Here's What Happened

What happened to you the moment you were saved? Each of us has a unique story to tell in response to this question. These stories are powerful and deeply moving. Today, however, I raise the question not to prompt personal testimonies, but to direct us to God’s work in our lives. In other words, what would He say happened to us the moment we were saved?

Although the list below is not an exhaustive one, it does show the magnitude of this great salvation you have received in Christ Jesus.

  • God made you alive together with Christ (This was the subject of the first two posts). Paul explains in Ephesians 2:4, 5 and Colossians 2:11-14.
  • He transferred you out of the kingdom of darkness and placed you into His kingdom : “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13, 14).
  • He added you to His body, the church of Jesus Christ: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews of Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13). “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it” (1Corinthians 12:27).
  • God declared you to be His child: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).
  • He sent His Spirit to live in you: “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father'” (Galatians 4:6). “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

As you can tell from these few verses, being saved is a big deal. It is much more than receiving a ticket for entry into heaven when you die, or even forgiveness of sins here and now. What happened to you and me at that moment of salvation is monumental.

We weren’t aware of all that happened. We simply responded to the message concerning Christ. When I did, I gained a sense of purpose in life. For the first time, I felt like I was anchored, that I knew I belonged. You may have experienced peace or freedom, or felt that you had been cleansed and a mountain of guilt and shame removed. You may have been overwhelmed by God’s unconditional love and acceptance.

All these experiences are real and genuine because Christ came to live in us. We are different, new creatures according to the Bible. What happened to us is a story worth telling.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

17 thoughts on “Here's What Happened

  1. Was there ever such a moment?

    There was a moment when I realized He had answered my prayer and touched my body. I knew that I knew something had happened.

    But I was almost 45 years old – I had had other “strange” experiences, but somehow. this had to be different.

    So, I opened my Bible and began to realize, for the first time in all of those years, I not only was interested in reading further, but I was beginning to grasp what He was saying – to me! That almost blew me away.

    I have continued the practice for over 36 years now and as we used to sing, years ago, “He grows sweeter and sweeter as the days go by, Oh! What a love between my Lord and I”

    Finally, I understood – reality.

    • Sherwood, I don’t know that there is any more powerful evidence of God’s Spirit within a person than what you give here. Without His Spirit, it is virtually impossible for us to understand the truth of His Word, and experience the reality of His love.

  2. Good post, Bob. Reading the list you’ve included (although yes, not an exhaustive one) I remember when I first received Christ, and since then, watching others receive Christ. Every one of those points you listed were absent in the discussion of salvation. The main thing I remember being highlighted in mine and others, was “Jesus is your ticket to that heavenly home”. Maybe “Jesus loves you” was mentioned, but mainly, the only thing that was focused on–was, “Accept Jesus and miss hell”. Granted, that DOES happen, but it sure doesn’t help us in the here and now. What you listed, being made a live, being made a Child of God..and that His spirit lives in us…is the main course! I feel like I was given a ‘snack to tie me over” (until I died and started eternity ‘there’)
    It would really be great if this list could make it’s way around the internet, and into the hearts of people..
    Nicely done!

    • This is part of my strength. I am so blessed to be able to go back to that day when I first believed. Before that day, I hadn’t really read the Bible with any interest. It seems that almost immediately, certainly within days, the scriptures started to open up for me. I read that as a result of what was happening to me that I would hunger and thirst for the word, something I carry with me some 8 years later.
      Not completely understanding what was happening to me, I read the passage found in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new”. That was it! That was me! This was the change that I felt.
      When I got home, I found myself sitting on my couch and thumbing through an old Hymnal. I started reading the words to “Amazing Grace” and when I read:
      “T’was Grace that taught
      my heart to fear.
      And Grace, my fears relieved.
      How precious did that Grace appear…
      the hour I first believed.
      I wept for half of an hour. I knew, without a doubt , that the Bible was real, “ Amazing Grace” was a God send and my faith was real!

    • Lisa, we sell God short when we limit salvation to heaven when we die. We also rob ourselves of the spiritual blessings we have in Christ right now. I can think of nothing more dynamic or rewarding than sharing in the life of Jesus.

