Saturday, March 15, 2008

Personal Testimony

Lately I've been thinking a lot of my "personal testimony", or the story of how I first came to Christ. Upon becoming Reformed, the idea of testimony has changed some. So instead of thinking of it all as my own subjective experience, I prefer now to talk about the objective reality of what happened some 2000 years ago in Israel. My testimony is that second person of the Trinity, very God, came down in human flesh and lived the perfect life I could not live, and paid the punishment of sin that I deserved. But I know that when you ask me for my personal testimony, you are already assuming that what I just said is true, so you want to know of the specific time in my life when the benefits of that death of Christ were applied to me.

Well, that is tricky, because I'm not really sure. I will give you the facts as I remember them. They are few. I am not sure exactly how they all piece together. I'm just saying what I know.

I will start of by saying that my parents were (and are) good and Godly parents. My father was a preacher, and the message of the need for salvation and the way of salvation through Christ alone was always preached, not only in the church, but in our home, too. My parents never assumed that us kids were saved by virtue of being their children. They always prayed for our salvation and preached about salvation to us.

Now then. We lived in Lubbock, TX, so I would have been five or younger. I recall that my sister was vacuuming and that she yelled at me for a reason that I do not remember, but I do remember thinking at the time that it was a very stupid reason, and so I got angry. So I went off into my bedroom alone to fume and be angry, and out of nowhere the thought popped into my head that I needed to pray to God for forgiveness of my sins and for Jesus to be my Savior.

And that's all I remember, really. I don't know if I told my parents about it. I don't think so, but probably not out of any embarrassment or anything like that. When I was a kid, I just kind of thought that my parents knew everything, whether I told them something or not, so I probably thought that they just knew I was a Christian now. But I don't really know. I was baptized when I was eight years old, so it took me that long to make a public profession of my faith.

Now when you look at some of these facts: that I was so young, that the day and time is not emblazoned in my memory as if a "Damascus Road" experience had happened to me, and that it took me at least three years to submit to baptism--you add all these up, and you may think that maybe I wasn't saved at all. I have often thought about this. I have decided two things. First, I do think that God saved me at that time. Secondly, even if that isn't the time that I was saved, I know I am saved now. And that is the important thing. I may not know when true faith first was implanted into my heart, but I know I have it now.

For many people, that would be the end of the personal testimony. But it is not for me. I think my testimony is more than just the account of when I was born again and first exercised faith. My testimony includes all of the highs and lows of sanctification along the way. I probably think this way because my testimony is rather short and unexciting (though it is exciting to me that God saved me!) But you know what I mean. I wasn't in a prison cell, strung out on drugs, with a bunch of illegitimate children. I was a little kid. A sinner, a sinning little kid. But I didn't have as many years to accumulate sins as a person who isn't converted until later in life. But that doesn't matter, because sin is sin. Sin against an infinite God is infinitely wicked, so I was deserving of infinite punishment. My salvation was just as miraculous as the salvation of a prisoner on death row.

But I have run out of time for now, so I will give the rest of my autobiography of faith at a later date.

No comments: