truth & feverishly tried to delve into my past (what a waste of time!) to figure out the exact moment so I could have assurance! Talk about a total waste of time & energy, but I spent years, yes I said years, trying to do just that. It literally spent much of my spiritual as well as physical energy. Then, I heard of some very well-known Christians say that they could not point to an exact time, & for a brief moment I experienced a euphoric relief! But, whether it was ingrained habit, or just my rabid introspective nature, I went back to hunting down that elusive exact moment! Then not too long ago, I ran across the teaching ministry of a dear brother who is with the Lord now. His name is Chester, or as he was known, Chet, McCalley. Great Bible expositor. He founded & pastored a Bible Church in Kansas City for nearly or maybe it was over 40 years before his Homegoing. There is a great web site for his teachings in audio format, http://www.wordoftruth.net/. He made a statement that really hit home for me. In a lesson on some Bible truth, I forget what it was now, he made the off-hand statement that he had absolutely no idea when he was born again, & then he made an even more startling statement! He said he was very thankful that he did not know! I thought, "I sure would like to know why you are glad!" Then he told us! I hope any of you fellow strugglers who may be dealing with this will hear what he said next. His reasoning was that he thought if he did have an idea, he would make a "shrine" out of that time, & never move on with the Lord. That is not his exact words, but it is the jist of what he said. It reminds me of the bronze snake Moses had put on the pole for the bitten Israelites to look at in faith & be healed back in Numbers 21 that the people of Israel in later times had made an idol out of & worshipped it! Nehushtan good king Hezekiah called it & then summarily destroyed it! I am not sure but I do think I know my heart well enough that if I did know the exact time, I may almost worship it as well, & never really live in the present & look to the future while walking daily with Christ. I still don't do that anywhere near as much as I would like, but I am learning to trust God with the exact time & just rejoice in His salvation through Christ & hopefully tell as many about it as possible.

Before I end this post, may I say that if you do know the exact date & time, then praise the Lord! You have a great gift as well, & there is certainly nothing wrong with that! Every soul is unique & we have our own needs that God is certainly aware of & sensitive to. He knows how to get our attention & what we need. I just wanted to make that clear before I concluded.

OK, this short note turned into a long one, but I just wanted to share that in case anyone else may be going through something similar. If not, then I guess the Lord knew I just needed to get it off my chest! May the Lord bless you all!

24 comments:

bossmanham said...

Interesting perspective. I have a bit different situation in that I have two different times I could be considered saved. One when I was 4, and another back in 2004, when I recommitted my life to Jesus. I guess it depends on what you do with eternal security. Through my high school years I sure didn't act like a Christian, so who knows? Only God.

I keep the date in 2004 in my Bible to help defeat any attacks launched by the evil one, so if I ever question my salvation, I can go to that day and know I am secure in Christ.

For some people, their conversion date may truly become a bump in the road of their spiritual growth, and for others I think it is good that they know the specific date so their spiritual life is not hindered from attacks by the devil.

So while the specific day isn't necessarily clear to me, it doesn't really matter because I know I have salvation through my Lord and savior Jesus Christ now.

Z said...

very interesting, David..thanks for this.
I have NO CLUE as to a date or even a year, imagine? Born, "Christian" and all that, but I never had an altar call moment, or anything like that. I started a Bible study and the Word just opened itself to me and, suddenly, I knew it's true and that was that.
Every once in a while, like a LOT lately, I've had an almost doubtless time, which used to be rare........it's a great gift and blessing. And a closer relationship with Him, that's for sure. That, I'd say, has REALLY only been the last few months..big changes. We CAN make idols of bizarre stuff and, I suppose a date could become that.....

Bossmanham's comment is interesting, too...I like the thought of going back to that date and remembering, affirming, so to speak. Since I have no date, either way works for me.

BIG blessings to you, David...I love when you stop by geeeeZ! THANK YOU xx

Bhedr said...

Hey brother!

Yes I struggled with this as well as I made so many isle walks growing up attempting to get right with God, but my soul found peace whenever I sang the hymn it is well with my soul and got to the line: "My sin, oh the bliss, of this glorious cross, my sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul. It is well with my soul."

Such relief came to me by understanding the finished work of the cross and I like to call that an eternal day as I really can't pin it down, but because of the cross I know that it is finished and I belong to the king brother and have new life because he rose again and lives within my heart...Praise God.

A lot of truth to what your proffessor says. This is what Pastor Steve McVey talks about in the book Gracewalk and arrives at the same conclusion as your proffessor at the end of the book.