  3. I agree completely with everything on your list but I don’t believe them to be the most important. To me, the single most significant event that occurs at salvation is the change of nature (what Bob George calls “the exchanged life”). Without that, nothing else really matters. Truth is, I never really cared that much about going to heaven because I understood from childhood that I had an evil sinful nature. I sure didn’t want to “live forever!” I much prefer the I (my nature) to be exchanged with Jesus’ nature and for Him to kill (crucify) me on the cross (Gal 2:20). Now living forever in that resurrected state is worth getting excited about.

    2 Cor 5:17 – Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

    This means when you get saved, God gives you a new nature and behaving as a sinner after that event is hypocritical and literally out of character.

    Eph 5:8 – For you formally darkness, but now you are light in the Lord…

    This is a fascinating verse of scripture. I used to read it as “I was formally in darkness but now I am in light” (which of course is also true but denies a change in nature). However, that is not what this verse says. The verse clearly teaches that there is a transformation that takes place in a person when they get saved. It says you were darkness before but now (after getting saved) you are light. You get changed! You are no longer that sinner that wanted to live in darkness and do sinful things. Now, because of your new nature, you want to do good.

    In my opinion, there is no greater truth in all of scripture that God actually changes a persons very nature when he saves them.

  4. Hey Mark, this statement hits the nail on the head — Now living forever in that resurrected state is worth getting excited about.

  5. An Expanded List of What Happened

    • By the grace, mercy and love of God, you are made alive in Christ Jesus at the point of your conversion (Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 2:13)
    • You are “Born Again,” or born from above at the point of your conversion (1 Peter 1:3; James 1:18).
    • You pass from spiritual death to spiritual life when you are converted (John 5:24).

    • The Holy Spirit takes up residence within you at the point of your conversion (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
    • Your destiny is made certain because of the down payment of the indwelling Holy Spirit when you are converted (Ephesians 1:13-14).
    • You are placed into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit when you are converted (1 Corinthians 12:13).
    • The Holy Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to you for the building up of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Spiritual gifts are never given to us for personal edification. They are Spirit given abilities granted to us in order that we might serve others as we serve the Lord (Galatians 5:13).
    • You are set free from the eternal condemnation of sin when you are converted (Romans 8:1).
    • You are made right standing with a Holy God, (Justified) when you are converted (Romans 5:1 Galatians 2:16).
    • The righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to you when we are converted (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 1:16-17). Self-righteousness is unacceptable to a holy God because it is always marred by our sinfulness.
    • Your past, present and future sins are forgiven when you are truly converted (Acts 10:43; Colossians 1:14; 2:13; 1 Peter 2:24).
    • You are made a new creation when you are converted. Those thoughts, practices and values of your old life pass away, and those that are indicative of new life in Christ come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
    • You are redeemed when you are converted (1 Peter 1:18-19).
    • You are adopted into the family of God when you are converted (Romans 8:15; Ephesians 2:11-22).
    • You are now in the world but not of it because you have been converted (John 17:14-16; Romans 12:2; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17).
    • Your sin debt is fully satisfied by the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ when you are truly converted (1 John 4:9-10).
    • You are now alive to righteousness and dead to sin when you are truly converted (1 Peter 2:24).
    • You practice righteousness and not sin when you are truly converted (1 John 2:29; 3:4-10).
    • You are children of God and no longer the children of the Devil when you are converted (1 John 3:10).
    • Your heart is made morally pure when you are converted (Acts 15:7-9).
    • You are liberated from the condemnation of the Law when you are converted (Romans 8:1-4).
    • Your mind-set (worldview) is shaped by the Holy Spirit through the vehicle of God’s Word and not by the desires of the flesh when you are truly converted (Romans 8:5-8).
    • Sin no longer is your master when you are truly converted (Romans 6:14).
    • You have switched masters when you are truly converted (Romans 6:20-23).
    • You presently possess eternal life and will one day enter into the fullness of eternal life in the presence of the Lord when you are truly converted (John 3:16; 3:36; 20:31; Romans 6:23).
    • Your old-self is crucified with Christ in order that you might be freed from sin and enabled to walk in newness of life when you are truly converted (Romans 6:6-7; Galatians 5:24).
    • You are “In Christ” because you are converted (Ephesians 1:7, 13).
    • You are “Complete in Christ” because you are converted (Colossians 2:10).
    • You have been chosen by God for salvation and that is why you have been converted (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).
    • You set aside your former manner of life and you put on the new self when you are converted (Ephesians 4:17-24; 1 Peter 1:13-16).
    • You love your fellow brothers and sister in Christ when you are truly converted (1 John 3:14).
    • You have been reconciled to a holy God when you are converted (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Colossians 1:22).
    • You have been rescued from the domain of darkness, and transferred to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son when you are converted (Colossians 1:13).
    • You overcome the world with your faith when you are converted (1 John 5:4-5).
    • You have been set apart to God and from this fallen world. That is why you are described as “Saints.” A saint is not someone who has been canonized by the church. A saint is one who has been miraculously converted and set apart by God (1 Corinthians 1:2; Romans 1:7).
    • You are glorified in Christ and will enter into that glory in the eternal state because of your conversion (Romans 8:28-30).
    • You are able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ because you are converted (John 17:17,19; Romans 6:1–22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3,4; 5:23).
    • You have a guaranteed spiritual inheritance that is reserved in heaven for you because you are converted (1 Peter 1:3-4).
    • You have been made eternally secure because of you are converted to Christ (John 5:24; 6:37–40; 10:27–30; Romans 5:9,10; 8:1,31–39; 1 Corinthians 1:4–9; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:4,5; Jude 24).
    • You experience conflict with the flesh when you are converted (Galatians 5:16-17; Romans 7:14-25).
    • These forty happenings substantiate the truth that there is no such thing as a changeless conversion. How can all of these spiritual realities take place in your life and leave you in the same way you were when you were dead in your trespasses and sin?

