The Salvation Experience
You may have heard someone share their salvation experience with all the emotion and tears that they had when they accepted Christ as their savior. Some describe it like emotional fireworks. These people have very uplifting testimonies and are very encouraging, but sometimes can lead to doubt about your own salvation. Some will tell you that you should have felt the same way when you accepted Christ. If you didn’t feel the same things are you really saved?
God works in many ways, He made us the way we are so He knows what it takes to convince us to accept Him. There’s an old mechanics adage that I like to use to describe this; If it doesn’t
work, try a bigger hammer! This is what God does to save us, the harder we are to accept Him, He gets a bigger hammer. People with the emotional experiences got hit by a bigger hammer. An
illustration I like to use is a thumb tack, a nail and a spike. The tack can be pushed in with your hand. The nail requires a hammer, while the spike needs a sledgehammer to drive it in. The same can
be said about salvation experiences.
In the bible, Timothy’s would be the tack. In 2 Timothy 1:5 Paul writes
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
Timothy grew up in a Christian household, being taught by his mother and grandmother. Like a tack, God had to just gently push Timothy to accept Him.
An example of the nail would be Apollos. Acts 18: 24-28 tells about Apollos.
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being
fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila
heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When
he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus. Apollos was a very
influential, eloquent and knowledgeable speaker. Sort of like a Billy Graham of his day. He went around to synagogues preaching the word of John the Baptist, to repent because the Messiah was coming
soon. He didn’t know that Jesus, the Messiah had already come. When Aquila and Pricilla, two Christians, heard him speak they took him aside and explained to him about Jesus. I’m sure it was a little
embarrassing to him to learn that what he was preaching was coming, had already happened and he didn’t know it, but Apollos accepted Christ and went on to be a very influential preacher of the word
of Jesus. Aquila and Pricilla were the hammer God used to tap Apollos in the right direction.
A good example of a sledgehammer experience would be Saul, also known as Paul. Saul was a very devout Pharisee and hated Christians, he saw them as a threat to his beliefs. He went around arresting Christians and at one point witnessed the stoning of Stephen. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. (Acts 7: 58) Saul didn’t care that Stephen was killed because of his beliefs, and got permission to go to Damascus where some of the disciples were to arrest all Christians he could find. Acts 9: 1-9 tells what happened.
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
I’m sure the Christians he had arrested had told Saul about Jesus but he wouldn’t listen, so God needed to use a sledgehammer to get Saul’s attention. But sledgehammers can
hurt, and God loves us so He only uses them when all else fails. If you didn’t have a sledgehammer experience it just means you responded before God had to use it. Whatever your experience, God just
wants you to share it, it may be the push or tap someone else needs to avoid the sledgehammer.
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 . Standard Bible Society: Wheaton