I’m 52 years-old. And, I am a believer and follower of Jesus Christ.
I’m not exactly sure when I was saved. You know, the precise moment that my life changed because “the old has passed and the new has come.” I do remember as a child inquiring about being saved. I talked to my mom and dad about it, and from there, I met with our pastor. He was a gentle, tender, godly man who pulled me up onto his lap and explained salvation to me. I can still see, in my mind, the cross he drew on a piece of paper on his desk…like it was yesterday. In the next service, I walked to the front during the invitation and was later baptized.
Fast forward 9 years, and there I sat with the youth group of our church in a revival service. I remember the evangelist preaching hard that night, and he closed the message with the ol’ “Do you know that you know that you know you’re saved?” line. I responded during the invitation that night, and was later baptized…again. Problem was, I was 16 years-old. I didn’t know that knew anything at that point in my life.
Here’s what I know now:
1. I was raised by godly parents who made spiritual matters – a faith in Christ and a life lived for him – very important. From day 1, my life was immersed in the faithful progression of a relationship with Christ.
2. There have been clear markers in my life when my relationship with Jesus has been the passion of my heart.
3. I have professed countless times in various places throughout my life that Jesus Christ, the son of God, died on the cross for sinners and that, because of the resurrection, he is the Redeemer of the world.
I am a follower of Christ, a disciple, a Christian. While my salvation experience was not a dramatic, in-your-face, night-and-day experience, I know that salvation has come to me through the cross of Christ. I am redeemed. As Doug Wilson says in the video below, “You do not have to know when the sun rose to know that it’s up.”
In the years surrounding the Great Awakening (1740-1743), many people experienced conversion. The revival meetings were usually highlighted by wailing, shrieking, and crying out because of an acute awareness of sin and the need for forgiveness. Emotional outbursts were highly unusual in the meetings of that time. In Signs of the Spirit, Sam Storms gives account of one detractor – Charles Chauncy, an Anglican minister who was critical of the revival movement in the colonies:
Chauncy was especially offended by what he perceived to be fanatical excess in the behavior of those who participated in the revival. True religion, Chauncy said, was primarily a matter of the mind, not the affections, and was characterized by self-control, cultural sophistication, and strict moral propriety.
Chauncy was not the only one who was suspicious of the many conversions in the Great Awakening. There were others. While Edwards did disapprove of some of the more extreme displays of those in the revival, Storms says that Edwards “consistently defended the work as being, in general, of divine origin” and “did not believe these peripheral problems invalidated the legitimacy of what God was doing.”
In response to the issues of the revival and the accompanying discussion, Edwards wrote an essay titled, Religious Affections. In it, Edwards gives 12 signs that indicate a true conversion, and 12 false signs of true conversion. As you read it, use these as a measuring stick for your own conversion.
In the mean time, watch the video below and listen as Doug Wilson gives insight to Edwards’ Religious Affections as well as the piety that Edwards promoted.