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Every so often I hear a person emphasizing the date he or she was saved. Some even go so far as to say that if you don’t know when you were saved you aren’t really saved. In other words, they expect every believer to at least be able to describe the precise situation even if they might not know the calendar date.
At other times, a teacher or parent has tried to reassure a doubting child that he or she is indeed saved because the teacher/parent remembers the date the child prayed a prayer. Whatever the situation, we need to exercise caution.
We are not saved through knowing a date. Yes, some of us had dramatic conversions and can easily recall the date. But for others of us, our salvation experience was more subtle. While there was a point in time in which we were saved, our understanding of the gospel was a gradual process and we are hard pressed to know when along that path we put our trust in Christ alone as our Savior.
This is especially relevant for children. They will naturally understand more about faith as they mature, which can sometimes cause them to question if they really understood and were saved when they thought they were. Instead of reassuring them with a date, assure them with the facts of Scripture.
The simple truth is that if we are trusting in Christ alone for our salvation, then we are saved. What a relief to know that it doesn’t matter if we recall the date or the situation!
I’ll conclude with a helpful illustration. Two people were traveling home after a long road trip. As they drove through the night, one passenger fell into a deep sleep. When she awoke she recognized that they were back in Texas and could point to well known monuments and towns they passed, but she did not know when they had entered Texas. The driver on the other hand could pinpoint the exact moment they crossed the state line—1:03am. Which one was really in Texas? Both of course. Knowing the exact time they crossed the state line did not alter the fact they had come into the great state of Texas.