    • Hey Brad, thanks for posting this list. It is truly amazing to see all that God has done for us in Christ.

  6. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

    • Chan, you raise a good point. I don’t think any of us will ever understand the complexities of God’s work in our lives. The “Godly science” of our salvation is beyond our intellectual capacities. But this does not mean we can not fully experience this new life in Christ. Just as we were saved through faith, we walk in this new life by faith as well.

    • Yes, you can follow me on twitter @rcchristopherjr. I am also on facebook and our ministry is as well.

  7. As for me a very dear friend of mine got me involved in church and on one acassion on the way to church I asked her how do you know if your saved…. Her reply was you will just know. During one Sunday morning service I had this deep feeling of pure love that over came me, my heart began to beat fast and my hand’s became clammy.
    My first thought was WHAT IS HAPPENING I whispered into my friend’s ear I think Jesus is wanting to come into my heart. I was so scared, but at the same time I was oh so happy. I felt like the little boy in E.T when he said he came to me. My friend walked up to the front with me and I began to cry as well as she did. I was baptized a week or two later at the age of 26.
    I didn’t know to much about God. I grew up in a home where my parent’s didn’t attend church and my sister’s and I were put on a church bus and went to church that way. I learned some at church, but didn’t have the examples from my paretn’s.I don’t remember asking them questions about God we didn’t even pray before meals .
    I ended up back sliding a lot I smoked weed and drank quite a bit and left my boys at home with their dad while I went out with my friends.My husband told me years later that he thought about leaving me many time’s but didn’t because of his love for me.. I’m so thankful he didn’t give up on me.I am now 44 still married to the same man and have 4 wonderful children two which are grown and in their 20’s.
    I have come a long ways from then to now and know what it is like to be truly saved. Over the year’s I have learned so much I will leave this earth not knowing all their is to know , but I will have ETERNITY with Christ to learn it all.. that makes me very happy. God is so good and my love for him is endless, he is my rock…

  8. I think some of you missed my pitnos completely. Come under MY roof whose church are we talking about? What was spiritually wrong with saying Lord, I am not worthy to receive You ? That was right to the point. We are sinners and thus we are not worthy of any of the love and blessings our Lord grants us. It is through His Son Jesus Christ that we stand before our Father forgiven of our sins. This is basic Christianity 101. We are not in any way worthy of God’s love. Saying instead that we are not worthy that God should come under our roof while we are in church is not only weird, but also sounds like we are elevating ourselves to a status equal to or just under God. As a child, I was always taught and rightly so, that the church is God’s house. By saying under my roof or anything like that, it sounds as if we are stealing away God’s presence in our church building. It also neglects to remind us that we are sinners. We are going from saying I am not worthy to receive You (due to sin and impurity) to a level of talking about a building. As for the Creed in first-person if I am sitting in my room quietly in prayer and want to focus on MY personal faith or am sharing that faith with another person, I can easily say I believe. If we are gathered as a COMMUNITY of believers, then it sounds like my brothers and sisters in Christ are being ignored I believe OR we [all] believe ? I cannot make this argument easier than this.

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