Do you remember your day of salvation? Has it become a faded memory or does it seem like yesterday?
In reflecting on the power of the gospel, we can find many reasons to be grateful. Today, I want to look specifically at the day God saved us.
Dramatic salvation stories
Some of us have dramatic conversion stories. I love hearing about times when God rescues people from drug addictions, lives of crime, or absolutely misery.
During a 3-month tour in India, I met Elijah (name changed). He grew up fated to become a Hindu guru, the same as his father, his grandfather, and many generations before him. It was his destiny, but he felt anxious. It seemed pointless, but he couldn’t articulate why. Over time his despondency increased to the point where he determined to commit suicide.
He planned to step in front of a freight train one evening. On the way, a bright star appeared in the sky. He couldn’t take his eyes off of it. It seemed to point to a house so he followed the path. He eventually arrived at the home of some missionaries he knew lived in the area, but he never met them before this day.
He explained his quandary and asked them for help. They shared the gospel of Jesus Christ and he immediately responded with gratefulness. His life changed overnight. When he told his family, they immediately threatened to kill him, so he moved out of the area. When I met him he beamed with joy though he was now living in relative poverty.
I also love the story of Bilquis Sheikh in her miraculous salvation story called, “I Dared to Call Him Father.” She grew up a Muslim until Jesus revealed himself to her through a dream which led to her salvation and her expulsion from her family.
Perhaps, your story feels less dramatic. Maybe the consequences didn’t require you to lose your earthly family. It doesn’t matter. Your story is just as dramatic.
Why is salvation so amazing?
John Newton traded slaves for a living. He eventually gained the reputation of a harsh man and an unrepentant sinner. His salvation story provides the perfect illustration of God’s amazing grace. John Newton wrote the hymn Amazing Grace (read more about it here).
“My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.”John Newton
What’s so amazing about grace? Those of us with dramatic salvation stories find it easier to believe this. But if you grew up in the church, always hearing the gospel, it may not seem quite so amazing.
5 things to remember about our salvation
#1: Salvation is a gift.
We didn’t earn or deserve salvation. By definition, a gift is something given without the expectation of reciprocity.
I commented to my brother one year that we couldn’t afford to exchange Christmas gifts. He immediately responded, “it’s not about the gifts.” Likewise, we can’t repay God for his love. He freely gave us salvation as a gift.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast”Eph. 2:8-9
#2: Salvation was given while we were still sinners.
God searches the earth to find anyone who is perfectly righteous and he finds no one. Except for Jesus.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
#3: God chose us. Period. We contributed nothing.
“He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy”Titus 3:5
#4: We were dead in our sins.
In case you’re confused, Paul reminds us over and over that, we were dead in our sins (Rom. 6:13), but now we are alive in Christ. We didn’t contribute anything. God chose us before we could ever do anything.
#5: We all deserve death and eternal punishment.
Paul very clearly taught that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
How does this lead to gratefulness?
Remembering our salvation keeps us humble. If we received salvation as a gift, we will remain grateful and understand it can never be repaid.
May we not be like the unforgiving debtor Jesus described in Matthew 18:21-35. This man faced a debt far beyond his means so he begged forgiveness from the king. Upon release, he found a fellow servant who owed him a much lesser debt and demanded repayment. When the king heard about the unforgiving servant, he became furious and sent him to prison for his lack of mercy.
Write down your salvation story in your journal. Take a few minutes to thank God for rescuing you. If you feel inspired, write a song, a poem, or sing a song that reminds you of the amazing truth of God’s grace.
Lord, I remember the day my heart leaped when I heard the good news of your free gift of salvation. I wanted it so badly. Forgive me for the days when I take this gift for granted. May I remain constantly and eternally grateful for this gift of life. I don’t understand why you chose me, but I am so thankful you did. Keep teaching me to be grateful. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.