“A time and a place..”
You will hear this phrase often in Baptist churches. It refers to the first time in one’s life where they bowed their head and perhaps their heart and professed belief in Jesus Christ. Most Baptists will refer to this time where they we’re saved or born again. For many believers the place where they got saved is significant because it marks the physical location in history of time where God’s promises of salvation through Jesus Christ takes affect in the heart.
Now as a tool in teaching in preaching the phrase “a time and a place” is used to test the hearers whether or not they have been saved. It is often heard like this, “you must have a time and a place to go back to, to know for sure that you are saved” or “Can you take me back to the time and the place where you knelt the knee to Christ?” I want to make a small challenge to the use of this term, so in part this article is for pastors who use this term, but also in part to all those who think they are “saved”.
Not everyone who is saved is share the same significance on the place they made a profession of faith. My father was well into his twenties fully aware of the presence of sin in his life at the time where he repented from it and into the saving grace of Christ. A time and a place is significant to him as he told us, his children, time and time again of the motel room where he bowed the knee to Jesus. Since then, the fruits of the faith my father had in Christ is evident in my father’s changing life.
Not everyone is going to share a similar time and a place experience like my fathers. Scores of believes like myself have come to Christ at a very young age. The time and a place for them becomes a muddy memory in the past. To a child, 5 or ten years seems a life-time and even more difficult to recall the thoughts and feelings we had in our “time and a place”.
A time comes in a Christian life where one considers his own salvation. Indeed there is scripture that would prompt such a quest, to search out the surety of ones own salvation. (John 5:39) For many people, the time and a place is not going to be a concrete evidence of one’s salvation, and I argue that it is not evidence of salvation for anyone who merely recited, read, or repeated a sinners prayer. Instead it becomes, at best, a false hope, ensuring people that are actually unregenerate that they are “ok”, because they can remember a time a place.
According to the Bible, the time and the place is irrelevant. Belief is relevant. A preacher once greatly encouraged me in a moment of doubt when he said, “I don’t care what you believed in the past, what do you believe now?” I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. My reasons for trusting God with my salvation is not based on a time and place, nor it is based on the quality of the sinners prayer I recited, but faith in Jesus Christ that presently exists in my heart.
Lastly what people like my father and I have in common is the evidence of fruit in our walk with the Lord. A time a place has little power to convince the lost that God is trustworthy but a changed life does. A growing Christian who is not what they once was speaks not only as a testimony to the lost, but also to themselves.
Forget about the time and the place, what do you believe now? Is there fruit in your life that testifies of the change in your heart? If the Gospel is a seed to be sown in the hearts of men, then it will bring forth fruit to be seen.