I remember the date, time, and place that I was born again. If I had a 1977 calendar, I could mark it down for all to see. That is because salvation is something that is experienced. We don’t get it by inheritance because our parents had it. God doesn’t have grandchildren. We have to have our own faith. No matter how much you admire someone, their salvation is just that — theirs.

Nor can you be saved and not know it. God does not regenerate you without your consent. We do not suddenly come to the realization that somehow, in some way, you have become a Christian. There is no surprise salvation. Yes, salvation is an intentional and individual experience.

But at the same time, what do some folks mean by “a salvation experience”? Is there some common emotional experience that every new believer has? Do we need a special tingle in our toes, or a quiver in our liver before we can be sure of our salvation? Are we required to “pray through” at a mourners bench to beg and plead for God to save us? No, not at all.

We need faith, and that comes by hearing the Word of God. It is available to anyone who hears that word and has a willing heart. That is something that we experience.
We need to repent, and that is a natural next step when someone believes the message of the Gospel. And it is a decision that is intentionally made, so it is also an experience.
That faith and repentance will manifest itself in obedience and a changed life. Those are all things that are experienced.

Where we need to tread with care is in taking the feelings, circumstances and emotions that we had when we were saved and conclude that if someone else did not have those same emotions and feelings then they are not saved. The Holy Spirit works through the Word in the same way toward everyone, but each of us is different so our reaction to that work will be different in every case. And that is okay. It is a sad sight to see someone who would stand up and say with great conviction that baptism is not required for salvation because it is a work, turn around and have someone pray and weep and beg and plead at a mourners bench for hours to be saved. I ask you, “how is that less of a work than baptism?” I know which one is a lot easier to do.

So lets take the Bible, see what it says is necessary for salvation, keep it simple by not adding to it, and let our individual “salvation experience” be as unique as each of us. We can only trust what the Word says about salvation, and not our emotions or an experience. Because if it does not line up with Scripture, then our emotions about an experience can leave us deceived and lost. Let’s obey Jesus instead of seeking a spiritual high, because the proof of salvation is the fruit of obedience it produces, not the feelings it stirs.

And having been made perfect, He [Jesus] became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, (Hebrews 5:9 NASB)

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