“This won’t last. You’ll get over it. It’s just a phase,” said my roommate Bill when I told him I decided to follow Jesus. That was 41 years ago today, August 20, 1972, and I’m still waiting for it to wear off. It hasn’t. I guess it’s because it’s not an “it,” it’s a “him.” He hasn’t decided to go away and fortunately I haven’t asked him to.
When we were leaving the church meeting where I went to the altar and gave my heart to Jesus, I said to my girlfriend, “I don’t think anyone will have to tell me how to do this. I can feel him inside, and I think he’s going to show me his way.” I had no idea of how much he would do just that. It’s an inside job he does, and he does it well. He’s been nothing but good to me for all these years.
We don’t use the term “saved” very much these days, and that’s OK with me as long as whatever words we do use to describe “salvation” – indicate how nuclear is this experience of transformation from the inside out by the Re-Creator. “New birth, regeneration, conversion” are words the Bible uses. I usually say stuff like: “I met Jesus” or “I decided to follow Jesus” when “Jesus came into my life and changed me from the inside out.”
I’m not nearly the hairsplitter I once was about terminology. But if we’re going to make up our own 21st Century nomenclature for the miracle of salvation we’d want to be careful to keep it a miracle. It’s still a salvation. We’ve been “saved” from something to somewhere and to Someone. The whole thing is amazing! That God would want us to know him, want us as his friends, to forgive us and infuse us with his nature, so we can live like him here and reside with him there is an absolute wonder! I wonder a lot about it. I wonder why he does it, why he did it to me, how he keeps doing it.
I’ve always liked making up definitions for theological concepts. I call them “Wigetisms.”
- Justification is God’s righteous way of righteoussing the unrighteous with his righteousness.
- Regeneration is not the change of something in us or the removal of something from us, but the addition of something to us – the divine nature.
- Sanctification is the progressive utilization of the divine nature imparted at new birth.
While I think it’s important to have some concept of such momentous realities, I’d rather possess the realities than be able to define them.
Some people get it sooner and others later. Some get it dramatically and others matter-of-factly. For some, it’s a gradual thing, and for others it’s explosive. I got it sooner, dramatically and explosively most likely because I needed it that way so I’d have something to anchor me when tempted to drift.
I’ve been, am being, and will be saved – and proud of it (more like proud of him)! 41 years ago today I got on this ride, strapped myself in, and began a breathtaking adventure with Jesus – my Savior!
Lord, thank you for saving me.