Salvation in Space and Time
Ask a Calvinist when he was saved and he might take you back—waaaay back—to “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).
Nice one! Five points for being profound.
But we Calvinists need not always rewind so far. Truth is, there was a time when we were not Christians. When we were dead in our sins, under Satan’s sway and God’s wrath, unwilling and unable to love the Lord (Ephesians 2:1-3). It’s OK to acknowledge the true paradox of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility as they play out in space and time.
So recall that glorious moment when you made a decision—a very real decision—to repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Replay it often. Charles Spurgeon, reflecting on Isaiah 63:7, said,
Go back, then, a little way to the choice mercies of yesterday; though all may be dark now, light up the lamps of the past. They will glitter through the darkness, and you will trust in the Lord until the day break, and the shadows flee away.
What better mercies to remember than the day you were saved! Where in space and time were you? Do you remember the sounds, the smells, the songs?
Let’s rewind twenty years or so, to a Baptist church in England. On the church grounds, you’ll find a long path fringed with graves of saints gone by, and an old fallen tree, which the children treat as a playground. Inside you’ll see wooden pews infused with old church smells, and a small boy sitting with his parents and his redheaded older brother. After the sermon, you’ll hear a song about the cross. It’s the altar call—and the young boy is about to make a move.
That’s me. That’s where I was saved in space and time.
I remember feeling the Spirit prompt me to make a public commitment to Christ that day. But then I also heard Satan say, “Not now. Some other day.” I could almost see him perched between me and the pulpit, where Pastor Stew stood waiting, singing. At that moment I felt a sort of battle for my soul. Of course, Satan stood no chance. When God sets his sights on someone, it’s a done deal. As the last stanza resounded, I arose, plowed past the devil, and confessed my love for Christ. That night, my family celebrated over fish and chips. (Is there a more awesome way?) A few weeks later, I was baptized in a small indoor swimming pool shaped like a fish. Nothing’s been the same since.
Spurgeon was right. We should often revisit those “choice mercies of yesterday,” especially the day of salvation. For me, it was sometime in the late eighties, somewhere in the fields of Suffolk. A real day on the calendar. An actual place with GPS coordinates. I’d encourage you to take time to remember when you were saved. To marvel at the moment when God’s will and yours collided in space and time. Then, if you want, rewind a little farther—and marvel some more.