He had been to a funeral during which he began thinking about the condition of his soul. He knew that he was lost and wanted to be saved. Now, sitting on the shoulder of the highway in his truck, sin-burdened and guilt-ridden, he looked up into the sky and began pouring out his heart to God. On the radio a preacher was encouraging the listening audience to pray for salvation. The sky was the deepest blue he had ever seen. He could “feel” God’s presence. Then, it happened. In an instant, the Almighty filled his heart with peace. All the sin and guilt were taken away, and a sense of relief flooded his soul. He wept. He knew he was a changed man—saved from sin.
This is the “salvation experience” one man related to me. As he spoke, I noticed that something was conspicuously missing. He had not mentioned hearing the Gospel, being taught God’s Word, understanding God’s Will, or obeying the Gospel. His lack of Scriptural knowledge was obvious. He had never heard what the Scriptures teach about being saved from sin.
“But is that really necessary?” one may ask. “Does one really have to understand God’s Will?” The Bible answer is, yes. Jesus said, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (Matthew 13:15). Observe that these people would not convert because they failed to “hear with their ears” and “understand with their heart.” The implication is that one must hear and understand God’s Word in order to be converted.
Therefore, no one can be saved by feeling emotional, having an “experience,” crying, praying, kneeling at the mourner’s bench, pleading with God for salvation, or shouting. Rather, one must hear the Gospel, understand it, and obey it. Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). The man who told me his “salvation story” later did as the Lord instructs in this passage.
Chapman church of Christ