Grace upon grace,

Brian

David Wyatt said...

Bossmanham,

It is good to meet you. You have some very sound arguments. Thank you for coming by & I hope it is not your last visit!

Z,

Thank you for gracing this humble blog again. Thank you for your comments as well. You know, the most important thing is that we have trusted in Christ alone at one time, because He gives eternal life to those who trust Him for that gift!

Bro. Brian! As always you have blessed my heart. I know you have struggled with this before since you have been so transparent. I appreciate your thoughts. Praise God for Jesus & His sacrifical death & resurrection for us! Though I have strugled & I know that due to the weakness of my flesh I may do so again, but I must say that more than anything in life, I know that I have believed in Christ as my all-sufficient savior, & that it is certain that I have eternal life, all due to Him & all praise to Him! Now I just want to know Him better! God Bless you all.

Susannah said...

Great post! It's got me thinking...You know, when we obsess about things like that, we (true to our nature) make our walk with the Lord all about us. We forget - as you so rightly said - that the Lord knows how to get our attention (& like bossmanham says, each person needs to know the security of it a bit differently). However, when we obsess about minutia, we forget that HE is the one always calling & seeking us FIRST - not the other way around.

Oh what a relief that salvation doesn't depend on me finding God! Oh what a tender thing that He finds me - over & over. All I have to do is answer. My, my, what a wonderful Lord we have. Hallelujah, indeed!

(Great to see you here, Z!)

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

David, thank you for the kind words you left on my post, "A Letter To My Father, From His."

God bless.

BZ

David Wyatt said...

Susannah,

Thank you for you kind note! It certainly is true that before we ever sought God He was seeking us! When His Spirit convicts us of our unbelief, He also points us to the Savior in Whom alone we find salvation!

BZ,

It is always good to hear from you. Thank you for stopping in. I enjoy your blog as well. May the Lord bless.

Dave said...

Hello Dave,

I guess I never had problems in this area. I used to belong to a church from 84-87 that taught that a person cold lose their salvation. So if I was to pin-point when I was saved then then it would have been June 1st, July 15th, July 30th, August 10th, September 1st, October 19th and so on. Every time I messed up spiritually then I questioned if I lost my salvation then and would need to be saved again.

I honestly cannot say when I was saved. Was I saved in 1984 at a Baptist church even though I hardly even understood anything? Was I saved later after coming out of the Wesleyan style church in 1987?

This I do know and that is what I believe now. I know that I am trusting Christ apart from any works to save me. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Christ died for me. I know without a shadow of a doubt that when Christ said on the cross, "It is finished" is when I clearly heard Jesus saying, "For David, It is finished" and to such a statement I simply said "Amen!!" Christ death for me was a very personal experience. I knew that I was a sinner that was hell-bound and all I could do was throw myself upon Him as my only hope of salvation.

The casting of my whole self upon Christ did not happen until I left that Wesleyan movement. I do believe that it was 1987 that I was genuinely saved, but I do not know for sure. God did not knock me down on Damascus road so it is hard to pin point an exact date. I believe it was in June or July of 1987 when I trusted Him. Again, all I know is whom I have believed and am persuaded as Paul worded so wonderfully to keep that which I committed unto Him against that day.

The question is whether you know you have trusted the totality of the saviorhood of Christ for salvation and not a specific date. Remember, those that ask for a specific date are often asking whether you can recall the day you prayed "the sinner's prayer." The sinner's prayer never saves but only a Person. I am weary asking someone for a specific date because they often referred to an experience or a prayer without telling me about the Person that they have come to trust. If a person knows that they have trusted in the totality of the saviorhood of Christ then the exact date is meaningless. That is my opinion.

I enjoyed your blog very much!!!

In Christ,

Dave

Dave said...

Hello again Dave,

I need to clarify one of my above paragraphs that said:

"I honestly cannot say when I was saved. Was I saved in 1984 at a Baptist church even though I hardly even understood anything? Was I saved later after coming out of the Wesleyan style church in 1987?"

I attended a Baptist church briefly in 1984 for about 3 to 4 months. 1984 was my freshman year in high school. I met an old friend that I haven't seen in a few years that convinced me about his church. I ended up going to his church for a few years.

My paragraph made it sound as though I was calling my Baptist church as having a Wesleyan type of theology when I didn't mean that. I ended up going back to that baptist church again from that other Wesleyan church in 1987.

Steve Dehner said...

Summer of 1982. That's as close as I can come to the time I believed in Christ. Can't even tell you the month, but when I realized I believed, I knew I was saved!

