A heavenly transaction
This is Part 7 of my personal reflection series 35 years a saint. You can read my introduction here.
So there I was, a new creation. Ta da! You know that dance scene at the end of the original “Footloose” that’s all sparkles and music and exhilaration? That’s what my salvation experience was like. I heard a celestial chorus, my kitchen table was enveloped in a dazzling brilliance, and in an unbridled expression of euphoria I got up and danced on it.
Don’t believe me? You are smart.
Here’s how it really went down. I had become convinced that no amount of good deeds could save me but that I only needed to submit to God in faith to count myself among his children and be with him in heaven forever. So I simply told him that I knew I needed the salvation he was freely offering and I was gratefully receiving it. Amen. That was about the long and short of it and I was okay with the lack of drama (though the sparkles would have been nice).
I imagine a lot of non-Christians have mistaken impressions about what it means to be “saved” and what transpires to move an individual “from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.” Even Christians have major disagreements among ourselves about the particulars. Here’s the way I understand it, and I’ll give my supporting Scripture references at the bottom:
First of all, I’m referring here to those who are able to acknowledge that they sin and choose to submit to God. The salvation of infants and children is handled differently.
Our failure to perfectly act in line with God’s will is sin and brings death to our soul. I won’t pretend to understand how that works or how we can be alive physically but dead spiritually, but that’s what the Bible teaches. It is helpful to recognize that as physical death is a separation of the soul from the body, spiritual death is a separation of the soul from God.
This separation from God is why we need saving because if we die in that state we will be forever separated.
When we acknowledge our predicament and submit our will to God’s, he applies the payment Jesus made for all through his death on the cross to our debt incurred by sin.
This application of payment, this discharging of debt is a transaction in time and is coincidental with the heavenly rebirth of our soul when God seals the deal by giving us his Spirit. This is the “born again” experience and it is one every Christian has, whether they were ever aware of it or not.
With the gracious gift of God’s divine nature when we believe and submit, we become new creations and more importantly, adopted into his family as his beloved children never to be separated from him for all eternity.
So that’s what happened to me on an afternoon in January 1987. As unremarkable as the event appeared in the physical realm, in the spiritual realm angels were kicking up their heels like Ren and Ariel in “Footloose.” Well….they were rejoicing anyway. And though my experience was an emotional one as I fought back tears for the recognition of my longing realized, I didn’t feel any different afterwards. Not immediately. Eventually though I noticed some real changes inside that I could only account for in light of my new Spirit….