"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you" (Jer 1:5a)
What is salvation? I have had so many times in my life when it has confused me, or I thought I had it figured out then I came across another formula and doubted.
Whether we speak of being 'born again' or 'saved' or even just 'children of God' there are countless different theologies of how to determine whether or not we are 'in' with God. If you are a believer and get confused, then how much more confusing is it if you just want to know what it's all about? How would a person seeking God get a straight answer? There are pamphlets with formalised prayers, and how to books galore but they aren't consistent.
The worst is when you believe and you meet someone whose formula doesn't fit with your experience and they doubt whether or not your a Christian. I will never forget a time in my life when very 'spiritual' people were putting so much pressure on me to follow a certain way of life that I started to wonder if I was really a believer or not.
God knows everything, right? So it is not a surprise to him who has faith and who doesn't. And God doesn't see things like we do. We might try to work out what a persons status is, but God just looks at them as his child because he knows that in x years they will worship him.
You see, my life doesn't fit the text books. The first thing is that we all try to pinpoint a time in our lives when it happened. The thing is, I have known God my whole life. There was a moment in time when I had my huge spiritual experience but my journey with God didn't start there. As a child I was part of Religion and learnt all the scriptures and certainly had faith, but looking back I know I didn't really understand it. In my late teens I had decided that God probably didn't exist, and if He did, no-one could say they knew the correct meaning of everything.
I know that God was always with me because He saved my life when I was 18 years old. I had little to no faith, and wasn't even sure if there was a God. I certainly didn't understand Jesus and his life. I was in a car with my best friend and her boyfriend driving in outback Northern Territory from a day trip on a winding road. I was lying down in the back seat, without a seatbelt on trying to have a nap. While I was lying there I had an experience that I understand now, but at the time I just thought it must have been an angel. It was like a voice, but it came with a peace and calm that made me not afraid. It said "Your going to have an accident, but if you just keep lying down and relax you'll be OK." The next second there was screeching and I could feel the car loosing control, a hard impact then it rolled over. The way the car rolled made me in a standing position, but had I sat up, without a seatbelt, I would most likely have been propelled towards the windscreen...
So next time you try to judge someone as to whether or not they are a Christian, I want you to remember this story. God spoke to me at a time when I really didn't know him. I was His. God knows who is his and who isn't. So whatever stage your at in your journey don't stress over the technicalities. God already has His name on you, watching you, protecting you, loving you.