Not knowing when means not knowing that you are? That's crazy talk. That's like saying that if you don't know your birthday, you don't exist.

Great post, David!

David Wyatt said...

Brothers Dave & Steve!

Great insights! Thank you both so much for posting. You don't know how much it means to me to have great brothers such as yourselves to think enough of this humble blog to post excellent insights as you have.

Dave, I agree about the "sinner's prayer." Some really do mean they trusted in Christ alone at that time, but others I fear use it as a magic formula or such.

Steve! You are so right about the birthday issue! I agree. God Bless you both! I certainly enjoy your blogs as well. God Bless.

goe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Wyatt said...

Bro. Gary,

That is wonderful! God Bless you & thank you for your encouragement to me as well.

Rivka said...

O.K. I do have a month, date and even know where I was when I decided to give the reigns of my life to Christ. It was a long process of God drawing me to the point where I was tired of controlling my life. I believed for a long time, I just didn't give him the reigns. NOW.. THAT SAID, we can get into a bunch of theological stuff here, but I ALSO think that one can know Christ and NOT know the day and time. It is different for everyone.

A good thing to do is to look at the testimonies in scripture. Paul's is pretty dramatic. He is on his way to Damascus with a list of Christians to drag into court to be tortured and killed and then encounters Jesus and comes back a Christian. I mean, this guy killed Christians and approved of Stephen's stoning death. Sheesh!! Is that a transformation or what!!

I don't think Paul had time to sift through 'making a decision for Christ', he literally went from hating Christians and Jesus one second to encountering Jesus the next and that was it.

I am getting WAY too wordy.. Got to go so I can clean my house today!

Rivka said...

By the way, I am in the process if getting my testimony approved for 'unshackled', so thanks for the info. on that David!

David Wyatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Wyatt said...

Rivka,

(I had to re-post this becuase of so many typos!)

Thank you again for coming by! You know I think a lot of believers had trusted Christ for salvation, & then later on just tired of trying to live the Christian life in their own strength & just ended up like Paul in Romans 7, wretched! We'll likely never have the "reins of our lives" given 100% to Christ as long as we're in the flesh in this fallen world. The Holy Spirit faithfully helps us see areas that we need to give over to Him as we grow in grace & knowledge of Christ, but I sure am thankful that I know His grace is sufficient to save & keep me! That is exciting to hear that your testimony may soon be on "Unshackled!" Please let me know when it will be scheduled! You are a blessing. God Bless.

Z said...

Thanks, Susannah...we need to get David to post more often, he's terrific! (hint hint!) xxx
God bless you, dear David

goe said...

David,

I agree with Z. Great post and one I can really relate to since I don't know the time or place when I first came to "believe in the Son." But I know I do now. Hallelujah 'Tis Done! I didn't realize there were so many others like me who don't know but it's encouraging! God bless!

David Wyatt said...

Thank you Z. You are such a blessing to me.

Bro. Gary, it is encouraging to knowwe're not alone isn't it? I remember when i had noticed quite a few whom I considered well-known believers sayu they did not know the exact date or place of their conversion, & it was a relief to me! As you say, knowing that we are saved now is most important. God Bless you my brother!

namaste said...

hi david. i don't have an email for you so i'm leaving a note here. yes, i read about that awful shooting in north carolina. i am so very sorry about that senseless tragedy for the patients and workers. and how terrifying for the surviving residents. you are all in my prayers.

blessings.

~maria

David Wyatt said...

Thank you Maria for your prayers. I know the families appreciate them & can use all they can get. Only our wonderful Savior can bring any good at all out of this senseless tragedy & we trust Him to do it. God Bless you!

David Summer said...

David,
Good post, also very interesting in that I can point to the date and approximate time. It was around 8:00 PM 30 years ago today, April 19, 1979. Doesn't make me any better or worse a disciple or Christian than those who can't circle the date on their calendar.
As a disciple, much more important than the ability to point to the day of one's birth may be the ability to answer, "how is your relationship TODAY?"
As a Christian, much more important than the ability to point to the day of one's birth is the ability to answer in the affirmative, "are you born again?"
Thanks for the opportunity to share my $.02
Because He Lives,
David

David Wyatt said...

Brother David! So glad to have you visit this humble blog! Happy spiritual birthday, also! You make some excellent points, especially concerning the validity of one's personal salvation being no better or worse just because they can or cannot pinpoint the exact time. You are a blessing & I hope you return. May the Lord bless you!