“…when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses…” – Colossians 2:12-13
I once sat in a Bible class in which the teacher gave the following prompt: “Tell me about the day of your salvation.” I was surprised by the variety of comments given. How would you answer? Here are a couple of possible responses:
“On the day of my salvation I was 13 years old, attending a summer camp, during my middle school years. During that week made some great friends and heard some challenging messages that caused me to think more seriously about my faith in God. At the end of camp, I decided it was time to truly give my life to Christ and be baptized.”
“I can’t say I truly recall the day of my salvation. Having grown up going to church since I was two weeks old, I have never known a time in my life in which I wasn’t worshipping God, in fellowship with God’s people, seeking to honor Christ with my life, and loving Jesus. But I do know that I belong to Jesus and am committed to living for him.”
“On the day of my salvation, the sun refused to shine, the earth shook, the veil of the temple was torn in two, my Lord cried out “It is finished,” and a Roman centurion confessed, ‘Surely this was the son of God.’”
Which answer is correct? The first reminds us of the intentional decision that each believer should make somewhere along the journey of faith in which they say “yes” to the gift of grace made available in Christ. The second reminds us that the spiritual formation experienced by those raised in a church family is often more of a gradual journey of growth than a blinding flash of light. The third reminds us that our salvation is first and foremost a gift from God, through Jesus Christ and his death on the cross, though we do need to respond to and open that gift.
The New Testament authors speak about our salvation life in terms of the past, present, and future. Past: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…” “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified…” Present: “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you…” “if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light… the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Future: “For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers…” “…much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.” May we remember that the day of our salvation, while inviting our response and participation, is largely about what God has done, is doing, and will do for us, in us, and through us.
Love in Christ,