Let me start this piece by asking you a very important question before I forget, are you saved? When I ask that question, I am asking not whether you have ever stood out for alter call or recited the statement of confession initiated by your pastor, I want to know if you you are genuinely born again and not just bearing Christian names or going to church.
When we read newspapers or listen to radio, we are saddened to know that majority of the names of people perpetrating series of unprecedented and unimaginable evil are those who called themselves Christians. So, when I ask that question, you should know where I am coming from.
How can I be sure that you are really saved if you tell me you are and how can you also be certain of your salvation status? The answer lies in the trajectory of your salvation journey and experience. When a person is said to be saved, it has to be from something or someone. The reason why it is called born again is because we have already been born into something the moment we opened our eyes to this world at birth. We were born into corruption and sin that the fallen nature inherited has caused. These natures are why we behaved certain depraved way exactly opposite God’s expectations until we have the experience of repentance at the cross. The measurement of transition from that experience of repentance at the cross into a full fledged eternal life of Christ is what gives us assurance that we have been saved and are indeed children of God. This is called Salvation experience.
Salvation experience is personal and unique just like trajectory of life for each person differs. Like Paul on his way to Damascus and Peter by the sea side, it is an unforgettable experience a Christian must have in order to be sure of their salvation. What kind of person were you before you met Christ? Are there things you would do without thinking twice before but that you won’t even dare think of now because of your new state of redemption? What has your encounter with Jesus taken away or added to you? Those are your salvation experiences.
Why is it important to pay attention to these experiences? Salvation experiences are important because they give us courage and strength to move forward in our spiritual journey without being disturbed by the old lifestyles. They empower us to help others who are just born into faith to find it easy to navigate similar experiences that God has helped us to overcome. These experiences will be explained in three detail ways so that we can examine ourselves and be sure of our salvation.
In legal terms, conviction is an art of declaring someone guilty by a judicial authority after cases against him has been proven true by every possible means. In Christian context, it is when the Holy spirit convince a man to see how despicable, dirty and unworthy of himself in the presence his creator and qualify for eternal death having transgressed the laws of God through the word of God being spoken. The one convicted sees himself as guilty of sin, realises that he cannot save himself in any way unless he accept the salvation that Jesus brings.
This kind of conviction can come through encounter with either of the Holy spirit as Jesus explained in John 16:8 that “when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” through spirit-inspired evangelism like the one led by Apostle Peter in Acts 2:37, “now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” or even by human conscience as demonstrated by Apostle Paul in Romans 2:14-15 concerning the gentiles that “when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another“. Whatever way it comes, what is important is the fact that a sinner is convicted in their heart that they are sinner.
But is everybody a sinner? Are you telling me that there are no good people who have not given their lives to Christ and be Christian? What about moralists, many of whose behaviours are far better than what we see many Christians do?
First, we must understand that sin and morality are not opposites, righteousness is. In fact, morality is an upgraded level of sin because not only does it judges human behaviour on rationalisation and what is good for the majority, it is subjected to invented human custom of a particular community. For instance, in some societies, incest marriage is morally right while in other, reverse is the case. In the olden days, it was moral in some cultures to sacrifice human beings like them in rituals but today, nobody will agree that that is moral. So, morality is not universal and we know that what is not universal cannot be used as yardstick to measure standards for entire humanity. This is why the law of God is the only eternal and universal measurement that all things is subjected to.
You don’t need salvation because you are a bad person, philosophers will tell you that being good or bad is subjective. What makes you a sinner is not necessarily what you do but who you are and what factors responsible for them since no one can act beyond their capability whether acquired or innate. In the same vein, the fact that someone bears a Christian name or goes to church or he is a child of General Overseer does not make them saved. When you read or listen to news you will hear stories of unimaginable atrocities being carried out by people who are associated with Christianity whether in name or title.
You need salvation because you are human who has a nature of sin as passed down to all of us since the great fall of man in Eden and also live in the world that has been corrupted by satanic manoeuvres. Having this fallen nature has disqualified you from reaching your full potential and be acceptable to God for mercy to live eternally with him when this world comes to an end but even if you want to try, the world you live in (though created perfectly by God) has been reconfigured, making it harder for your soul to find true rest and peace. Life outside Christ is a big burden and you don’t have that much strength to carry it all by yourself. This is why Jesus Christ is reaching out to you to come so that he can take you out of that filth into his perfect life of freedom and eternal life.
Nothing and no one can save you from eternal suffering that awaits those who deliberately ignore the call of God but Jesus. Allow the Holy spirit to convict your heart today so that you can see that which will make you realise how fallen you are in this sinful state that you count as enjoyment. He is the way to eternal life.
Confession is the outward sign of repentance. It points to desire to seek forgiveness from God through Christ who is described in John 1:9 as “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world”. This confession is done by mouth in agreement with the heart, Romans 10:9-10, “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”. This is the goal of that John the Baptist was working towards while preaching his message of repentance in preparation for the first coming of the lord in flesh.
A true and genuine confession brings comfort and gives sinners the freedom from the judgment of sin. For a saved Christian who commits sin, it is good to confess it, if possible to another Christian like themselves (James 5:16). By doing that, such Christian will be easily delivered of tendency to fall into such mistakes afterwards.
Confession of sin means accepting that you are guilty of sin and all its attached consequences with the help of the inspiration of Holy spirit through the word of God. Confession is directed to God and not to pastor, bishop or church ministers as has been done in some centuries past in some denominations. However, while we confess our sins to God, we, at the same time amend our ways before men. Altar call has become the most popular way for confession of sins in this generation but we must be careful not to allow the devil to use us to judge people for whom God has redeemed them simply because they publicly confess their sins.
Repentance goes beyond the feeling of remorse or regret for what has been done, it is the act of turning from the old sinful ways of death to new righteous way of life. Thus, we can say of such fellow that, “he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). It goes beyond just feeling sorry for one’s sin because feeling remorseful of sin without changing totally from them does not take away the wrath of the lord off the lives that lives in sin. Repentance must be so deep that one will ignore all entreaty to go back to that sin again.
Repentance is the summary of acknowledging sin for what it is, confessing it and turning a new leaf. It must be emphasised that repentance is personal and no one can assist another in doing it. God gave us His word that shows what sin and salvation is, He gave us Holy spirit to put truth inside us and arouse our conscience; nevertheless, the choice is always ours. God does not force His will on anybody but the choice before you is that of life and death, what will you choose?
I encourage you to choose life. Choose Jesus. It is never late to come to him. He keeps calling out to you, come.